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    © Quentin Décaillet

    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.

    © Quentin Décaillet

    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.

    © Quentin Décaillet

    Setup 3

    © Quentin Décaillet

    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

    © Quentin Décaillet

    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!

    Quentin's To Go Set

    • Umbrella Deep Silver 125 cm (49”)

      Umbrella Deep Silver 125 cm (49”) N° 26353

      Elinchrom deep umbrellas are manufactured using 16 fiberglass rods to maintain a perfect circular shape.

      By simply adjusting the position, the deep shape offers control of the light spread.

      The Silver umbrella offers a crispier light providing greater specularity and texture.

      This umbrella is 54 cm deep.

      For Quadra, ELB 400/500 heads, we recommend using the Q-Reflector Adapter MK-II for umbrella sizes bigger than 85 cm to avoid any risk of damage.

    • Translucent Diffuser for Deep 125 cm (49”)

      Translucent Diffuser for Deep 125 cm (49”) N° 26762

      The Translucent Diffuser can be used with the Umbrella Deep 125 cm silver, white and translucent.

      The optional translucent diffuser delivers the lighting effect of a direct or indirect softbox depending on which umbrella is used.

      The umbrella is not included and must be ordered separately.

    • ELC Pro HD 500/500 Set

      ELC Pro HD 500/500 SetN° 20666.2

      This set is the perfect all rounder for any kind of photography.