4 setups with one Deep Umbrella


4 Different Portraits

With Just One Deep Umbrella Setup

by Quentin Décaillet

When shooting portraits, we do not always get the time we want.

Here is how I created four entirely different portraits with a simple deep umbrella setup.


1x Silver Deep Umbrella 125 cm + 1x Diffuser

In the previous post, we have seen the main differences of the 3 different Deep Umbrellas.

So, let’s have a look at what we can achieve with a single light source and a single umbrella when we must shoot in a pinch.

Setup 1

I used a silver deep umbrella 125 cm with the diffusion cloth on first.

As you can usually get set up before the subject arrives, putting the diffuser takes a little bit more time than removing it, so it’s easier to start with it on.

I placed the light source on my model’s left, but slightly before her to create a soft and forgiving window like light.

Setup 2

Keeping the same setup, I moved to my model’s right and shot her profile.

It yields a moodier look that is entirely different than my first image.

As my model hasn’t moved a bit, the flash power doesn’t need any adjustment.

Setup 3

Then, I came back in front of my model, removed the diffusion cloth and shot another portrait.

This third image has much more contrast, and as you can see, any imperfection shows.

The silver deep umbrella almost acts like a large beauty dish and micro-contrast is thus quite pronounced.

This translates into any imperfection becoming extremely visible but also a unique three-dimensional look.

Be sure to lower the power by about half to one full stop when removing the diffusion cloth. Otherwise, your highlights will be totally blown out.

Setup 4

Finally, for the fourth and last look, I moved the umbrella behind me and zoomed it all the way in.

Again, power must be adjusted by removing about two stops with the silver umbrella – only half a stop with the white one.

With the light shaper zoomed all the way in, I get an extremely contrasty look and a very particular catch light.

This last lighting setup is one you either love or hate, but it’s one that is fun to use now and then.


That’s about all you need to know regarding the deep umbrellas.

They are a fantastic tool:

Easy to use
Extremely portable

If I were to start my lighting kit all over again, this would be the one light shaper I would buy.

This will also become my go to light shaper for engagement sessions, weddings, and agency tests. If you are not sure what softbox to buy, stop cogitating and get one deep umbrella right away.

You won’t regret it!

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