Swedish photographer Klara G says her assistants have nicknamed her the umbrella lady. Why? Because she loves working with umbrellas!
“There are several reasons why I love working with umbrellas,” says Klara. “The most important is, of course, the light they create. I’m very inspired by classic portrait paintings, and if you take a closer look at these, there is usually just as single angled light source. An umbrella is the perfect tool for recreating that effect – that natural yet slightly mystical light.
“I also love the catch light you get with an umbrella. You don’t get that square reflection you get with most softboxes. Instead, you get a beautiful, round reflection. The umbrella’s large, round shape is also great for creating a natural vignette around the subject, which is something I tend to do quite often.”
Apart from the artistic reasons, there are also practical reasons to why Klara prefers working with umbrellas.
“Umbrellas are very easy to work with. They are meant to fold, so they are obviously very easy to bring along and mount and dismount. They are also uncomplicated in terms of light shaping, which means that I can focus on the interaction with the person in front of the camera – their eyes, their facial expression.”
All the images in this article were shot with Klara’s favorite umbrella: the Profoto Umbrella Deep L, which is a quite large umbrella with a deeper shape.
“I think it’s the combination of size and shape that makes it so great,” she says. “It’s hard to describe, but the light embraces and wraps itself around the subject in a totally different way than any other umbrella I’ve worked with. The deeper shape also creates a more directed and easy-to-control light that allows me to achieve better results faster.”
The Profoto Umbrella Deep is available in two sizes (85cm/33” and 105cm/41”) and in three fabrics: white, silver and translucent. There is also an optional diffuser available for each size.
“I tend to choose the silver version when I want a slightly harder light and deeper shadows,” says Klara. “It’s also worth noting that you get a smaller catch light and darker backgrounds with the silver version, as the light doesn’t bounce around as much.
“The translucent version, on the other hand, creates a much softer light and a more even light spread. As a result, you get a more prominent catch light and a brighter background.”
“But the white version is probably my favorite, if I had to pick one. With this you get the best of the worlds. That being said, I think each version comes to its right in a different situation.”
On a final note, we asked Klara if she has any recommendation to photographers looking into getting their very first umbrella?
“Get the diffuser,” she says. “The diffuser practically transforms the Umbrella Deep into a large softbox. All of the sudden you have not one but two Light Shaping Tools – this at a very low cost and by taking up almost zero space. You can create so many different setups with these two tools that is almost baffling.”
Below are a couple of comparison images that Klara G shot with the Umbrella Deep L Silver, Umbrella Deep L Translucent and Umbrella Deep L White – with and without the optional diffuser attached. For the sake of comparison, the light source was placed in exactly the same place in all images.
You can see even more of her beautiful work at her website.
Read more about both the Umbrella Deep and Umbrella Shallow at our website.
Umbrella Deep L Silver
Umbrella Deep L Translucent
Umbrella Deep L White