Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

Softbox photography seeks incredible – but what is definitely a softbox? What does it present? And how can you use one to have stunning photos?

In this article, I share everything you should to know about softboxes, including:

  • Why softboxes are so great for photos
  • How to use an important softbox, even as a starter
  • Plenty of softbox lighting variations (with lighting diagrams)

In that possition, by the time you’re done looking at, you’ll be ready to capture softbox images like a pro.

Let’s accomplish this!

What is a softbox?

A softbox is a lighting fixtures modifier the fact that mounts over a flash as well as studio strobe , and it diffuses, directs, and more evenly distributes the light.

Softboxes seem like this, though you can purchase softboxes in plenty of other (larger and smaller) sizes:

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

Also note that softboxes come in wider (e. g., square) and less wide (e. g., strip) types, though this article mostly specializes in the standard 4: 3 version.

Softboxes are equally boxes covered with diffusion fabric . They’re often fitted with silvery material on the inside to help jump the light around and ensure that spreads evenly through the durchmischung fabric at the front.

When light passes by a flash or studio strobe into the softbox, the eindringen in eine substanz fabric effectively becomes your light source; in essence, the light supply becomes bigger, which alters the lightweight quality from hard to fluffy (hence the “softbox” name).

Why are softboxes so good to receive photography?

Web site emphasized in the previous section, softboxes create soft light.

And, generally speaking, considerably softer light is flattering, despite the fact that harder light is not . Very hard light features intense shadows and high-contrast effects, and even though there is a time and a place for difficult light, most subjects search far better when illuminated simply by beautiful, soft, softbox brightness.

This is true to gain products , it’s true for flat lays , and it’s especially true for anyone, which is why softboxes are really popular among face photographers .

Of course , a softbox isn’t the lone method of treatment the light – you can use umbrellas , octaboxes , beauty dishes , and so much more – but it is equipped with an few key advantages, for beginners.

First, softboxes create a spectacular soft effect right out of the box, one that looks ideal on pretty much any individual. Softboxes are also easy to handle; yes, the light is soft , but it really doesn’t go everywhere, contrary to lighting modified by a particular umbrella.

Softboxes are also reasonably sized together with – this is a big definitely one! – reasonably priced. You can capture a nice softbox for under 50 bucks, especially if you don’t need it that they are huge and/or portable.

At the end of the day, softboxes may very well be insanely easy to use, which is why I would recommend them to beginners – although they’re also powerful, together with nuanced, and capable of generating pro-level images, which is why they are also great for professionals.

And as I investigate below, careful setups featuring softbox or two will create magnificent, soft light that accommodates just about any subject you can think of.

How to use a softbox: the basics

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

Getting started with softbox photography skilled assistance. In addition to a camera and webpage, here’s what you’ll want:

  • Your softbox
  • A flash or studio strobe (on a lighting stand)
  • A complementary backdrop

You can capture softbox pics of most studio subjects; when i reference portraiture in the causing discussion, the principles are similar as well as identical for products and still life scenes.

Start by mounting your softbox to your light source. Make sure the source of light – whether a flash or maybe a studio strobe – might be mounted to a sturdy lighting fixtures stand.

Then position the light close to your subject (which need to in turn be positioned some feet in front of the backdrop). I would recommend you start with a 45 degree angle, which will create a positive sidelit effect without incorporating too much contrast and drama (though feel free to tests by moving the light reference back and forth in front of the subject).

Note that the distance amongst the softbox and the subject is important. The greater the distance, the particular harder the light will become, even while a close softbox will boost the soft effect. Of course , altering the softbox distance can even affect the size of the illuminated area (e. g., a detailed softbox may only light a person’s head and shoulders, although a distant softbox will probably cover a whole group).

My guidance? Start by placing the subject a handful of feet from your subject; that way, you’ll get a soft result and plenty of illumination.

Next, turn on the light and choose a capacity setting. Picking randomly is undoubtedly okay.

In which turn on your camera, make up a shot, and adjust your camera settings. I’d advise using your camera’s native ISO (usually ISO 100), a narrow écaillage (such as f/8), and your camera’s flash sync swiftness (often 1/200s or so).

Finally, take a test shot, then review the results on the back of your digital camera. If you can, check the camera’s histogram (and once you get interested in studio portrait photography, I actually highly recommend camera tethering).

If your exposure seems to be great, then you’re good to go; you can have some softbox pleasurable! However , if your exposure might be not perfect – survive often the case – you’ll have to adjust your lighting power up or down to compensate for just about any issues. Then take some other test shot, review end result, and so on, until you get a perfect exposure.

Together with that’s it! That’s typically the softbox photography basics. Whenever you can set up consistently beneficial exposures and you know how to acquire a decent look with a softbox, you can start adjusting your lighting position, you can add a reflector, and you can even add additional softbox-modified lights. With softbox photography, the sky is definitely the limit!

6 softbox lighting examples we’ve looked at to elevate your images

Have you mastered the softbox basics? Are you looking to use softbox lighting like a pro?

In this section, We share six of the most popular softbox lighting setups (with both diagrams and case images so you know exactly what to expect). I highly suggest you practice each light setup until you can do it smoothly and effectively – in that case start making subtle improvements to achieve additional unique seems.

Note that a few of these setups do use a 5-in-1 reflector , but you can always make one example of these yourself using a piece of white colored poster board.

1 . Frontal loop lighting products

To get a complementing, three-dimensional image, position typically the softbox a foot or maybe more in front of your subject, later move it slightly aside:

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

(You don’t have a whitened backdrop, though it often make a difference look nice! )

The offset light will create soft, subtle shadows on the subject’s face, adding a bit of drama and depth. Nonetheless because the shadows are want to small and subdued, this is a good softbox setup for family image and other standard portrait appointments.

Note that your subject’s nose shadow ought to fall slightly down also to the side, creating a “loop” (hence the pattern’s name, loop lighting ). Here are a few example loop-lit images:

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

2 . 45-degree loop lumination

For this softbox lighting setup, the target is to create a more impressive loop-lighting effect. Instead of placement the softbox in front of your own personal subject, you’ll want to act it about 45 levels to the side (just as I talked about in the softbox basics area, above). Then elevate the exact softbox slightly, so it has pointing slightly downward, and maintain it close to the subject’s skin:

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

In this way a softly lit face with more shadows on the face. Realize how the loop shadow underneath the nose is still present:

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

One ultimate note: As you can see in the lamps diagram, I moved this issue away from the backdrop, which caused the light to fade directly into darkness.

or perhaps. Loop lighting with a dish

This put in place is almost the same as the previous system, except the softbox is regarded as slightly farther away and even there’s a white proyector at camera right:

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

Pushing often the softbox back a few arches will reduce the speed on the light falloff, so the shadows will dominate less. The particular reflector will also help reduce shadow presence.

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

4. Clamshell lighting

This is a classic glamour setup, and it works great with a medium-sized softbox.

Simply place your softbox directly opposite and above your target (it should be pointed downward at 45 degrees). Afterward place a reflector in front of plus below your subject (it should be pointed upward at 45 degrees). The two products should form a clamshell shape, which is why this technique is often referred to as “ clamshell lighting . ”

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

In this way a flattering, well-lit portrait setup that’s perfect for fashion and glamour photography:

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

5. Soft sidelighting

There are another easy softbox taking pictures setup – one that guarantees a moody, shadowy chance:

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

Place the softbox off to the side of your respective subject (so that it may be sitting at 90 degrees fahrenheit in relation to the camera). Afterward ask your subject to change toward the light:

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

Have fun experimenting with different head turns!

6. Distant softbox

For each of the preceding examples, I suggested attempting to keep your softbox close on the subject. But if you’re after more intense lighting, you could try pulling back typically the softbox:

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

Be sure to pay attention to the transitions involving the shadow and highlight regions:

Softbox Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (+ 6 Lighting Setups)

Softbox photography: final words

Softboxes are amazing lighting modifiers – and since you now know, you can use some sort of softbox to create all sorts of beautiful images!

Which means that purchase a softbox, then beginning practicing. And have plenty of interesting along the way!

Today over to you:

What type of subjects might you shoot with a softbox? Which often of the softbox lighting setups did you like most? Write about your thoughts in the comments down the page!

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John McIntire

John McIntire

is a portrait photographer currently living in the UK. Your dog studied commercial photography which is always looking to improve. Undoubtedly a lighting nerd all the way through, John offers lighting courses and one-to-one tuition to be able to photographers of all skill levels in Yorkshire.

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