Uses of Umbrellas in Photography

Uses of Umbrellas in Photography! Umbrellas have been used in photography to create a softer light or to diffuse light from a bright sun. They are often used when photographing people and landscapes photography. When using an umbrella, it is important to know how the shadow will appear on your subject. Understanding these basic principles will help you use umbrellas more effectively in your photography!

Umbrellas are a photographer’s best friend, especially during the summer. They provide protection from the sun and help to reduce overexposure in photographs taken outdoors. 

One of the most underrated tools in a photographer’s arsenal is an umbrella. In the market, different types of photography umbrellas are available. These handy light modifiers come in many shapes and sizes, and they can be used to create all sorts of effects. In this article, we will explore some Uses of Umbrellas in Photography that you may not know about! 

Uses of Umbrellas in Photography

In this article, I’ll share 5 ways that you can use an umbrella to improve your photography.

1. To create a soft light source

To create a soft light source

One of the easiest ways to use an umbrella is simply as a diffuser. I’ll define diffusion here as the spreading out of light, resulting in less contrast and shadows. Nowhere does this work better than with softboxes (which also diffuse light), but umbrellas are also great because they’re often much more portable than softboxes making them ideal for on-location shoots.

2. To create a directional light source

To create a directional light source

Umbrellas can also be used to create a directional light source. This is done by using the umbrella in a way that causes it to block the light from the main light source, and instead send all the light towards your subject. This can be a great option when you need to get light behind your subject, for instance.

3. To diffuse harsh sunlight

To diffuse harsh sunlight

If you’re shooting outdoors during the middle of the day, then it’s likely that the sun is directly overhead and harsh on your subject. If that’s the case, try using an umbrella with your main light to create a large light source, and then aim it directly into the sun. This will create a larger light source than just your main light alone (therefore reducing the harshness), while still directing all of that bright sunlight away from your subject.

4. To retain heat

Using an umbrella with one of your studio lights is also a great way to keep the light source warm. If you hang a large diffusion panel from your studio lights, then those lights will emit much harsher colder light than an umbrella does.

5. Popularly Used in Photo light Boxes

In the lightbox, a popular use for umbrellas is to block harsh shadows. It also helps with minimizing camera shake when using low-light conditions and can be used as an effective matte during portrait photography by placing it over your subject’s face so that only their features are visible in the shot instead of having everything washed out due to too strong shine from the overhead sun or other sources.

6. To create a makeshift softbox or beauty dish

Lastly, you can use umbrellas as a makeshift “softbox” or beauty dish. The easiest way to do this is to simply remove the cover from the umbrella, and then place it so that the light is hitting your subject at more of a 45-degree angle. This will create a softer light with less contrast and shadows than if you were to just use the umbrella straight on.


So there you have its 6 ways to use an umbrella in your photography. As you can see, there are a lot of different ways to use them, so be sure to experiment and find the ways that work best for you.


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