Well, I didn’t really discover it. I’ve always admired Robing over at Roville for her meticulously crafted interiors and her mastery of clear, even lighting. So finally I asked her what her lighting techniques were. She reported that she used overhead light + 2 inexpensive studio umbrella lights. Clearly I need to acquire some of these, even though I have very little studio space. I’ve been putting up with crappy lighting for as long as I’ve had a camera, and I’m really sick of uneven, washy-outty, dim, supersaturated, etc., etc., etc. shots.
Here is a complete two-light set that’s relatively cheap. I’m considering its purchase.
This tutorial on portrait lighting gives tips on best positions for the umbrella lights.