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Subject: "speedlight to umbrella relationship setup???" Previous topic | Next topic
H3Tex Registered since 08th May 2012Fri 14-Dec-12 01:18 PM
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"speedlight to umbrella relationship setup???"


US
          

I’m looking for tips on how to setup my speedlight to umbrella relationship. From what I understand is that it’s best to fill the umbrella with light without spilling over. It kind of seems as though compromises will be needed. The speedlight is not firing into the center of the umbrella because of where the mount places it. Then there is the fact that the umbrella is round and the speedlight pattern is rectangle.

I have a silver umbrella so it is hard for me to see where the light is hitting. I thought about putting a few white strips of paper and taking some small aperture shots into the umbrella.

Does it make a difference if I setup the speedlight to shoot wide angle and have it close to the umbrella vs having it shoot with a tighter spot but place it further from the umbrella.

Any pointer would be appreciated.

Thanks Brian

  

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: speedlight to umbrella relationship setup???
luckyphoto Silver Member
14th Dec 2012
1
Reply message RE: speedlight to umbrella relationship setup???
Arkayem Moderator
15th Dec 2012
2
Reply message RE: speedlight to umbrella relationship setup???
Gray_star
18th Dec 2012
3
Reply message RE: speedlight to umbrella relationship setup???
HBB Moderator
18th Dec 2012
4
Reply message RE: speedlight to umbrella relationship setup???
H3Tex
18th Dec 2012
5

luckyphoto Silver Member Nikonian since 27th Dec 2010Fri 14-Dec-12 05:59 PM
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#1. "RE: speedlight to umbrella relationship setup???"
In response to Reply # 0


Port Charlotte, US
          

Hi Brian. I'm going to give you the "Zen" answer of photographic lighting.

"From what I understand is that it’s best to fill the umbrella with light without spilling over. It kind of seems as though compromises will be needed. The speedlight is not firing into the center of the umbrella because of where the mount places it. Then there is the fact that the umbrella is round and the speedlight pattern is rectangle."

You're looking for a solution that has no problem. There's no one correct placement of the speedlight on the umbrella. Yes, speedlight placement does change the characteristics of the light on the subject, but that depends on what lighting look you want. The same goes for reflectors, grids, beauty dishes, snoots, softboxes and speedlight-mounted devices. Try your umbrella with the speedlight close and further back. See how the light differs on the photo.

"Any pointer would be appreciated."

I would propose you start by understanding how light works and is affected by the various light modifiers. Also, think of light in three terms, quantity, quality and direction. Then, when you want to light a subject in a certain way, you can use one or more modifiers to attain the look you're after.

Larry

"Red is gray and yellow white, but we decide which is right
....and which is an illusion"

Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Arkayem Moderator Awarded for his high level skills in flash photography Charter MemberSat 15-Dec-12 03:17 AM
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#2. "RE: speedlight to umbrella relationship setup???"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond Hill, GA (Savannah), US
          

>I’m looking for tips on how to setup my speedlight to
>umbrella relationship. From what I understand is that it’s
>best to fill the umbrella with light without spilling over.
>It kind of seems as though compromises will be needed. The
>speedlight is not firing into the center of the umbrella
>because of where the mount places it. Then there is the fact
>that the umbrella is round and the speedlight pattern is
>rectangle.
>
>I have a silver umbrella so it is hard for me to see where the
>light is hitting. I thought about putting a few white strips
>of paper and taking some small aperture shots into the
>umbrella.
>
>Does it make a difference if I setup the speedlight to shoot
>wide angle and have it close to the umbrella vs having it
>shoot with a tighter spot but place it further from the
>umbrella.
>
>Any pointer would be appreciated.
>
>Thanks Brian
>

Just turn your camera around and shoot pictures of your umbrellas with the flash firing in them using TTL. It is pretty easy to see if you have excessive light 'spilling' over it into the back wall of the studio.

The more fully you fill the umbrellas, the softer the light. Once you have spillage, you are affecting mostly the efficiency of the setup. It will still make nice soft light, but your flash will not have as much effective maximum power.

Russ
Retired Professional Photographer
Nikonian Moderator
Russell MacDonald Photography
Nikon CLS Practical Guide

  

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Gray_star Registered since 17th Dec 2012Tue 18-Dec-12 07:13 AM
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#3. "RE: speedlight to umbrella relationship setup???"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

You didn't say what size umbrella you have or which speedlight you have.

I have a 43" umbrella, which is 39" in diameter (many umbrellas are measured over the dome.) I have the same problem that you have...the flash isn't directed to the center of the umbrella. Better flash units have heads that tilt down, and that will take care of the problem. I have an SB-600 which doesn't tilt down, so I have to go with plan B. You can buy a new umbrella swivel that has a 10 degree tilt to the umbrella mount. That will get the flash directed to the center. One such swivel is the Lumopro LP633. They're about 18 bucks.

Filling an umbrella with light is an issue with speedlights, as they're not designed to really spread light. An umbrella is a big area that's really close to the flash. You need a really wide spread to fill an umbrella. Fortunately, it doesn't take much to figure out how to set up your flash and umbrella. Your manual should have the angles of coverage for various zoom levels. All that's needed is a little measuring of the umbrella with a protractor and you'll know exactly what zoom level you need. And if all you have is a tape measure then you can use this online trig calculator to get your angle...

http://www.carbidedepot.com/formulas-trigright.asp

Just measure the diameter of the dome from tip to tip...half of that is the "side b" value. Then measure the stem from near the flash mounting position to the intersection between the stem and the line representing your previous tip to tip measure...that's the "side a" value. It sounds complicated, but just look at your umbrella and you'll figure it out (going by the picture of the triangle on the website, think of the umbrella as being upside down, with the stem being the "a" side.)

Angle "B" is the angle you want. On my umbrella it came out to around 50.6 degrees. Double that for two sides, and I need a coverage angle of 101 degrees to fill the umbrella. The only angle of coverage the SB-600 has that's wide enough is with the built-in Wide-Flash adapter pulled down.

So with that info you should be able to figure it out.

  

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HBB Moderator Hal is an expert in several areas, including CLS Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Charter MemberTue 18-Dec-12 05:51 PM
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#4. "RE: speedlight to umbrella relationship setup???"
In response to Reply # 0


Phoenix, US
          

Brian:

Here are two images of a bracket I made to mount two SB800 speedlights in a single umbrella. The materials include:

1) An inexpensive flash bracket, with a second mounting screw to attach ball head.

2) A pair of inexpensive ball heads.

3) Two flash adapters to mount speedlights to ball heads. I use Really Right Stuff flash adapters because of their very high quality and strength. Other, less expensive models are available.

4) A 1/4-20 bolt and washer.

The ball heads in the configuration permit the speedlights to be placed closer to the umbrella shaft for more uniform light distribution.

The SB800s are shown a bit deeper into the umbrella than normal for illustration purposes.

Hope this helps a bit.

Regards,

HBB in Phoenix, Arizona
Nikonian Team Member

Photography is a journey with no conceivable destination.





Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)

  

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H3Tex Registered since 08th May 2012Tue 18-Dec-12 08:40 PM
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#5. "RE: speedlight to umbrella relationship setup???"
In response to Reply # 4


US
          

Thanks for all the advice guys. Im actually going to scrap the speedlight umbrella idea since I just ordered a 400ws Elinchrom. But my second light will now be one of those 40ws strobe bulbs. So I still need to set that one up.

I played around taking head on pictures of the umbrella at F22 and one of the sub 100 low ISO's. I think that strobe only has a 120 degree spread. I know it is tighter that a speedlight. I did some un-modified testing.

Doing the trig thing showes that I need to put that strobe 11.5" from the face of the umbrella to get full coverage.

  

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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR TOOLS - Hardware & Software Nikon Speedlights & Lighting topic #60206 Previous topic | Next topic


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