Totes Skinni Mini
By Jim Quinn
Light modifiers are where you find them. Today I found one in my local Walgreens drug store.
My wife, who loves the idea of packing away small umbrellas “just in case,” spotted a display of Totes Skinni Mini umbrellas in a variety of colors. Only nine inches long when folded, they’re designed to tuck into a briefcase or raincoat pocket. They were selling for $11.49, with a second umbrella at half price, $5.74 – $17.23 for two, plus tax. That seemed fairly pricey; they were clearly flimsy, perhaps designed to be discarded after one use. I was ready to walk away.
But then I spotted the only white umbrella in the box. Well, let’s say it was White Plus – it also had red, green, yellow, and brown polka dots. I grabbed it, along with the dark blue one my wife selected.
Once I got home, I popped off the silver handle and found that the shaft fit into a standard umbrella adapter. The umbrella measured 35 inches wide when opened. I took a few test shots, using the Skinni Mini in shoot-through mode, and found that it worked as well as a standard photo umbrella. The colored spots had no obvious effect on the light quality.
I noticed, though, that the polka dot pattern was reflected in the lens of the antique camera I used as a model for my test, so the little umbrella isn’t the ideal light modifier for jobs with highly reflective surfaces. And, of course, you probably would not make a great impression if you pulled one of these out for your next portrait of a corporate CEO.
But if you need to diffuse the light from your flash for a quick portrait or a product photo, the Skinni Mini works well. And as an added bonus, you can haul it out of your camera bag the next time it rains.
PLEASE RATE THIS STORY! [ratings]