Why shoot THROUGH an umbrella?

We shoot through the main umbrella in a portrait for several reasons:

  1. The umbrella is now closer to the face, making it larger, making the light softer.
  2. You see a circle as a catchlight, not a circle with a black blob (the flash).

Look at this example – a small part of a recent porttrait, where the main light is a square softbox:

The secondary light (which really ought not to be in the image, ideally) is a reflected umbrella – with the black blob. A shoot-through umbrella would not do this.

Incidentally – focus on the eyes always, and do be sure there is always a catch light (yes, ideally, just one). That makes the eyes come alive: without a catch light, the person looks dull, hardly alive.



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