Westcott Parabolic Umbrella, A Wedding on the Coast

This April I photographed the wedding of my friends Jennifer and Daniel Luke. Photos on the beach, a lowcountry boil and cervesas at the tiki bar, and an elegant ceremony on Hilton Head Island.



For many of the group portraits I used the new Westcott 7 foot Parabolic Umbrella. Why parabolic? A parabolic reflector gives you parallel rays of light from a spherical light source at its focal point (like, close to the center of the umbrella). What’s more, its very efficient compared to a softbox or regular umbrella. The quality of light is different of course, a little less diffuse, a little more direct. It approximates the sun on a clear day. Unlike a lot of other true parabolic reflectors on the market, the Westcott sets up quickly and packs down small. It’s even light enough for an assistant to hand-hold with a strobe head, which is nice because I don’t like to stay still.

Above: Shooting a group portrait with the Westcott Parabolic reflector and a Profoto 7b light, handheld by Brett May. Photo by Sharif Hassan.

Why, you may ask, is this a $100 parabolic as opposed to a $5,000 – $10,000 parabolic which you might find from Profoto or Broncolor? It’s not focusable. It’s somewhat shallower, so there is a tiny difference in light spill, less focusing range and a slight decrease in efficiency. I hardly believe that merits paying several magnitudes more. For the price of a Broncolor rental you can buy several Westcotts.


The Westcott is extremely well-built, elegant even. It comes with different reflective surfaces, I like the silver surface as it provides the most “parabolic” experience. Harder shadows, overall higher contrast light. Like the sun on the beach in Hilton Head.

You can see more of my wedding work as well as pricing information at www.weddingsbyandrew.com

This and much of the gear I use can be purchased at Showcase Camera

Visit Westcott online for more lighting equipment


beautiful! what a good looking couple.

posted by erin {a lowcountry wedding} on 11.28.11 at 11:52 am

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