Using an Umbrella … As an Umbrella

Sep 4th, 2013

My most recent job was a garden wedding ceremony with a open fronted marquee.


And I wanted to experiment with getting some nice reverse angle photos of the couple as the ceremony took place and I set up my second camera with a remote release.

However, it was raining quite badly. So I was stuck. I didn’t have enough space to put the camera in the marquee without it being very intrusive, and I didn’t fancy leaving my camera at the mercy of the elements for 40 mins whilst the ceremony took place.

But then I remembered I’d packed my umbrella – not a regular umbrella that normal, sensible people use but a reflector/shoot-through convertible umbrella and accompanying light stand with hotshoe with umbrella attachment. (The world of flash modifiers and lighting is a pretty strange one, even for photographers, with lots of exotic, expensive and ridiculous accessories which can have very little discernible effect or make you look like some deity-like alchemist of light, depending on who you chose to believe or how you nail your own colours to the mast). I normally use this in event shoots or on location for controlled shoots (like my street shoot for HOPE earlier this year) as a light softner and for side lighting, and I thought I might use it in the park shots – but here was a much more practical use.

Using an Umbrella as an Umbrella - shocking!

Using an Umbrella as an Umbrella – shocking!

I’m glad to say it did it’s job – that is, in keeping my kit dry – it was relatively unobtrusive (I positioned it high enough to be more or less out of vision of most of the guests) and didn’t blow away. Who’d have thought that a photographic reflector umbrella could actually make an effective real one?

I did take a few other pictures as well – below are a few of my favourites.

(Umbrella: PhotoSEL UM243 109cm Satin White Studio Umbrella with Black Removable Backing. Lightstand: Cotswoldphoto 5 Section CLS65 Compact Flash Light Stand + Metal Umbrella/Flash Mount Adapter. Both via eBay)