Difference Between Umbrella & Softbox


When it comes to using light modifiers for indoor photography, two popular options are umbrellas and softboxes. While umbrellas are cheaper and easier to set up, softboxes offer more control over the lighting. In this article, we will discuss the differences between the two and the situations in which each may be preferred.


Umbrellas are a flexible and inexpensive option for light modifiers. They spread light uniformly, making them great for group portraits. There are two types of umbrellas: shoot through and reflective. Shoot through umbrellas are placed between the flash and the lens, providing better control over the light. Reflective umbrellas, on the other hand, are placed behind the flash and use the sharp light to reflect on the subject. While reflective umbrellas provide more light, they are harder to control. It is important to note that the size of the umbrella determines the softness of the light it reflects, so having umbrellas of varying sizes can be beneficial for different purposes.


If you require more control over the light, softboxes may be the better option. Softboxes emit a more defined light and are ideal for individual portraits. They offer directional lighting and can be easily controlled. For additional control, louvers can be used to fine-tune the amount of light. However, it is important to note that softboxes do result in some reduction in light, while umbrellas have virtually no reduction in light. Despite the reduction in light, photographers agree that the light emitted from a softbox is softer compared to that of an umbrella.

In summary, umbrellas are a more affordable and portable option that provide a quick solution for adding more light to the subject. Softboxes, on the other hand, offer more control and produce a softer light. Depending on your specific requirements, you may choose to use one or both of these light modifiers.

Key Takeaways

1) Umbrellas and softboxes are both commonly used light modifiers in photography studios, but they have different features and can be used for different lighting requirements.
2) Umbrellas are cheaper and easier to set up than softboxes, making them more portable and flexible. They spread light uniformly, making them great for group portraits.
3) Softboxes offer more control over light and provide a more defined light output, making them better for individual portraits. However, they reduce the amount of light more than umbrellas do.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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