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Quick Tip: How to Get Four Different Looks with One Photo Umbrella

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Daniel Norton, the same photographer who showed you how to capture three distinct looks simultaneously when you’re pressed for time on a shoot, is back for another useful quick tip. This time, he’s showing you how to capture four distinct portrait looks with a single umbrella.

As Norton says at the beginning, an umbrella is a great lighting tool for beginners: “they’re really versatile and very inexpensive, and you can get a lot of different looks with them.” And speaking of different looks, he dives right in to show you three different portrait setups (and a bonus) for the next time you’re in the studio.

Look 1: Full-body uniform lighting against a white wall

look1

The first is also the simplest: a full-body “catalog” shot with even lighting across the entire subject.

Look 2: Beauty lighting

look2

For the second look, Norton goes for a more traditional soft “beauty” shot against a black background.

Look 3: More contrasty portrait

look3

The third look Norton describes as a “portrait look” but we’re pretty sure he meant headshot. He covers only the bottom half of the umbrella with the black cloth

Bonus Look: Creating a grey background in a white studio

look4

The final look is a “bonus,” meant to disprove the notion that umbrellas are so hard to control that they’re useless for controlling the darkness of your portrait background. Well, Norton manages it by “cheating” the setup a bit.


There are probably many many more looks you can create using an umbrella, but these 4 are a good place to start. And, of course, once you start getting into softboxes and beauty dishes and octaboxes and the many many other light modifiers out there, a whole world of additional possibilities opens up.

(via YouTube via PictureCorrect)

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