5 Best Photography Umbrellas in 2023: Complete Guide

By Tati Taylor 11 days ago, Photo Accessories

Photo umbrellas to emulate outdoor lighting.

top photography umbrellas

Today, the market is replete with different types of photography umbrellas for virtually any shooting scenario. Photographers use such portable and budget-friendly tools for manipulating lighting in accordance with the desired result.

Such element of a studio lighting kit can be paired with any type of lighting be it sunlight, strobes, external speedlight, moonlights, etc.

Top 5 Photography Umbrellas to Buy

  1. Godox UB-165W - Different color options
  2. Westcott Optical Umbrella - Can withstand rain and wind
  3. Fotodiox Studio Umbrella - For proper white balance
  4. Glow EZ - Unique wing-like shape
  5. CowboyStudio Umbrella - Available in different sizes

A good photography umbrella is long-lasting yet lightweight. Currently, you can find umbrellas of all imaginable sizes and colors.

Besides, manufacturers make umbrellas for different purposes, including light reflection and diffusing, studio and outdoor photo sessions, and more. The prices for this equipment vary from $10 to $100.

1. Godox UB-165W

Different color options
godox photography umbrella

Diameter: 65 inches | Depth: 24 inches | Item weight: 4.09 pounds

  • ✚ Parabolic reflector
  • ✚ Small size & weight
  • ✚ A durable storage bag in the kit
  • ✚ Beautiful soft light
  • May shut accidentally

This is a modern parabolic umbrella from Godox. This light modifier stands out with a deep design, sharp fallout, and soft look. Similar to a standard flash diffuser, you can easily move light in both directions in order to achieve a particular light output.

godox photography umbrella lifestyle

You can purchase this photo umbrella with a white or silver inner covering. If you opt for a white interior, you will get a softer look and a better rendition of a neutral color.

There is also a B&W version which is worth buying if you want to have precise control over light distribution across the scene.

2. Westcott Optical Umbrella

Can withstand rain and wind
westcott photography umbrella

Diameter: 45 inches | Depth: 24 inches | Item weight: 11.2 ounces

  • ✚ Detachable black cover
  • ✚ Adjustable fiberglass ribs
  • ✚ Soft and crisp output
  • ✚ Portable and durable design
  • Not collapsible construction
  • Metal points are very sharp

If you are looking for a photography umbrella designed with portrait shooting in mind, this beauty from Westcott will fit the bill. It perfectly bounces light back on the subject, thus, keeping the rest of the frame less bright.

Besides, you can make adjustments so that this umbrella will spill the light evenly across large surfaces.

westcott photography umbrella lifestyle

If you like taking photos with a camera flash and strobe, you should definitely try out this umbrella. It has a specific hole for quick attachment of another photo gear.

In scarcely lit places, you can also use speedlights by mounting them with the help of brackets. Therefore, you will obtain better exposure. 

3. Fotodiox Studio Umbrella

For proper white balance
fotodiox photography umbrella

Diameter: 43 inches | Depth: 28 inches | Item weight: 10.4 ounces

  • ✚ Made of neutral nylon fabric
  • ✚ Durable construction
  • ✚ Simple light modifier
  • ✚ Can enhance ambient light
  • Cheap plastic bag
  • The central rod could be sturdier

This photo shoot umbrella has a diffusive 1-stop white nylon, which provides a bigger coverage area, low contrast, and significantly higher ambient light levels.

fotodiox photography umbrella lifestyle

It is a wonderful addition to a lighting kit if you practice studio photography most of the time.

Depending on the lighting system you pair it with, you can achieve different results – softer light, accurate reflection, or more defined shapes. The umbrella has various mountain brackets, so you can attach additional speedlights.

4. Glow EZ

Unique wing-like shape
glow photography umbrella

Diameter: 60 inches | Depth: 28 inches | Item weight: 3 pounds

  • ✚ Detachable silver lining
  • ✚ Amazing white/silver interior
  • ✚ Fiberglass ribs and rods
  • ✚ Can be used in vertical and horizontal planes
  • Too large for tiny studios
  • Price

The Glow EZ photo umbrella is a fantastic light modifier that works particularly great for event photography thanks to its size and shape. You can use it to diffuse and direct the flashlight to any desired position and achieve a soft result in all cases.

glow photography umbrella lifestyle

Thanks to the 2-layer fabric, it is very easy to modify the light source and get proper specular highlights. Besides, with this umbrella, you can accurately pinpoint minute details and obtain terrific indirect lighting.

The rods are well-designed and you won’t get into the frame no matter what angles you shoot at. Besides, they won’t cause reflections in metallic objects thanks to well-thought-out positioning.

5. CowboyStudio Umbrella

Available in different sizes
cowboystudio photography umbrella

Diameter: 43 inches | Depth: 24 inches | Item weight: 2.4 pounds

  • ✚ Very soft light transitions
  • ✚ Easy to assemble and store
  • ✚ Fiberglass rods
  • ✚ Cast aside unwanted light
  • Unreliable plastic tips
  • Poor-quality stitching

This is a black and silver photography umbrella that works particularly great for studio shooting but can be easily used in other locations as well. Thanks to a great variety of shapes and sizes, you can choose a model that meets your specific needs. The umbrella is very efficient at modifying artificial lighting.

cowboystudio photography umbrella lifestyle

The reflective side is silver and it has a nice brightening effect. This is a wonderful option for photo sessions that take place in dim places. Besides, since it can function as a reflector board, you can use it for both indoor and outdoor photoshoots.

godox photography umbrella model
Godox UB-165W
  • Parabolic reflector
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Has a sturdy storage bag
westcott photography umbrella model
Westcott Optical Umbrella
  • Removable black cover
  • Flexible fiberglass ribs
  • Soft but crisp output
fotodiox photography umbrella model
Fotodiox Studio Umbrella
  • Made with neutral nylon fabric
  • Heavy duty construction
  • Simple light modifier

How to Choose a Photography Umbrella?

Considering that there are different types of photography umbrellas available on the market, you should approach the buying process very attentively not to regret your choice in the future. First off, pay attention to size, color, construction, and price.

Classification. We can roughly divide photo umbrellas into 3 categories. Shoot-through umbrellas are usually white and are a perfect match for LED light for photography. Thus, the light will cover a whole surface of an umbrella and after that will hit walls and ceilings. The light will be reflected toward the subject.

photography umbrellas color

Reflective umbrellas have a black external side. This is done to stave off light escapement. The inner part is directed toward the subject and throws focused light on it.

Parabolic photo umbrellas resemble reflective ones but they have a rounder and deeper shape. One more difference is the availability of more fabric panels.

Size. Typically, photo umbrellas are 35″- 45″ large. If you are looking for a photo reflector that produces a focused beam of strobe light and is easy to transport, you should choose a solo model. Such umbrellas are usually smaller.

photography umbrellas type

However, for studio shooting, when it is necessary to light up large areas, it is better to pick bigger umbrellas.

Durability. For outdoor shooting, when wind, rain, and other natural phenomena come into play, it is highly recommended to choose photography umbrellas designed to withstand such external impact. For instance, you can buy models made of top-quality fabric and with stronger frames.


  • • What should I know about the distance between an umbrella and the light?

The main thing to keep in mind is that this distance impacts the reflection falling on your subject. The smaller the length is, the harder the light that hits a subject becomes. By increasing the distance, you can receive softer shadows and evenly distributed light.

  • • How much do I have to pay for a photography umbrella?

It is possible to find a good model for $22-$56. The price usually fluctuates depending on the contents of the kit. In fact, it is possible to purchase 1-2 photo umbrellas for less than 30 dollars.

However, for professional photography, it is better to invest in a complete lighting package, which includes photo umbrellas, light stands, photo light bulbs, bulb sockets, and more. Such bundles cost $30-$60.