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Positioning Flash Head In Umbrella

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Dayo, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. Can anyone please give some tips on optimum position of flash head for shoot through or reflective umbrellas?

    Is it a good idea to use the diffuser?

  2. Ray C.

    Ray C.

    Nov 7, 2005
    Dayo, there are lots of factors to consider...(most importantly) the size of the umbrella, the distance to the umbrella, the effect you want, etc, so there is not one optimum position. But as a general rule, you want the flash to fill the umbrella but not spill beyond it...with filling a little less of the umbrella being preferred to allowing it to spill over. Spill is "wasted" light in a reflective and unwanted "added" light in a shoot-thru.

    A couple of quick test shots or using the modeling light on an SB-800 will help you find a good basic flash zoom position for the particular umbrella you're using.
  3. I have Strobist Style 43" Wescotts.

    Can you please elaborate by "effect you want" and "distance to the umbrella"?

  4. Ray C.

    Ray C.

    Nov 7, 2005
    By effect, I mean you may want to zoom the flash head in a bit if you're looking for a little more direct (not as soft) light for a particular shot. The distance I was referring to, is the distance of the flash itself to the umbrella, as controlled by how far the umbrella shaft is slid into the umbrella adapter that sits atop the light stand.
  5. Good questions. I've been trying to find the sweet spots, too. Some of my initial shots suffered from insufficient "light-spread".

    I'm a little leary about using the diffuser dome or the wide angle flash adapter, because they attenuate the light, and I need all the power I can get when shooting through my 45" umbrella. My current approach for shoot-through is to zoom the flash head to its widest position, and then to position the umbrella towards the end of the attachment rod. But I've also changed my preferred approach with the 45 incher from shoot through to shoot into/bounce, which I think is more efficient and spreads the light better. I'll continue to use the little 32" umbrellas that came with my light kit for shoot through, because it doesn't take as much power to light them up.

    Hope this helps. They just my personal observations, and not to be construed as informed opinion. I'm a beginner at this stuff, too.
  6. Thanks Frank

    I suppose an optimum will be settled on by trial and error over time just wanted to see if there were any short cuts.

    One thing people might want to note. in addition to the MPEX kit, I got a umbrella with removable black backing so I could use it as shoot through or reflective but I found that while it is possible to shoot through it, it is quite reflective and a bit shiny on the inside so that a lot of light is bounced back when trying to shoot though it.

    I suppose trying to have the best of both worlds comes with a price.
  7. I made test shots straight into my umbrellas to find out the optimal flash head zoom settings just covering the complete reflective area. For my SB-800 with a 75cm umbrella, I ended up with the 24mm setting without flip-down diffusor.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2007
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