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19 May 2022


Term: Umbrella
Description: A photographer's umbrella is much like a standard umbrella you'd use to stay out of the rain, only it is made of a material which makes it useful to photographers as a light modifier.

Umbrellas come in many shapes and sizes and are a popular choice for both studio and location photography. Deep, parabolic, shoot-through, bounce, enormous, pretty small - there are many options for many uses.

Some photography lighting umbrellas feature a mildly opaque white material so that light can pass through them in a diffused manner, while other lighting umbrellas are used to bounce light. The "bounce umbrellas" typically feature a solid black material on the outside (the side rain would hit if used for traditional purposes) with either a soft white or shiny silver color on the inside.
portrait lighting umbrella bounce vs shoot through

If an umbrella features a semi-transparent white material, then its intended use is for light to pass through it, and this is called a shoot-through umbrella. You can attach a shoot-through umbrella in between the flash/strobe and the subject, so that it can soften the light while letting light "spill" in the general direction of the subject.

If an umbrella has a black exterior with a white or silver interior, then turn the whole strobe+umbrella setup around so that the strobe points directly away from the subject with light bouncing off the white or silver surface before it returns towards the subject.

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