1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

Umbrella help, please

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by ShaunK, Jul 23, 2007.

  1. I was about to order umbrellas, but some last minute hesitation held me back and made me feel the need to ask a few more questions. I was going to get two umbrellas, one white, one soft silver, a 9-10ft. stand for each each. MY questions are these:
    1. What brand do you use? This will be mostly for ametuer work, although I'd like to get into weddings/events (I have a wedding in August I am planning on using these lights for). I can't spend a lot of money, however, and would like something "usable" without breaking the bank to make sure this is really what I want. I was looking at Wescott, Photoflex, or Impact as considerations... any major problems with using these brands?
    2. I was going to get one white, one silver... but now I'm leaning toward just getting two white umbrellas. They eat up more light, I know, but I've heard they give softer, more pleasing light, and they can also be reversed so I can shoot through them for some simple softboxes. What do you use? Which brings me to
    3. If I go with the white umbrellas, do I get the ones with the removable black backs? I'm thinking yes, for bouncing, but for shotting through, do any of those brands have a black back that I put around the rear of the flash to keep more light going through the umbrella for less waste? Is that too awkwardly worded?

    Thanks for any answers I can get... I need to order these things quickly so I can start to practice with them, I only have a little over a month till the wedding!
    1. I went with a lightstand and umbrella from Alien Bees for the same reason’s you described. My reasoning was the lightstand might be overkill for now (when I’m just using an SB800) but later on when I’m using them for weddings I’m probably going to need more power to photograph large groups of people. At least now I have a lightstand that I know can support the weight of an Alien Bees B800 or B1600. I got the umbrella from them just out of convenience.
    2. What about one of each? A translucent white “Shoot-Thru” umbrella, that can either be used by bouncing of the white for soft lighting or remove the black backing for more diffused lighting via shooting-thru. For the second get a silver and white reversible umbrella. Umbrellas aren’t that expensive so you could get a few different ones I guess.
    3. I think you answered your own question here. Yes get one with a removable black back so you can shoot-thru, just be aware of that the light fall of is greater. Either that or get a brolly box which is a shoot-thru umbrella with backing to prevent light spill. Check out this thread by Uncle Frank to see a Brolly Box and Umbrella set up.

    I went with Alien Bees for the reasons I mentioned but there are much less expensive alternatives. I’ve read people rave about the lightstands and umbrellas from Impact and Photoflex. Just be aware that some of the cheaper lightstands might be a little unstable. You can also use your tripod as a lightstand and I've read about a few people using them because they felt they were a more stable alternative. Scan through some older threads in either lighting section and you're bound to find similar posts to yours. Also in that thread I referred to above Uncle Frank has a link to a $99 setup with 2 lightstands and umbrellas at B&H.

    Hope this helps
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  2. Fred, Thanks for the quick reply. I do know about AB stuff... I will look into that more I guess later, right now I wanted maximum portability and lightweight as possible... and I already have 1-SB-800 and 2-SB-28's to use wirelessly... So I'm just looking for something to work with those for now. As to the several different umbrellas, you're completely right, I'll just get an extra one or two and that way I have my choice depending on the situation... little enough extra money and almost no weight added.
  3. Happy to help. Be sure to check out this setup. It will help stabilize outdoor setups.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  4. Oh, yes.. saw that one a while ago... he's a genius! :biggrin: I was planning on throwing a few of those things in my bag when I assembled the kit.
  5. jcovert

    jcovert Guest

    I ended up ordering with MPEX and following the Strobist items all the way just because I really didn't know what the variations would do, and I thought it might make it easier to follow along if I had exactly the same gear, so I bought...

    2 8ft. Lightstands
    2 Umbrella Clamps
    1 Silver 43" Wescott, 1 White w/ Removable Back 43" Wescott (only available at MPEX I think)
    Gel Pack containing just the Tungsten and Flouro corrector gels ($9)
    Some Bungee ties (didn't care for those though)

    ..was $166 shipped.

    I'm really glad I got both a Silver and a White Shoot-thru. Having the silver allows me to leave the white one in "shoot-thru" mode all the time, and they both are different and useful in different ways.
  6. I looked at the packages at MPEX and just felt a little too limited by them... last night after I posted this, I went ahead and ordered at B&H... I got 2-10ft stands (I wanted the extra reach for group shots, etc.), 2-white umbrellas w/removable backs-45in., 1-45" silver umbrella, and two umbrella clamps...oh, and one 42" tow-way reflector, white/soft silver... I think most of the stuff was Interfit, Impact brands... it ran me just over $200 before shipping... I hope I made the right choices... then I went over to Gadget Infinity and ordered one V2 trigger and 3 receivers, after carefully following the Flickr thread on this item, I came to the conclusion that 90% of the problems people had were user error or using the triggers with Canon/Sunpack flashes... almost no complaints from people using SB's and Nikon cameras. I know that many people here are all about the SU-800, but two of my 3 flashes are older SB-28's, so the SU-800 wasn't an option from what I understand... I'll let everyone know how this set-up works for me when I receive it!
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.