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umbrella vs reflector or both?

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by LindaZ, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    I have a few questions.... should I get an umbrella or should I get a reflector with a stand...or both?

    And regarding the reflector...I've seen both square and round. I'm going to do family shoots by the beach, and also children and graduates. I assume a square one offers a wider surface?

    Thanks :smile:
  2. Mart61


    Dec 23, 2006
    Camberley, UK
    I await replies with baited breath. I have a reflector already and just got an umbrella.
  3. Stephen Fox

    Stephen Fox Guest

    Depends what you are doing and looking for. For instance a reflector is much better for a catch light than an umbrella as no spokes appear on the subjects eye.

    Horses for courses, if budget allows get both and learn what is best of a certain situation.
  4. WayneF


    Apr 3, 2006
    They are simply different. Reflector is relatively hard to aim or control the intensity, whereas you simply point the umbrella and set the power level how you want it. Everything "works", but the reflector will likely be more useful out in the sun.
  5. at a recent Joe McNally seminar I attended, he was using two flashes on stands (diffused), and then put the reflector on the floor, and aimed a 3rd flash down at it so that some warm (gold side was up) light reflected up under the chin/eyes of the subject.

    For outdoors, I was planning on starting w/ a reflector to take away shadows, and then add flash if I have to...think I read this somewhere...can't recall where.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2008
  6. I try to keep it simple for outdoor shoots, and use a single strobe with a modifier (shoot through umbrella, brolly box, or softbox) as my main light. I position my subject in open shade, and use the ambient as fill.

    If you have a complex setup, like Joe McNally's, you'll need to have an assistant or two. And keep in mind that outdoors, an umbrella or a reflector make great sails. :eek:  I have two bent umbrellas and one damaged sb800 from blow-overs :Teeth:.
  7. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    Right...I probably won't use both at the same time. Great sails...haha..yeah i did think about it..hmm. Well, I think I'll start out with the reflector and see how that goes. No harm if it blows over!
  8. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    Square vs round?
  9. Really doesn't matter at all, really. You'll get the same results from all of them. I like the collapsable round ones. They also have triangles(lions and tigers and bears??) with a handle at one corner to handhold them easier.

    An umbrella on a person's face coupled with a reflector on the other side is a great simple combo for portraits. Change the angles to change the mood/shadows.
  10. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    Ok..that's what I thought too, thanks Ryan. I have one gold round reflector but the gold is very intense. Thinking of getting one of those 5-1 reflectors.
  11. Lurker


    Jul 21, 2007
    Linda, you can get reflectors for next to nothing on eBay. I have a square 5-in-1 and two (yes! two! One for each camera bag) little ones that are just gold/silver.

    Getting a large 5i1 is great since it can also double as a diffuser. For the small ones I wouldn't bother and getting a "dedicated" silver/gold is cheaper and easier.

    Depending on how involved you are with stands and everything: square ones can lean against something; round ones roll away. But that's just my opinion :smile: If you're handholding or clamping them it's not that much of a deal.
  12. Phillip Ino

    Phillip Ino

    Nov 26, 2007
    Skip all that and get a ring flash. :biggrin:. That is my plan!
  13. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    You found the square 5in1 on Ebay? I can't find those anywhere Bart. I also don't have an Ebay account anymore...
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