Umbrella or Softbox for speedlight outside?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by color, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. I am getting ready to buy either a softbox or umbrella for accent/fill lighting for outdoors shots of models and am wondering what the benfiits of are umbrellas vs softboxes for that kind of photography. This is a new dirrection for me and I want to be economical without being too cheap to be successful. I want to start off with something relatively modest and basic to see if I like/have talent for that kind of photography.
    What is your experience?
  2. My go-to choice for fill-lighting with a speedlight outdoors is a small softbox.
    I've used much bigger umbrellas in the past, but they are much more prone to be tipped over by a gust/squall.
    Here's a recent shot with a Nikon SB-800 in my 16x22 Chimera Bank as fill-light:
  3. Georg,
    Nice shot, looks like a speedlight and small softbox will fill my needs. Thank you for the info.
  4. A shoot-through umbrella is a complete waste of light outdoors. They're very inefficient because half the light gets either reflected or transmitted in the opposite direction to the subject. This can work indoors because that "wasted" light gets bounced back from walls and ceiling to lighten shadows. Outdoors it completely goes to waste.
    So if you're going for the umbrella option, choose either a silver or silver-backed white. Silver umbrellas are very efficient and show up to a 2 stop advantage over a softbox, especially with subjects at longer distances. They can also be focused to an extent to control the degree of softness of the light.
  5. if you are working alone most of the time, consider a beauty dish, smaller profile and requires less weight to keep from blowing over. I now use the Paul Buff with an Einstein but still have the speedlight beauty dishes I bought several years ago.
  6. Hey Guys,
    Thanks for taking the time to share your suggestions with me. I have bought a 20x20 softbox and a set of radio triggers to go with the 420 EX and a stand I already had. If this ends up being something I want to pursue as a type of photography then maybe I'll upgrade or try other types of flash tech.
    Thanks again

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