(Nancy Kaufman) #1



  • Add a little pizzazz to
    your portraits by
    introducing some
    creative props.


  • Four hours

Skill level

  • Intermediate

Kit needed

  • Rainbow umbrella

  • Lace parasol

  • Clear umbrella

  • String of LED lights

  • 50mm & 70-200mm
    lenses, or similar

April showers

Mike Harris uses a bunch of budget umbrellas to

capture a series of creative and exciting fashion portraits

There’s something magical about
umbrellas. The one belonging to
Harry Potter fan favourite Hagrid
doubles as a wand, Mary
Poppins’ talking parrot umbrella
is her chosen form of transport
and Gene Kelly’s brolly in Singin’
in the Rain stars in one of the
most famous dance routines
in Hollywood history...
It’s not surprising, then,
that umbrellas make great
photography props, too. In
this tutorial, we’ve used four
umbrellas to produce four very

different portraits. The image
opposite was inspired by P. L.
Tr ave r s’ Mary Poppins and
features a classic black umbrella.
We created the convincing flying
effect by using a stepladder and
Adobe Photoshop (and a
generous helping of magic).
The bokeh-filled image on page
48 was created by taping a string
of battery-powered LED lights to
a clear brolly. A very wide
aperture was then used to create
the super-shallow depth of field.
For our next shoot we used a

rainbow umbrella, which our
model spun as we took the shot.
The slow shutter-speed blended
the colours together to produce
a vibrant background.
Our final example features a
lace parasol. Held in direct
sunlight, it shrouded our model
in patterns of shadow, courtesy
of the lace material’s intricate
design. We spent less than £40
on all our props combined, so
grab a few brollies and get
shooting your own creative
portraits, spit spot!


Project^ two:^ Creative^ techni



A ‘nifty fifty’ is suitable
for every project. Our
Nikon 50mm f/1.8G’s
fast aperture was
particularly useful when
trying to capture bokeh.

A tripod and
stepladder were
used to create
our flying
umbrella image.

We spent less than £40
on our props, which
included four umbrellas,
a string of LED lights and
a pair of fake glasses.
Free download pdf