A softbox is a very common tool used by photographers and videographers alike. It will help soften and diffuse the light for any type of project. Softboxes were designed to mimic the natural light from a window. Softboxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so it may be hard to know which one to choose to suit your needs. Below we will go over how the shape of the soft box will effect your lighting.
A continuous lighting 5-Socket Softbox with two layers of diffusion panels.
When choosing a Fovitec StudioPRO softbox shape, keep in mind the following:
Reflections or catch lights:
reflective objects will reflect back the shape of your light source, including a person's eyes. Use this to your advantage when shooting.
The most versatile softbox shape. It has wide application in product photography and portrait photography. These softboxes were designed to mimic window light, specifically.
A skinny and long version of the rectangular softbox. This strip box narrows the shape of the light, making it ideal for casting rim or hair light on a subject without affecting other parts of the image.
An eight sided softbox, similar to an umbrella. It will give a very soft rounded and natural looking light that is great for portraits. Designed to mimic a more natural light source shape, such as the sun.
A grid will help control the light beam more rather than spreading it in a ray like a regular softbox would.
A shorter more condensed light than a rectangle. Good for table top photography and smaller spaces. The quality of light can be controlled in two ways: by the size and type of light modifier you choose and by the distance between your subject and the light source (Earnest, 31).
The general rule is that the light source should be relative to the size of the subject you want to light. For example, think about a behind-the-scenes from a magazine shoot, photographers are using five foot or larger softboxes to light the model evenly from head to toe.
A book that I, your Fovitec Pro Photo Blogger, have found very helpful is Lighting For Product Photography by Allison Earnest. This book is very helpful not just for product photography, but also for gaining a better grasp of how to sculpt and control light.
Great tips for how to use your lights and softboxes properly.
Images 2 and 3 courtesy of Earnest, Allison. Lighting for Product Photography: Step-by-step Guide to Sculpting with Light. Buffalo, NY: Amherst Media, 2013. Print.