Understanding The Versatility of Softboxes for Photography
Posted on August 18 2016
Adaptable Soft Light
Most every professional photographer uses softboxes. But why? The answer is adaptability. There is no comparison to a softbox when it comes to providing soft light for any style of shooting. Whether it be fashion, food, product, or portraiture, the softbox is extremely versatile and can handle any challenge. Even when they are not being used as the key light source, softboxes play an important role for fill and separation, and it would be difficult to imagine photography without them.
You may already know what a softbox is, or even own one yourself, but it is helpful to take a step back and get a fresh look at the world's favorite lighting accessory. In order to dig deeper into the softbox we called upon photographer Jeff Murray who began his photography journey almost 10 years ago.
Diverse Lighting Options
The various sizes of softboxes, and the various distances at which they are effective, leaves many possible combinations and choices for how the lighting is displayed. Using flash for most of Jeff's work, he combined his speedlight with StudioPRO 24"x24" Foldable Softbox. The image of the basketball [below] is also showing Fovitec's StudioPRO Vinyl Deep Brown Wood Floor backdrop. As you can see from the light, Jeff has the softbox boomed overhead for one shot and positioned to the side in another, creating a different look for each image.
Along with the versatility of the softbox, Jeff also praised the advantage of using the Vinyl Deep Brown Wood Floor backdrop. He noted in his blog that the backdrop can be used as flooring, a wood backdrop or even as a "table top." Combining these tools gave him the resources to be as creative as he could be in getting the perfect shot.
Change Up in The Set Up
Another important distinction between small and large softboxes is the way that large softboxes cover the entire subject with light. This overall coverage is an essential feature for wrapping the light for product photography or for full-length portraiture or even wedding photography. As you will see in this next image, the softbox is set up just above the subject and angled to the side. Notice also the proximity of the diffused light source to the subject. The closer that light is, the softer it is going to be.
Conveying Your Subject
The larger the light source, in relation to the subject, the softer the light becomes. Soft light reduces contrast, conceals skin blemishes, and softens the edges of the shadows creating a flawless look. Referring to the image below, Jeff comments, "With both diffusion panels in place, you can see how the light wraps around the cupcake. Fantastic!"
Creating the Look
If you are not sure what equipment you need to get started in your photographic journey, a softbox would be an excellent investment. Its versatility and adaptability allow you to refine your photography skills while challenging your creativity. Choosing lighting styles is largely a matter of personal preference, so don't be afraid to experiment. With softboxes, the options are endless. So into your studio let your creativity run wild!
Based out of Montreal, Canada, Jeff Murray developed his love for photography 10 years ago while shopping for his first DSLR. Since then, photography has become much more than a hobby as it occupies the majority of his daily thoughts. Whether he is looking at images for inspiration, editing, planning a shoot, or looking for the next best product, photography, continues to be love at first sight for Jeff. He emphasizes that once you learn how to control your camera and light, the possibilities are endless. Thank you for showing us that the same is to be true with the softbox!
From portrait to product photography, see all of Jeff Murray's work at www.photographybyjeffmurray.