One of the absolutely most underrated light modifiers is the Umbrella Reflector. Typically used to hold an umbrella in place and provide more stability when attached to a monolight, they can also take the light output from strobes and monolights, give it a specific conical direction and soften it. For many years, however, these flash modifiers were limited to monolights and hot shoe flashes couldn’t really enjoy the benefits. But for what it’s worth, many hot shoe flashes have been designed with radio transmission as of late and were primarily intended for off-camera use.
Using a bit of tinkering at home combined with some inspiration from a beauty dish hack I did along with the Impact Strobos, I created an umbrella reflector that works well with a hot shoe flash.
What You Need
– A Paul C Buff Umbrella Reflector (That’s just my favorite, but you can use any that you’d like)
– Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible (Diffusion dome is optional)
– A Hot Shoe Flash (Flashpoint Zoom Li-Ion flash, Phottix Mitros + and others are more than good enough)
Start by placing the umbrella reflector front face down on a hard surface. You’ll need it for the next step.
Take the Gary Fong Lightsphere and fold it in half. Place the large diffusion end through the butt end of the umbrella reflector.
Unfold the Lightsphere and adjust it accordingly to flatten it out. Make sure that there is a bit of extra room so that you can place a diffusion dome if you’d like.
Grabbing the butt end of the Lightsphere, place a flash head into the Lightsphere/Umbrella reflector combo. Then pull out the wide angle diffuser from the flash head and push the bounce card back in. At this point, if you wish to place the diffusion dome on top of the opening, then do so.
Now you’re ready to shoot.
Just like many monolights with an umbrella reflector, you just need to really figure out the exposure. If you’re shooting TTL, then you’ve pretty much got nothing to worry about. But if you’re shooting in manual mode, then it’s a different story.
So how do the results look? See the image below.
When the right settings are tuned in, the flash can give off just the right amount of light. and still add extra pop.