Largest Reflective Umbrella for Speedlight

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
Ed Shapiro
Ed Shapiro Regular Member • Posts: 332
Re: Largest Reflective Umbrella for Speedlight

You will get maximum efficiency as to the power and spread from an umbrella by using a primary light source that can evenly fill the area of the umbrella's reflective surface, edge to edge but not exceeding the edge,  I doubt a typical Speedlight with a small linear flash tube in a rectangular housing is going to do that.

If you are going to photograph a large group with multiple rows of people, you are going to need sufficient power to enable depth of field and a moderate ISO setting. You will also need even light across the group and the lights sources need to be placed high enough to enable depth of light into the group.

The lights have to be placed at a distance, far enough so the won't interfere with your field of view- you don't want them in the picture. Another reason for adequate power.

Ideally, a couple of mono-lights with a minimum of 300 watt-seconds each, with 5 to the 8-inch parabolic reflector, aim int the umbrella as described above, with the fill light near o behind the camera and the MAIN light about 20 to 25 degrees off the camera/subject axis will work well.  The main light is 12 to 15 feet from the group and the fill about 15 to 17 feet from the group,  The modelling lamps in the monolight will help you even out the lighting. Try for an aperture of f/8 or f/11 and a lighting ratio of about 1:3.

A bare flash tub is not the best source for an umbrella because the majority of the light is emitted from the side of the tube.  Tif the tube is oriented horizontally the majority of the light might miss the umbrella if it is shallow and even if it is deeper, the angle of incidence is not conducive to efficient bounce.  If the tube is oriented vertically, the minority of light someof light may still the reflective surface of the umbrella and some lig will go directly out at the subjects and may cause a more uneven effect.

Size? A couple of 30-inch matte silver umbrellas should work.

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Ed Shapiro- Commercial and Portrait Photographer. Ottawa, Ontario Canada

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