I’m all about simplicity when it comes to my lighting setups. The less equipment I have to bring with me to shoot the better. I use one light as much as possible, which means that I also only tend to carry one modifier. I don’t like bulk; I like to travel light (if you’ll pardon the pun).
In my mind, the LumoPro 3-in-1 43″ Compact Umbrella offers more value and flexibility than most other modifiers. If I’m shooting with available light only, I’d probably go with a 5-in-1 reflector. But for shooting with off-camera lighting, the LP735 is a great solo modifier.
The “3” in “3-in-1” refers to the white shoot through, white bounce, and silver bounce capabilities of the LP735. It’s packaged with the white bounce capabilities, but with a simple twist of the top cap, you can flip the cover inside out and fit it on the inside of the umbrella for silver bounce, or remove the cover completely and shoot through for a wide dispersion of light.
I took the LumoPro LP605S 7.5′ Compact Light Stand with an umbrella swivel, a LumoPro LP180 Quad-Sync Manual Flash, a PocketWizard Plus X and PocketWizard Plus III, and the umbrella outside and asked one of our MPEX staffers to take some shots with each of the umbrella’s materials.
First up was the silver bounce. Bouncing light off umbrellas is a good way to give your light direction, as opposed to shooting through umbrellas, which disperses your light more evenly (as you will see below). You’ll notice the silver bounce gives off a “hotter” light, meaning the highlights are more overexposed, creating an image with more contrast.
While both bounces give your light more direction, the white bounce is clearly not as “hot” in the highlights (check out my left side in each image for a good comparison of the highlights). There is still a nice shadow on the right side of my face due to the bounce’s directionality, but the white bounce gives you what I’d consider a more “natural” look, as opposed to the “stylized” look of the silver bounce.
Last is the white shoot through. You’ll notice that the highlights turn out pretty similarly in both the white bounce and white shoot through, but the light is much softer with the white shoot through since the light particles going through the umbrella are much more evenly and widely dispersed. You could shoot through a white umbrella if you were trying to replicate a natural sunlight look in an indoor portrait, for example.
The three versions of the LumoPro LP735–silver bounce, white bounce, and white shoot through–give you a variety of options with just one modifier. This way you can try several iterations of the same image to find what type of light best suits your particular subject while you’re on a shoot. Or you can pick your favorite one and have a really well-built, portable modifier for just $29.99.