Silver umbrella 150 cm + video backstage of the photoshoot with Tara Bancroft

Last week, Tara Bancroft came to me for a photoshoot – a mix of China and Switzerland, although she spent most of her life in the UK. Such models often do very well professionally because they look like Asians, but with lighter skin and taller height, which is highly sought in Asia. In the past, modeling agencies had more white girls who looked like Asians, but now there are more mixes.

I recorded this photo session and at the end of the post, I added the video.

Time for changes

For a long time, I have been considering making changes to my photos – mainly in agency tests. It wasn’t about making them look better, but about making them as simplified as possible. I wanted the model to have a lot of freedom of movement, without the risk that the light would not work when she stood in the wrong place, that skin blemishes would not be emphasized, that black hair would have at least a little detail even without rim light, etc. So I needed a large modifier, and as you know from my 8 years of blog posts, I hardly ever use anything over 90 cm/35 in in diameter. Actually, only an umbrella or almost 2-meter-long stripes were an option, because with a limited space, an octabox would be too close to the model. However, a white umbrella, even in a smaller size, is too soft for me (I recently described a photo shoot with Liza Kaylee and an umbrella, and the photos didn’t come out in my typical style). On the other hand, I was not convinced by a silver umbrella because I don’t like smaller silver modifiers, except for a beauty dish.

A large umbrella

YouTube recommended a video to me by Anita Sadowska, in which she talks about how she likes to photograph with a 165 cm/65 in silver umbrella (and what she doesn’t like about a beauty dish). I have different preferences, but for agency tests, the effects from such an umbrella seemed appropriate to me, so I decided to give it a try.

I chose the Godox 150 cm/59 in umbrella. The alternative was 175 cm/68 in, but I didn’t want it. In the studio, there are various modifiers to choose from, so I wouldn’t have to buy anything for these photos, and this umbrella was for photos taken at home. In my apartment, due to limited space, such an umbrella would be in the frame in some shots, and the low ceiling would be even more of an obstacle. 165 cm/65 in seemed optimal, but I only found Profoto, which is five times more expensive than Godox. I didn’t know if I would use it more than once, so I didn’t consider that model. Besides, later it turned out that everything over 150 cm/59 in would be in the frame for full-body shots with lighting from the right side (I have a little more freedom in placing the main lamp on the left). 150 cm/59 in is also a bit of a hindrance, but it’s not enough to be a major problem.

The agency warned the model that my photos have a specific style. In other words, all the photos look similar and it’s clear what to expect. This time, due to different lighting, the final effect was different, but probably not enough for someone who is not into photography to notice. There is still a black background, still contrast, etc. The idea of this large umbrella is that the large diameter provides even lighting of the entire silhouette and eliminates sharp shadows, and the silver color makes it less flat and the shadows are not as soft. Judge for yourself how it turned out – for me, it’s good.

The difference was also made by a large silver reflector, placed diagonally to the umbrella. It further reduced the shadows and added shine to black hair. There was also a lamp illuminating the background as usual. First, a studio lamp was used, and later replaced with a speedlight because slowly all my studio lamps are starting to die, and I still haven’t sorted out their replacements.

In the backstage, you will also see a strip directed somewhere towards the wardrobe instead of the model, but it is not turned on. It is just waiting in standby, ready to be set up in case it is needed.

I would prefer if this umbrella was even deeper, more parabolic. By the way, I think the Profoto model is exactly like that.

By the way, one photo was taken with a 90 cm octabox, but everything was different there, not just the modifier, so a direct comparison to previous photos doesn’t make sense:

More changes

Will the next session also be with an umbrella? Yes – I have already done it, a few days after the one I described today, and the blog post is almost ready and it will be published soon. However, this next photo shoot is a bit different because I finally installed a studio backdrop for photographing full-body shots, but that’s for next time.

Finally, back to the 150 cm umbrella, but in color:



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