One Year Of Photography by Howard Haby

170/365: Closed Down Umbrella (Poor Man’s Softbox)

Amy is going out with the girls on her softball team tonight. Before she left to go shake what her mamma gave her, I got her to pose for a photo.

As anxious as I am, I haven’t had much opourtunity to play with my umbrella. I need to put in a few hours with someone to sit for me to really get a good feel for it, and I then I know I’ll start learning something. Amy was nice enough to give me a few minutes. Granted, she was in a rush and as it happens, the photos where her posture is saying, “Please hurry up, I gotta gooooo!”, happen to be my photos for tonight.

Using an umbrella, you can turn your small speedlite into a much larger light source, and in turn create a softer light source (bigger = softer). I did take a couple photos with the umbrella fully open, but settled on closing it down so I could prevent spilling the light on my background (curtains) and therefore creating a darker backdrop. You can see some depth or pattern back there, but I think it’s actually pretty nice.  Closing the umbrella down (from fully open to nearly closed) over the flash like this, is what some people refer to as a “Poor Man’s Softbox”. The idea of a softbox is pretty much the same as an umbrella in terms of creating a larger, softer light,  but is designed in such a way that it makes controlling where you want your light to go that much easier. There’s more to it than that, but that’s it in a nutshell. The reason why a closed down umbrella is called a “Poor Man’s Softbox” by some people is because a 28 inch softbox is about five times the cost of my 60 inch umbrella. Get it?

On another note, I could have turned this background totally black just by angling the light a little more from the back ground and more perpendicular to Amy (or we could have just moved further away from the background), but that wasn’t the photo I had in mind. Actually, the photos I have here weren’t exactly the photos I had in mind either, haha.The B&W one is Amy’s body lanuage for I love you, and I think you adorable, but I have to go  (ok, I added in the I think you’re adorable part), and I think her attitude in that one makes the photograph. And it’s pretty hawt! 🙂 The second photo is just plain pretty.

Thanks for dropping by. It’s the weekend, go take some photos. And while your at it, why not take some photos of your significant other or your loved ones this weekend!? Photography is better shared. Good luck and have fun!

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