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Thread: Any body have an example of what a Softbox does?

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    Any body have an example of what a Softbox does?

    I am going to get a speed lite and I have a diffuser for portraits and what not. I was wondering what a softbox does, it would be great if someone had a example! Thanks!

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    Re: Any body have an example of what a Softbox does?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canonman13 View Post
    I am going to get a speed lite and I have a diffuser for portraits and what not. I was wondering what a softbox does, it would be great if someone had a example! Thanks!
    A softbox is a type of diffuser. Basically, the bigger the light source and the closer it is to the subject, the softer and more flattering the light. If you're talking about a portable speedlight though, you won't be able to diffuse it much, as they just don't have the power. For quality studio lighting you'll need studio strobes, and several of them.

    I posted a series of articles on portraiture a while back, inc one on intro to studio lighting - you might find it beneficial ...

    "School of Portraiture" - Lesson 06 - Introduction to Basic Studio Lighting

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    Re: Any body have an example of what a Softbox does?

    Thanks!

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    Re: Any body have an example of what a Softbox does?

    If you want an example with a speedlight and one of those tiny foldable softboxes, the Strobist has a few pics he took of his son with the Lumiquest III (off camera, iirc). And Neil van Niekerk has some images he took with a 22cm softbox on a speedlight off-camera here and (NSFW!!!) here. The latter is a lot softer than the former, because he bounced the softbox into the ceiling. He also has some off-camera examples with a speedlight in a 24" softbox here.

    It's not the supersoft light that Colin's talking about getting with the larger lights and softboxes, but it's still recognizably softer than hard light from direct flash.

    The main reason you'd use a softbox instead of an umbrella is to have control over the "edge" of the light falloff for feathering.
    Last edited by inkista; 1st June 2011 at 02:17 AM.

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    Re: Any body have an example of what a Softbox does?

    Quote Originally Posted by inkista View Post
    The main reason you'd use a softbox instead of an umbrella is to have control over the "edge" of the light falloff for feathering.
    A good compromise is to use a shoot-through umbrella, and vary the distance from the flash to the umbrella to control the falloff.

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    Re: Any body have an example of what a Softbox does?

    Interesting; what would be a reasonable adjustment for guide number with one of these things. I never thought of using a softbox outside in good light but I suppose it makes sense if your using flash at all and I like the way the model stands out, just because of reflections contrary to what's expected.

    Obviously not something you can use on your own and you would need a long cable and pole to hold it high enough and close enough.

    What I needed on the last of the very few times I use flash was something to bounce it off, I used a mirror and eTTL last time to photograph a Russian Oligarch that didn't want to be photographed but the end result was rubbish anyway, it seemed the light went right behind and was at least 4 stops underexposed.

    However using GN I would have guessed 1+2/3 stop wider which would still be underexposed.

    So it all seems like guesswork to me, and it is a shame I couldn't get the pic of the Russian since he was a bit under the influence and I only knew him from an internet forum where it seems he is always flying around the world, therefore must be really important and would have appreciated it I'm sure.

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    Re: Any body have an example of what a Softbox does?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canonman13 View Post
    I am going to get a speed lite and I have a diffuser for portraits and what not. I was wondering what a softbox does, it would be great if someone had a example! Thanks!

    I have attached two photos made during a lighting course. The first two were made using Broncolor lights with large (36" softboxes) and the third with a beauty dish to show the difference. These are not portraits they were made as exercises during the course and the model is a young professional.

    The high key one also used a second light on the background and a large white reflector on the right of the camera. The low key photo used a single light and softbox ( I don't think there was a reflector to the right).

    _mg_7316-kate-sharpened-sized.jpg



    _mg_7330-kate-sharpened.jpg

    In the third photo which is a promotional photo for a performance I used a single speed light with an umbrella and a diffuser. You can see that the shadows are more defined, but overall less refined.


    noni-sugar-lips.jpg

    I hope this helps. The portrait tutorials should help more. Lighting with any flash is really about lots of practice and being clear what image you want. During this course i was also introduced to the Strobist approach and this opens up a whole new world without the expensive big lights. It can be lots of fun especially if you have people who want to help.

    Good luck
    Graham
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by gcowan; 1st June 2011 at 01:18 PM. Reason: Messed up the photos

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