29 Dec 2010

Eliminate That Hotspot!

While I was out shooting Santa last week I had some spare time to play with my flash and shoot through umbrella set-up and took the following shot:

As you can see there is a distinct hotspot in the umbrella. Not so great for even distribution of light, which is the point of the umbrella to start off with. Of course it does help to distribute light, but not as well as it could. The flash was set to about 50mm here, so I flipped out the built in diffuser and it automatically went to 14mm wide with the following result:

Beautiful even distribution of light resulting in a better wrap around effect for portraits!

The light stand used here is in fact a junky old cheap tripod with the head removed and refitted to an extension pole which I then mounted to the top of the junky old cheap tripod, I then drilled a hole through the plastic head (taking care to avoid anything important) and voila! Nice tall light stand for the man on a limited budget. Here is a close up of the head:

Some people say I'm tight, but I like to think of myself as frugal...


  1. Now stand this setup against the wall - you don't need light on umbrella, you want to distribute light on subject. Part of light from borders of umbrella don't go to your subject if you switch to 14mm - they are wasted.

    14mm is better solution if you light to silver umbrella to reflect back.

    In this case 50mm could be enough to distribute light on faces without wasting energy :)

    Try different amount of power / lamp zooms in manual mode against some human-face-alike target :) Tfu! volunteer ;))

    Battery-saving is crucial on assignements like this :)

    Happy New Year!
    Oleśku :)

  2. Wait, what?

    Could you give some more detail on how you build the umbrella holder? I got kind of lost...

  3. Hi Ed!
    Reading through it now I have difficulty following it myself. What I will do is post a more in depth article on how to do it... but it will have to wait for the weekend. I am on the road right now and am doing email and internet via my cell phone which is slow and expensive. ;-)

    Check back in on Saturday or Sunday.

  4. That would be great! I've wanted to do this exact thing for a while, but was unsure of what parts I'd need. Links to B&H or Adorama would help, where applicable :)

    Also, how far from the subject could you put this setup and still have it be effective?

    Thanks again