Umbrella frustration


Jan 28, 2015
Irving, Texas
Hi guys! I have been very partial to my 72" Westcott umbrellas because I get such wide coverage and real soft light. The problem has been breezes. I have destroyed 3 or 4 of these $100 umbrellas and I am wondering if maybe a big softbox would be more durable and less likely to topple. I do weigh down the stands real well, but umbrellas really catch the wind (read slightest breeze). Anyone having better luck with big soft boxes? I just don't have the resource of an assistant to hold things down very often. Just wondering if the soft boxes are more durable. I have a couple of small octagonal soft boxes, but fragility seems to increase with modifiers as they get bigger. Then again, maybe I am using the wrong kind of stand for outdoors? I use Manfrotto BAC-1004 master stands. Maybe there is something more stable for outdoors? C-stand, maybe?
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1D Mark IV
Jul 10, 2011
The other end of the lens
A C-Stand will benefit you but an umbrella that large used outdoors will act like a full fledged parachute and be tempted to collapse or be destroyed by a fall. You might look into a brolly instead but honestly, anything over 35" outdoors even with a C-Stand will at the very least require an assistant. Maybe look into a Westcott Halo.
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Don't forget to gargle private...
Nov 29, 2014
Santa Cruz, California
An Octa will be far more sturdy. C-Stands (Avenger $$$, Kupo $) are better but still prone to wind gusts... VAL'S will even complain if in the wind too much.

I'd suggest a beauty dish in the 22" or larger range... almost as soft a light when socked. Fold-able hybrid beauty dishes or solid. I have Mola's but any cheaper brands will work too. Foldable are easier to pack but also easier to break. The solid cheaper brands will deform much easier. Even a Kacey made of fiberglass gives a great throw. Much easier in the wind...

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
I had to resort to three 20L water bladders on the legs to keep it in place. Like you said, it is a sail. Even with the weight on a solid stand, mine still wobbles if there is any wind.

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
60 Liters of water to the location site (n)
It wasn't so bad.... they had running water :)

On the minus side, it was still shaking so much that I took it down.... I definitely needed a way more solid tripod and mount.....


Dec 13, 2010
Don’t push them so hard into the socket, if they catch wind they should just pop out, not drag the light to the ground, that’s why there usually aren’t any screws to tighten umbrellas.

You might have to run after them, but at least the umbrella and light doesn’t break against the ground.

Softboxes are a lot better.