Many people who don’t know what to do with their umbrella in the off-season need to use it as a gardening tool or have some fun with it. You can leave them open outside if you’re lucky enough to have one that stands up by itself. Apart from these, there are several other uses of an umbrella.
Uses of an Umbrella
1. Use as a Tripod
One of the best ways to use an umbrella is converting it into an indoor tripod for your camera. You can rest your camera on the fabric part of the umbrella, which will act as a tripod, to take some pictures.
2. Use it as a Stool
If you can stand on an umbrella comfortably, it can be used as a stool for your chair at home or outdoors. An alternative is to make some adjustments to the pegs to be closer to each other and stand higher on an umbrella stand. This may be awkward, but it will work.
3. Use as a Lens Shade
This is probably the most pleasant way to spend your off-season. You can make a lens shade with an umbrella to use the camera accordingly. You will also prevent the harsh sunlight from entering the lens when taking pictures during daylight hours.
4. Use as a Reflector for Your Camera’s Flash
If you don’t have an external flash or reflector, you can use an umbrella to bounce some light towards the camera to get better-quality pictures in low-light conditions. Also, you can use it as a flash reflector for your self-timer.
5. Use as a Dust Shroud
You can place your camera in an open inverted umbrella to prevent dust from entering its lens. You have to be careful that it doesn’t get dirty when you’re doing this. This is a good way to prevent dust from sticking to your lens and ruining your pictures.
6. Use as a Lens Cap
You can also use an umbrella as a lens cap when you’re not using your camera. Just slip it on your camera lens, and you’re all set. Photography forums often recommend this because they’re lightweight and won’t cause any damage to your camera’s internal mechanism or any external damages.
How to Maintain an Umbrella in an Off-Season
1. Keep it Dry
First of all, make sure that your umbrella is dry before putting it back to use. Otherwise, the fabric won’t stick to the frame and will flutter in the wind, which can cause damage to your camera or your lens.
2. Use a Cloth Patch Kit
To prevent fraying from occurring, you can use a cloth patch kit. If you’re unable to find one, you can use a simple needle and some thread from home. You can also replace the frayed fabric with a new one from your local craft store.
3. Use a Spray
You can also use a water-based spray to fix any existing stains or discolorations. You can use this spray to prevent dust from appearing on the fabric, but ensure that you’re not soaking it for too long.
4. Allow It to Dry Completely
After you’ve used your umbrella, you must allow it to dry completely before storing it in an off-season. This will help the cloth to stay intact throughout the season.
5. Clean It Properly
You must take care of your umbrella so that it remains clean throughout the season. Once you’ve finished using it, clean up the dirt and dust by wiping off the dust on the fabric with a dry cloth. Then, wash it with cold water to keep it clean. You should also use gentle soap and an anti-static spray if needed. After washing, pat dry your umbrella immediately to prevent fraying or wrinkling.
How to Clean an Umbrella?
Some umbrellas are not durable enough to stand the test of time and tend to break down. This makes it essential to clean your umbrella once in a while and store it properly. If you’re lucky, your umbrella will last for years, and if it doesn’t, you can still use it as a garden tool or store it in the garage to dry out.
1. Clean the Frame
You should start by removing the fabric that surrounds the frame of your umbrella. You have to soak this fabric in warm water for a few minutes before cleaning it thoroughly. Then, use a dry cloth to remove any dirt or stains from the frame.
2. Clean the Fabric
You’ll have to clean all dirt, dust, or grime from the fabric part if you want your umbrella to last for longer periods. You can soak it in hot water to soften the fabric and then use a cloth to wipe off any dirt or dust.
3. Clean the Cord & Handle
To clean the cord and the handle, you have to remove them from your umbrella and use a dry cloth or an anti-static spray to remove any dirt or grime from them. Also, you can use a detergent solution with hot water to clean any soap residue. Don’t use a soft-bristled brush to wash your umbrella.
4. Spray with Deodorizer
Lastly, you can spray leather treats or a fabric protector on your umbrella to prevent it from getting dirty. You can do this after you’ve cleaned the fabric part of your umbrella.
If you’re a photographer who plans to use an umbrella in the off-season, it certainly pays to be aware of these uses. Once you start using it, you’ll realize how useful your umbrella is, and you’ll want to keep it with you at all times. This list of uses is quite long and can help you decide which umbrella to buy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is it safe to use an umbrella as a camera lens shade?
A. An umbrella can serve as a lens shade depending on its size and construction. As long as you’re using full-sized travel or beach umbrella, you can use it as a lens shade to protect your camera from sunlight or other damaging elements. Just make sure that you don’t put too much pressure on the fabric to fray, tear, or crack.
Q. What should I do with my dirty and damaged umbrellas?
A. You should wash your umbrella thoroughly by putting it in a bathtub filled with water and using a brush to scrub off any dirt or stains. Then, you can air dry it for 24 hours before storing it.