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Photography; Softboxes vs Umbrella Lights

I want to pursue photography as a hobby, like for family portraits. I've been looking up lighting equipment. I'd like to know what's the difference between softboxes and umbrella lights. Are they interchangeable or is it necessary to use them together? Thanks.

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 1:38 PM on Feb. 18, 2009 in Hobbies & Crafts

Answers (5)
  • You can use either one or use them together. The light can be shined through the umbrella-if it is a translucent or clear umbrella-toward your subjects. Reflective umbrellas are turned the other way so they reflect the light back at your subject. A softbox diffuses the light. The softbox is going to have a similar effect to the clear or translucent umbrellas. Softboxes will soften the light more but they also weaken the light as well. A lot of studios have a combination of the two. The more lighting you have the fewer the shadows and the softer they are.

    Here is a place I was looking into for a lighting set-up:

    They have a studio set that I believe is $169 and it comes with a backgdrop stand, a black muslin backdrop, 2 light sets (including the stands, the lights and the umbrellas). I think it is listed on the page in the link.


    Answer by casperskitty at 6:52 PM on Feb. 18, 2009

  • You might also check B&H and Adorama. There are a lot of places online to buy this kind of equipment, but just remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. B&H and Adorama are respected and trusted dealers. You should also check the photo ads in your local craigslist. Sometimes you can find a good deal that way.

    Answer by casperskitty at 6:53 PM on Feb. 18, 2009

  • Thanks casperkitty the deals on ephotdiscounters sound great!

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:07 PM on Feb. 18, 2009

  • bump


    Answer by Anonymous at 1:12 AM on Feb. 19, 2009

  • You are welcome. I haven't bought anything from ephotodiscounters. I decided I didn't wan't to have a studio in my home. But they look good. The prices are nice, but not so good they worry me. It is worth a try. Good luck with getting your equipment and your family portrait studio.

    Answer by casperskitty at 10:06 PM on Feb. 19, 2009

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