Umbrella or SoftBox?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by gia_hillenbrand, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Hi-
    I am creating a IN-Home studio and will be using HotShoe flashes. Do you suggest I use an umbrella or softbox for portaits?
    I assume I will want an umbrella for the larger (mid body and full length), but do you think I should get a softbox? or maybe one of the softboax's that look like an umbrella? (wrap around lights with the white towards the subject)
    I am going to be making a DIY Beauty Dish for the key light-
    All are slaves-
    Thanks! I am also thinking about getting a small work light if I cant find one more flash for a continous light (side lighting) and for that I will use a DIY diffusser (empty cranvas frame and some either material ir shower curtain - or both removable for various uses)
    thanks
     
  2. This article will explain the differences between umbrellas and softboxes, and will also tell you what beauty dishes are - and what they are not. Personally I would forget about something that will go on a hotshoe flash.
    Using a hotlight with a non-fireproofed diffuser may produce interesting results that aren't welcome, as well as producing a very strange colour of light. Flash and tungsten lights really don't mix that well.
     
  3. most in home studios are fairly small. If yours is, soft boxes, or umbrerlla boxes would be superior, just to control the light better. Umbrellas tend to be harder to direct, specifically.
    The umbrella box that is easiest to control, is the Westcott Apollo, which has a deeply recessed face. It is not that easy to point in unusual directions, (like down).
    Given that you can get a pretty nice umbrella for under $50, you should have both an umbrella (or two, different sizes or even one white and one silver) and a soft box (or two of different sizes, or even one strip light).
    Avoid mixing tungsten with strobe, for the very reason Gary states in his post, above... t
    00UjAF-179811584.jpg
     
  4. Thanks guys, but i did not say I was going to mix them - I said I was thinking about getting them...in place of hot flashes... perhaps that was not clear.
    The are more for fill that I am asking, and I have decided on Hot Flashes with syncing...
    tight budget, and yes, tight space. You start small, and build.
    I wish there was a softbox for the flashes, bit I dont see any...so umbrella it is - and I also found a convertible one - bit still unsure about it until I see it in person.
    My backdrop will be white, blown out. If needed, I will add gels. There will be 2 separate lights for that and placed (and setup) in a way that the light for the backdrop does not spill or wrap on subject.
    Thanks! I appreciate ur comments.
     
  5. 'I wish there was a softbox for the flashes, bit I dont see any...so umbrella it is - and I also found a convertible one - bit still unsure about it until I see it in person.'
    There are any number of softboxes available for hotshoe flashes from vendors such as B&H or Adorama. Do a search on their sites and you'll see listings from a number of manufacturers. Also, you might want to check this site - http://www.alzodigital.com, as they make a relatively inexpensive softbox as well.​
     
  6. If you want something and don't see it, DIY. Google DIY Photography and you'll be surprised with results.
    Good luck and enjoy it
    Adam
     
  7. Thanks Again!
     
  8. "I am also thinking about getting a small work light if I cant find one more flash for a continous light "
    "i did not say I was going to mix them - I said I was thinking about getting them...in place of hot flashes... perhaps that was not clear. "
    Pretty not clear, I'd say.
    To put a hotshoe type flash in a soft box, here are a few options:
    Lastolite
    Photoflex
    Westcott
    Good luck... t
     
  9. Hello All-
    I think I foind what I would need---
    Its a Softlighter II.
    Not to expensive either. I can use it as a 'softbox', a relector, a warming reflector, and if I am misten a "Beauty Light" (for lighting close ups)...
    What do you think?
     
  10. I have never used one myself, but have read many good reports about it. A lot of people use it, and seem to be very satisfied. Have fun with your new toy! :)
     
  11. It sort of depends on what kind of portrait you're trying to accomplish. most photographers will have both and use the right tool for the job. Softboxes can produce the softest/closest light most easily. Then its shoot-thru umbrellas and after that reflected umbrellas (most directional/strong) A good softbox is quite a jump-up in price compared to an umbrella.
    The combination, shoot thru/reflective kind are the best value IMHO.
    http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/AU3045/
    However, You'll like want both at some point down the line..
     
  12. Softliters are fine tools within their limitations.
    Their structure is more obvious in any catchlight than a softbox and not as symetrical as an umbrella's.
    They use a lot of power via their double diffusion (bounce and diffuse). they have limited positioning on a boom.
    I have a 60in and use it as much as an umbrella as I do with the front baffle in place. They have nuances that are unique to them. You'll want to position the light on the center rod differently when used as an umbrella than with the front scrim in place... t
     
  13. That makes sense Tom - position it flat maybe? I saw a brackett somewhere for that...
    (so its centers it accordingly and allows light to seperate evenly..?) is that right? (as an unbrella)
     
  14. That is correct, if I understand you. Here is my observation, expanded:
    With the head placed at the end point of the removable (shortened) central rod, the light does not spread all the way to the edges of the umbrella (with my Dynalights or Lumedynes... other heads may vary).
    With the diffusing panel in place, this is not as critical. With that front panel off, I attach the entire rod so I can place the head further away from the umbrella and use all of it's 60in reflective surface (according to the spread of light from the strobe head's built in reflector).
    Perhaps the 45in version is different in this regard... t
     

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