Using direct lighting such as halogen lamps or a strobe light can create a very harsh shadow as well as render the subject a little one-dimensional. Part of the problem can be solved by moving the light source to a 45 degree angle. This would create more subtle shadows which can show more detail but does nothing about the shadow hardness. The easiest way to eliminate the harsh shadow and breathe some life into a photo is going to be to shoot with natural light and a longer shutter speed; of course this is not always an option. One of the solutions to this problem is to use a photo umbrella. By using a photo umbrella we are able to recreate a soft light.
Soft light is highly diffused light. By directing the light source through diffusion material the harshness is removed casting shadow less warm light over your subject. The reason the umbrella makes the light softer is simply that it is being spread out more. Rather than the burst of light coming from the small flash head it appears to be coming from the large umbrella. The relationship between the size of the subject and the size of the light source determines the harshness of the shadows.
Small light source and small subject equal harsh light; big light source and small subject equal soft light. Photo umbrellas come in many different flavors and are used for different purposes. Silver umbrella are very effect at reflecting light and produces a very ¡§white¡¨ neutral tone. A silver umbrella can be used when the subject that is being photographed is very saturated and faithful and natural color is desired. The silver umbrella, because of its very reflective surface tends to cast a harder light. This slightly harder light can have the effect of adding just the right shine on the subject give a more three dimensional look. The silver umbrella is great for subjects that are not shinny. If a warmer tone is desired the gold photo umbrella would be a good choice. Often the gold umbrella is the choice for portraits as it produces a very warm and pleasing skin tones. However if the gold is too much and the silver is too little there are also options for half gold and half silver in one umbrella.
Umbrellas that are having the gold film are useful when the light is too white or when the skin tones look pasty and unhealthy, by casting a slightly warm color on to the subject, especially if the subject are people, the scene looks more appealing and people look healthier. If it is a soft almost shadow less light that you are after then the white photo umbrella is for you. This umbrella is made of a new P-satin cloth bonded to a black background that can achieve almost 100% light reflection providing a large soft light.
Thanks to the combination of material used in our white umbrellas the diffusion is very smooth and produces a very pleasing soft light. The white umbrella is the one to use when you want to smooth out minor details and produce a more complementary light for your subject. Transparent umbrellas can be used in many ways to diffuse light. As they are semi-transparent they can be shot thru and used as a diffuser.Use a transparent umbrellas in enclosed on location shoots and you will be amazed at the effects of soft light that is created as the umbrella reflects some light on to the subject and allow some light to pass through to reflect of the walls behind the umbrella.