Low-Budget Umbrella Flash for Dummies

Most tutorials on photographic lighting are oriented toward someone who already has access to a professional studio lighting system, costing more than most professional cameras. In contrast, this tutorial is designed for someone who just has a camera and perhaps a flash unit. It's designed to help a photographer who is shopping for equipment needed to use advanced off-camera techniques with a simple flash unit or two. It covers the basics of how to get soft, pleasing light using a simple flash or two with lightstands and umbrellas. It assumes you already have a camera which has flash sync and manually adjustable shutter speeds and apertures, and it assumes you are familiar with using the camera manually, and are comfortable with relationships between aperture, shutter speed, and exposure.

Why get the flash off camera? What does it do for my photos?

Click here for some quick demo photos of how your flash photography can be improved by using simple lightstands and umbrellas.

How do I mount a flash off camera and attach an umbrella?

Click here for the basics of how to put together a simple low-budget studio system using lightstands and umbrellas.

Why use flash (strobes)? Aren't incandescent lights cheaper and easier?

Click here for an explanation of why strobes give you MUCH more useful exposure light per dollar than hot lights when you must light a moving subject like a person.

What kinds of lights should I get? How do I hook them to the camera? How do I determine exposure?

Click here for a discussion of the various types of flash units and ways you can synchronize them to the camera and meter them.

What's the next step up in price and light output?

Click here for a quick tour of a monolight, a powerful flash unit suitable for use as part of a professional studio lighting setup.

A word about High Speed Sync

Click here for a word about why you should AVOID using high speed sync if you want to stop action effectively. (This little article doesn't have much to do with umbrella flash techniques, but it fits better here than in anything else I've got on the web.)

Please send comments especially if you find this helpful or if you spot an error or something that could be explained better.

Here's my regular home page
Web Hostingweb hostingdedicated serversSSL Certificatedomain namesweb hosting