umbrella light behind girl

How To Use Umbrella Lights During Studio Photography

Artificial lights are necessary in photography studio. In markets various versatile artificial lights are available for photography studio. But some subjects may find problem from these artificial light sources. For such conditions you will need some light modifiers and also for making a single light source such as soft-box, standard reflector and umbrella lights etc. An umbrella light is the best option to use and also the most affordable light modifier. Many photographers like these umbrella lights to fill large spaces and for full focusing on subject during photography. In this article we will provide you a complete guideline about how to use umbrella lights during studio photography.

Umbrella lights for studio photography

A photography umbrella light is a best tool to modify extra flash lights coming from artificial light sources during studio photography. This change the light properties of these artificial lights. You can also use umbrella light even with sunlight during your photography.

A photography umbrella reflects the light or it may diffuse , in this way it change the light’s softness by creating a focused beam of light. These are best for beginners as it is easy to use and can be used with versatile backdrops.

Way to use an umbrella light

Here are some ways to use an umbrella lights during studio photography. You can use the following ways to take your photography to professional level.

Umbrella with white-shoot

While you are shooting a white shoot , you can use umbrella to diffuse and softens the light. For this purpose place the umbrella between light and subject. If you are working with a strobe which has a hole and a knob that will help to mount the umbrella. If you are working with an extra flash light then you will need a flash bracket and an umbrella holder to hold umbrella. If you are using other extra light sources, place the umbrella simply close to light and make sure it covers the whole light source.

The distance between the light source and umbrella affects the diffusion level. For example if you place the umbrella very close to light source then you will get less diffusion level. While if there is more difference between light source and umbrella , it will produce high or intense diffusion level and soften the shadow but there is a risk of light spill.

umbrella in studio

Reflective umbrella light

The reflective umbrellas are used to direct the light instead of softening or diffusion of light. These umbrellas have an outside with solid black and an inside with a reflective silver . The light source is directed into umbrellas so that it bounces out of it. For this purpose the umbrella is placed in such a way that the light source is actually towards the reflective part of umbrella ,instead of placing towards the subject to bounce the light back onto the subject. These are best option to reflect light back on to the subject and making the image sharper.

Convertible umbrella light during studio photography

If you want a combination of both reflective umbrella and white shoot then the convertible umbrella is best option. These are more versatile and work efficient for shooting a variety of products. If you are confusing about what umbrella should use then choose the convertible umbrella because it perform the function of both white-shoot and reflective umbrella. These are best for product photography. To work with convertible umbrella , place the black cover of umbrella in such a way that it covers only half of light source. This create an amazing light environment by blocking out light from some part of product.

Kinds of umbrella light

On the basis of purpose of umbrellas ,there are three different kinds of umbrella light. You can use one of them that will make your work excellent. These are mentioned below:

On the basis of color

A shoot-through  is completely white shoot. The reflective umbrella has an interior with white, silver or golden and an exterior of black color. The interior with silver color is highly reflective and create a sharp and cool aspect. The umbrella with gold interior creates a warm and yellowish view in your photography. You can also use a dual-purpose umbrellas which is white shoot but with black covers which change them into reflective umbrellas.

On the basis of size

The umbrellas with a larger size creates a soften light as compared to umbrellas with small size. These are also better to use as these spread light more and there is no light spill. These large size umbrellas are used to illuminate or working with a large space or group photography.

While small sized umbrellas need a less powerful light source, for example flash units but creates stronger light. These small-sized umbrellas are used during working with small set ups , for example food photography or product photography.

On the basis of shape

The shape of umbrella refers the depth of umbrella and it is also very important . Deep umbrella give more control over the direction of light and spread less the light. The deep umbrellas are usually with large sized . On the other hand shallow umbrellas cover a huge area , spread light and create a soft effect.

There is also a rectangular shaped umbrella that you can use while you are working in a low- ceiling room . You can also use a hybrid umbrella that can act as both rectangular and regular soft-box just by adding some accessories.

Advantage of using umbrella

The most important advantage of umbrellas are their availability in a great variety and affordable within budget. As these are available in a variety so these can produce a variety of results. These are incredibly portable therefore many photographers like to work with these as these are easy to use at location of photography. The best thing about umbrella is that it is cheaper light modifier.

Disadvantage of using umbrella

With so many advantage , they also have some disadvantage. The basic disadvantage is that many umbrellas can not be modified. It has also disadvantage of light spill which is main disadvantage during studio photography. So a great light is lost around studio and make it difficult to control light while working in a small set up.


The photography umbrellas make easy to control diffusion in studio photography for both professional photographers and beginners. These are incredibly portable, inexpensive light modifiers and easy to use.

After reading this article carefully , hope you will how to use umbrella during studio photography to create a soft and sharp image. Follow the tips of using umbrella that are given in this article to take your photography at professional level.