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Thread: Gary Fong vs Umbrella

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    Default Gary Fong vs Umbrella

    I have been shooting outdoor portraits and have been using a Gary Fong off camera. It seems to get the job done but most often I see photographers using Umbrellas. I fear those as I have busted a couple of flash triggers when the light stand tipped over and I am not even using an umbrella. Luckily I haven't busted a flash. But is there any reason I would need an umbrella? If any of you have used both please let me know if and why an umbrella would be a good choice over the Gary Fong.


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    Default Re: Gary Fong vs Umbrella

    I have the Gary Fong diffuser, but I only use it when shooting inside where I have a light colored ceiling to bounce the light off of.

    For outdoor portraits I usually use a beauty dish. I have even had the beauty dish blow over in a strong wind when it was mounted on a light stand. However, I now use the beauty dish attached to a cart which also us used for carrying all my camera and lighting equipment. I have posted this photo before, but it may be worth posting again. The cart only cost me about $20, and it folds up flat so it fits in the trunk of my car.

    You can see a photo of the cart here: http://www.lawrence-nv.us/4-3/cart.jpg For some reason I can not upload the image to this post.

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmonaut View Post
    I have been shooting outdoor portraits and have been using a Gary Fong off camera. It seems to get the job done but most often I see photographers using Umbrellas. I fear those as I have busted a couple of flash triggers when the light stand tipped over and I am not even using an umbrella. Luckily I haven't busted a flash. But is there any reason I would need an umbrella? If any of you have used both please let me know if and why an umbrella would be a good choice over the Gary Fong.
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    Lawrence

    All of the images I post are open for critique. Feel free to modify one of my images if it helps the critique.

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    Default Re: Gary Fong vs Umbrella

    That's a cool idea.


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    Default Re: Gary Fong vs Umbrella

    Why not shoot bare bulb? I would be interested in hearing from people who have done bare bulb, beauty dish and Gary Fong devices.
    Pros and Cons?

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    Default Re: Gary Fong vs Umbrella

    There are some simple concepts about lighting - one of which is that the bigger the light source and the closer you get it to your subject, the softer your shadow areas will be (more accurately the transition area from light to shadow). Shooting your flash into an umbrella creates a much larger and diffused light source, which will in turn provide more wrap around your subject and softer transitions from shadow to light areas. The Fong thingie is better than bare flash, but it is still a pretty small light source.

    Umbrellas are pretty cheap, but they will catch the wind. Get some sandbags and/or an assistant. You might also consider a "brolly box", sort of a combination of an umbrella and a softbox. They can be had pretty cheap (Amazon.com: CowboyStudio 33" Black White Reflective Photo Studio Brolly Box: Camera & Photo). In some cases, I prefer them over an umbrella. One of the downsides to an umbrella (you'll have the same issue with your Fong thingie) is that there is not much control over where the rest of your light goes (the light "spill") that isn't going on your subject. The brolly box will help a little with this. They do make beauty dishes for speedlights, but they can be pretty spendy.

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