Every good photographer knows that light is the most important element of photography. Learning how to use light – to direct and control it – is key to getting incredible, impactful shots.
There are different ways in which lighting can be adjusted using light modifiers to produce better photos. While the lights themselves play a part, it is important not to overlook the value of getting your hands on something to diffuse the light with. This is where a lighting umbrella comes in handy.
To use a lighting umbrella, simply aim the light inside the umbrella and let it diffuse or direct the light onto your subject. Diffusing the light this way allows the light to be not only softer but also spread over a larger area.
There are a lot of these umbrellas that you can choose from. We did a lot of the initial research for you and looked at many of the lighting umbrellas currently available. Here, we introduce you to the best products to consider if you want to improve the lighting in your studio photo shoots.
1. Emart 600W Photography Photo Video Portrait Studio (Overall Winner)
The top option on our list is the Emart 600W Photography Photo Video Portrait Studio daylight umbrella. This is actually a complete lighting kit and not just a single umbrella, and it comes at an extremely affordable price. The kit comes with four umbrellas in total including two translucent white soft umbrellas as well as two reflector umbrellas.
The reflector umbrellas are silver and black in color. There are three sockets, as well as three 45W full spectrum photo bulbs included with the kit. You also get two 83-inch light stands, along with one 33-inch light stand. The kit comes with a bulb carry case, and a heavy-duty umbrella carrying case as well.
The LimoStudio Photography Photo Portrait Studio 600W Day Light Umbrella is another kit that includes everything you need to get started with lighting for your photoshoots. There are a variety of items included in the kit. The items consist of two reflector umbrellas, a light stand, three bulb sockets, three 45W CFL bulbs, and a carrying case.
The reflector umbrellas have a diameter of 33 inches. Enhanced nylon material is used in the construction of these umbrellas, and they are compatible with any type of lighting fixture.
Another good option to consider if you want to get your hands on a complete lighting umbrella kit. The ESDDI Umbrella Continuous Lights Kit comes with an excellent price tag and includes two 33-inch umbrellas. These are standard lighting umbrellas that are ideal for diffusing light and weakening shadows.
The head of the ESDDI umbrella can be adjusted within a 180-degree angle. The included stands have a height adjustability system allowing you to adjust the height from 16 inches to 28 inches. There is a long stand as well, with a maximum height of 78.7 inches.
If you are looking to get a lighting kit at a lower price than the other options that we have considered, then take a look at Slow Dolphin’s umbrella kit.
In addition to the default kit option, you can also decide on a kit that comes with an extra backdrop to be used in your photography sessions. There are two translucent umbrellas that come with the purchase of this kit, as well as two additional black reflector umbrellas.
Next, we have the Linco Lincostore Photography Photo Table Top Studio Lighting Kit. This is a good option to consider if you are in need of a smaller set of lighting umbrellas that are portable, compact, and ready for travel. The kit comes with two included umbrellas, along with studio LED light bulbs.
The manufacturer of these umbrellas claims that storing the products takes just 30 seconds, making them great for situations where you might find yourself in a hurry. Apart from the light bulbs and umbrellas, this kit also comes with two light stands that feature multiple sections.
The RaLeno Photography Umbrella Lighting Kit is a great starting point for photographers who are trying to focus on indoor shoots. There are a variety of items that are included, allowing you to adjust the lighting on the inside of your studio to provide the perfect photographs.
The RaLeno Photography Umbrella Lighting Kit comes with two white umbrellas and two black umbrellas. You also get three light bulbs, three light switches, three light stands, and a carry bag that holds everything safe and organized. This kit also comes with a 12-month warranty.
Next, we have the Neewer 600W 5500K Photo Studio Day Light Umbrella Lighting Kit. As the name suggests, this is yet another kit that comes with all the products you need for indoor photo shoots.
Neewer’s umbrella kit comes with a slightly higher price tag compared to some of the other options we have looked at, but you can choose between the default 600W lighting kit or opt for the 400W kit as an alternative. You get two white translucent umbrellas, as well as a tabletop stand, and two studio stands with this kit. Bulbs are included, along with a carry case.
If quality is something that you hold as the main priority and you have more money to spend, consider the Selens 51-inch Photography Studio Translucent Parabolic Lighting Reflective Umbrella.
The quality and overall features, however, are superior to a lot of the competitor products out there. The product does have a couple of alternative models available, and you can buy a variety of these models in order to achieve the specific effects you might be aiming for in the studio.
Next on our list is the Fancierstudio Lighting Kit DK2. This is a kit that comes with two lighting umbrellas. In addition to the umbrellas that are included in this particular kit, you also get two fitted lights – one light on each of the umbrellas. The price tag is average compared to other options.
Fancierstudio’s lighting kit is good for both photo and video projects. The lights stand at a seven-foot height and are rated at 45W each. It should be noted that this kit also comes with the appropriate stands that are needed to set up the umbrellas and lighting in the studio.
10. MountDog 2 Pack 33”/84cm White Translucent Soft Umbrella (Budget Winner)
Our budget pick for this list is the MountDog 2 Pack 33”/84cm White Translucent Soft Umbrella. At a price extremely affordable price, this particular package comes with two lighting umbrellas, providing you with far better value for your money when compared to some of the other options that are on the market.
It should be noted, however, that if you do not own stands and lights already, then this might not be the most ideal option for you. The umbrellas were designed to provide light transmission of about 50 percent. It can also be used in order to bounce light. With simple adjustments, light and contrast can be easily adjusted with these translucent umbrellas.
Choosing Lighting Umbrellas
By using umbrellas in your studio, you can control the light to make it hit your subject the way you want it to. But it all really comes down to your personal style and your artistic vision. These lighting umbrellas can be used in different ways to help you achieve that. Now it’s time for you to experiment and find the right one for you!