Umbrella Vs. Softbox For Portraits

Softbox vs Umbrella OnSet ep. 204 Softbox, Umbrella, Profoto
Softbox vs Umbrella OnSet ep. 204 Softbox, Umbrella, Profoto from


Having the right lighting setup is a key component of making great portraits. Whether you’re shooting in a studio or in the great outdoors, you need to be able to control and shape the light to get the perfect shot. The two most common types of lighting modifiers used in portraiture are umbrellas and softboxes. Each of these offers unique advantages and disadvantages for portrait photography, so let’s take a look at how they compare.


Umbrellas are one of the most popular and affordable types of light modifiers available. They are easy to use and can be draped over just about any type of light source. Umbrellas come in many sizes and shapes, from small collapsible umbrellas that fit in your pocket to large studio umbrellas that are designed for professional photographers. The larger the umbrella, the more light it will be able to reflect and the softer the light will be.

Umbrellas are great for creating a soft and even light that is perfect for portraiture. They are also relatively inexpensive and easy to use, making them a great choice for beginners. However, umbrellas can be a bit tricky to control, as they tend to spill light in all directions. This can be both a blessing and a curse, as it can create some interesting lighting effects, but it can also make it difficult to control the light.


Softboxes are another popular type of light modifier used in portraiture. Unlike umbrellas, softboxes are designed to direct the light in a specific direction, allowing you to create a more controlled and precise lighting setup. Softboxes also tend to create a much smoother and more even light than umbrellas, making them ideal for portrait photography.

Softboxes are more expensive than umbrellas and require a bit more setup time. They are also not as portable, as they must be mounted on a light stand or tripod. However, the precise control over the light that they provide makes them a great choice for serious portrait photographers.


Umbrellas and softboxes are both great tools for controlling and shaping the light for portrait photography. Each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, so you’ll need to decide which one is best for your needs. Umbrellas are generally more affordable and easier to use, while softboxes offer more precise control over the light. Ultimately, the choice is up to you!

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