Planning on shooting some off camera flash photos? Here's a decent kit to diffuse that lighting for portraits or product photography. If you hate setting up and breaking down softboxes (like I do), then these umbrella/softbox hybrid light modifiers work great. Often referred to as Brolly Boxes, the shoot through diffusers pack up small, set up quick, and provide nice soft even lighting on your subject. Yes, you could do the same shooting through a normal umbrella, but if you don't block the light being reflected backwards, you'll get quite a different look than how softboxes perform. Two Brolly Boxes, two Stands, two Flash Brackets, and a bag completes the kit.
Strobist: Canon 5D Mark II + Canon 24-105mm IS F/6.3, 1/125th, ISO 200, Single 580 EX II (set to manual mode) Shot through White Umbrella - Camera Left. No HSS, triggered with ST-E2, Exposure Controlled by Fader ND filter.
My neighbor often sees me running around the front of my house chasing my kids around with my camera. He asked if I can take a few snaps of his daughter. I don't think he really knew quite my investment and experience in photography. It was about 12 noon on a super duper bright sunny day. In order to expose for the sky without maxing out my shutter speed and keeping some DOF, I threw on the Fader Filter ND. It was important for me to keep my shutter down under 1/250ths of a second. Forgive some of the shots, this is her first time in front of a camera, and she's only 13. We started in the studio (my living room), to get her a bit comfortable, then took it outdoors. I think she might have been a bit intimidated by all the equipment and assistants I had with me also.
Why not use High Speed Sync?
With a single 580 EX II, shooting through an umbrella, I wanted to use the maximum power output of my 1 flash. When going into HSS mode, the flash needs to pulse which reduces the power output. So by keeping my shutter speed to normal sync speed, I was able to use the full burst power. In actuality I only needed between 1/8th and 1/4 power. Staying at fractions of full power allows me to have super fast recycle times too.
Threw my subject into a shaded area to balance lighting, under exposed the sky using a Fader ND, and then filled my subject with a single 580 EX II off camera, shot through a White Umbrella, triggered by a Canon ST-E2. Very simple, portable, cheap, yet effective way to get quality fill flash outdoors. This method allows you to use any flash since the sync speed is below HSS needs. Too bad I didn't have someone shooting some BTS video, this would have been a great tutorial to share.