This year I had the joy of packing my most lightweight camera bag ever for our trip to France, just my Fuji X100s (read my review here), a Nikon speedlight SB-800 and a sync cord. Plus one spare battery and the charger of course.
With my oldest son as model (his only demand was to have the truck included in the photos) I took some time one day to experiment with off-camera flash in front of a wooden wardrobe. The only problem was that I didn’t want the harsh light from a bare speedlight, and all my lighting modifiers were at home.
Lucky for me that we had two umbrellas attached to the twin stroller we transport our youngest in. The stroller umbrellas might not be classed as professional photographic equipment, but they had silver-y insides (I guess to block out the sun better) and could easily be held with a speedlight. Like a DIY Strobist for parents, in a way.
You might not use stroller umbrellas shooting professional portraits, but it is something very nice about just having to adjust the angle or distance to the subject a little bit and directly see the change in the portrait. But after a while you get tired of holding the camera in one hand and the umbrella/speedlight in the other.
Having an umbrella with you can be a good idea, especially in Sweden where it rains every now and then. It can be used as a prop and/or make the model happy that they stay dry.
Or you can do as I did many years back, stand really close to the person you are shooting and bounce the flash up into the umbrella, see below.
It might help if you find either white/semi-transparent umbrellas or a kind with silver coating on the inside. Doing this kind of lighting with a green umbrella might not be the best idea.
One day Profoto or some other company might produce umbrellas with built-in flash, but until then just having a neutral coloured one can be of great help.
I have just started working after eight month of paternity leave, and the next blog post will not contain any photos of my kids. Probably great portraits of authors instead.