Big Beautiful Light for $99.90! – Westcott Parabolic Umbrellas


I'm a fan of big beautiful soft light for the beauty and fashion stuff that I shoot. As you might imagine I have a collection of large softboxes. While I love them and use them all the time, sometimes I need something that's large and more portable. Nothing is more portable than and travels as easily as an umbrella. Heck you can even carry an umbrella on a plane (as of today TSA has not banned them). Not long ago FJ Westcott introduced 3 NEW 7 FOOT Parabolic Umbrellas. You can get either a white one with a black cover, silver one with a black cover or white diffused shoot through one. It's a tough choice to make as I like all three for different situations. However, for starters I went with the white diffused one. Since it's a standard umbrella it should fit in any light setup/stand that you have that has an umbrella hole. In my case I used the Spiderlite TD6, which has an umbrella hole right on the included tilt bracket. Unlike the 1st two, you actually aim the light source into the umbrella and the light is diffused out from the other side. With the white and silver models you're bouncing your light source into the umbrella and back out the same way.

The bigger the light source and the closer to your subject, the softer it will be. 7 feet/6 feet curved is pretty big as you can see above in the production shot. The Spiderlites are already pretty soft and shooting though this umbrella makes them even more natural and soft. 

The umbrellas come with a carrying case to store them and make it even easier to travel with. You can use what ever lights you want with them. Like I said above, i used mine with a Spiderlite TD6 to produce the shot below. 

ISO 200, 85mm, f/1.4, 1/80 sec shot with my Nikon D700.

Model: Liz Hoang, Makeup/Hair: Joey Killmeyer


You can get the Parabolic Umbrellas here:

White with Black Cover – $99.90 Amazon or $99.90 B&H

Silver with Black Cover – $99.90 Amazon or $99.90 B&H

White Diffused (the one I used above) – $99.90 Amazon or $96.48 B&H

Spiderlite TD6

Review: F.J. Westcott Spiderlite TD6

There is no easier lighting setup to use than the Westcott Spiderlite TD5's. While these lights are great, everyone that uses them says the same thing. "I wish they were brighter." In other words we all wish they output a little more light. Westcott has answered our wishes with the new Spiderlite TD6's. Instead of 5 daylight balanced fluorescent bulbs you not get to use 6. This means 1200W of output instead of 900W of output on the TD5s and that makes all the difference in the world. In fact for everything but their giant softbox, a 6 foot shallow rectangle softbox <-this softbox is amazing though, I can now shoot at 200 ISO as opposed to 400 ISO.

It's more than just an extra bulb

They also made some additional and welcomed improvements. The switches on the back and now more high quality and professional looking. They also added a much needed cord switch to turn the entire unit on/off without having to climb up on a ladder when you have the lights mounted high. Speaking of the cord it's longer too. Basically the TD6 is improves over the TD5 in just about every way possible.


The Bottom Line

Although I love my strobes, I'm still amazed by the results I get with the continuous lighting the Spiderlites. Life will only be better with the enhancements on the TD6's. They don't get hot and are great to use in workshops/classes where you will have multiple shooters. If you're doing product photography they rock for that too! Thanks Westcott!

You can get a single Spiderlite TD6 here for about $420. My recommendation is that if you have Spiderlites already, then perhaps one TD6 to replace your main TD5. Otherwise, I would recommend this kit if you're starting out. I use a setup like this one for most of the portrait work I do!

My Westcott Top Pro Tour Event is Thursday!

Westcott's 2010 Top Pro Tour is underway!  My tour stop will be this Thursday in Southfield Michigan on October 7th and I'm looking forward to seeing you this week. 

I'm looking forward to showing you my end to end studio photography workflow. See how I use the Spiderlite TD5, tips on working with models and lastly my Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 workflows including retouching, web gallery creation and delivery of the final images.

Save $20 when you register with code TPT9195. Register here

Continue reading “My Westcott Top Pro Tour Event is Thursday!”

It’s All About The Light!

As a photographer I certainly value having a set of GREAT DSLR bodies and a wide range of lenses to choose from. However, the question always comes up, "do I have to have a top of the line camera to get a great shot?" Any photographer will tell you NO! It's about having an "eye", a great subject and GREAT LIGHTING! So after seeing a video over at the FStoppers site, I wanted to put this theory to the test. Here's my video shot using the Westscott Spiderlite TD5s and the end results may surprise you! Although I start off the shoot with my Nikon D700 and 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens, I finish it with my iPhone 4.



See more about Westcott's lighting products by joining me on the Top Pro Tour.


G-Design iPhone 4 Tripod Holder

Join Me on the Westcott Top Pro Tour

Westcott just announced their Top Pro Tour! This is your chance to join me and my fellow Westcott Top Pro Photographers as we teach our favorite lighting setup and various digital photography workflows around the country. My tour stop will be in Michigan on October 7th and while that's still a couple of months off, I didn't want you to miss the other cities that may be closer to you. The tour officially kicks off on September 12th and runs through November 17th.


This is your chance to see, touch and learn various lighting setups from some of the nation's best photographers.

You can find out more details here.