Softboxes are among the most well-liked gentle shaping applications. Couple photographers have in no way shot with softboxes, and more frequently than not a softbox is a go-to modifier for rookies. In this write-up, I will break down the anatomy of a softbox, from physics to possible applications for it. Browse on to turn out to be a learn of employing softboxes.

What Is a Softbox?

In the easiest conditions, a softbox is a mild modifier that is formed like a box and generates gentle gentle. Softboxes arrive in unique styles, with each a person having a distinct functionality and glimpse to them. Below are the most well-known ones:


A sq. softbox will generate an even soft mild that will have gradated shadow edges. A wonderful use for a square softbox would be for creating gentle window light-weight given that a softbox is shaped precisely like just one. The square condition signifies that both of those horizontal and vertical shadows will be the very same sizing.

One change among this softbox and an octagonal 1 would be the catchlights. The sharp corner in the softbox will make substantially extra unique pointy catchlights when when compared to a spherical softbox.


As a single aspect will get smaller and the other bigger it will create a to some degree narrower light-weight spread. The light will protect a more substantial area on just one facet even though masking a smaller one particular on the other. This form is pretty well known between style and portrait photographers for it allows to mild a half-human body shot with no spilling gentle on the track record way too considerably.

A phrase of warning: this softbox will develop softer shadow edges on the greater facet when creating tougher edges on the lesser facet. Nevertheless, if you are using a 4×6 softbox to gentle a portrait that will be hardly visible, this will be predominantly witnessed when applying a smaller softbox on for a longer time distances.


A common selection for lights a background, this softbox will develop a strip of light. This is a softbox that is narrow on a single finish while exceptionally wide on the other. For this, it will develop a sleek gradated shadow edge on the for a longer period side and a fine shadow edge on the other.

A stripbox is usually utilized for entire-overall body photographs as it handles the whole system on a single hand when giving a good deal of definition and distinction on the other. A careful photographer will be cautious of employing a very long stripbox with a flat-finish flash as there is a 1-3-quit variation amongst the middle and edge of the modifier.


A traditional between softboxes, the octagonal softbox is preferred to the sq. just one for the spherical catchlights in the eyes. For all intents and applications, it gives off a pretty related, albeit marginally rounder and broader, gentle as a likewise sized square softbox.

Deep (Bogus Parabolic) Softbox

It has become rather common nowadays to purchase deep softboxes simply because they give an uncommon gentle. Nevertheless, a deep direct softbox is no distinctive than an octabox. An indirect parabolic softbox, on the other hand, is really handy but it won’t be talked over in this short article.

Extras For a Softbox

A softbox isn’t finish without accessories, below are some typical types that you can put on most softboxes:


Softbox grids typically are 50deg, meaning that they limit whichever light-weight distribute the softbox has (generally 180deg) to a substantially finer just one. This, however, tends to make the gentle harder.

Smooth light is outlined as a light that hits the subject matter from a significant loved ones of angles which triggers the shadow edges to be gradated. Considering the fact that the grid restrictions that household of angles, the light turns into somewhat more durable. Generally it is recommended to move the softbox nearer to compensate for this.


Stripmasks are produced mainly for stripboxes. They make the edge finer and the light-weight source more compact (in one particular dimension) This can be useful when making an attempt to produce good reflections or horizontally really hard but vertically smooth gentle. A widespread use for a stripmask is on automotive images when long but good highlights are needed.

Round Mask

A round mask will, as the title suggests, make the softbox correctly round. Another way to control how mild modifier reflections appear, the spherical mask has its use in trend and portrait pictures. Using a spherical mask will make the softbox lesser, and in get to obtain the very same level of softness.

Other Masks

There are also customized masks that exist for softboxes. Some will block out the center, though other folks can be custom made. In reality, you can make your own softbox masks by creating tailor made gobos or employing flags. The way you mask your softbox is just a make a difference of creativity.

How Does a Softbox Operate?

The theory guiding every single softbox is that it produces a gentle that hits the item from a wide household of angles. This is attained by having the position light source and reflecting it inside the modifier very first by way of the very first and then the second diffuser.

The role of the initial diffuser is to choose the immediate specular rays and modify the angles at which they journey. Nonetheless, with notably large softboxes, this will nonetheless leave a hotspot in the center. Usually the variance among the centre and facet is 2-3 stops. This is unwanted, so a second layer is essential.

The 2nd diffuser even further diffuses the mild, which creates a considerably more even corner to corner illumination. The distance involving the two layers of diffusion is relatively unimportant, but if you extravagant diffusing the mild even even further you can shoot the softbox via a scrim placed a meter or so from the softbox.

Possible Works by using

I could not perhaps record all uses for a softbox, as it is a very adaptable and well known modifier. In this article are some prevalent places and setups the place a softbox will be acceptable:

Portrait Photography

Currently being a gentle and typically huge light-weight source, a softbox is best for creating portrait light-weight. The smooth high-quality of light-weight of it makes certain that pores and skin texture appears easy, when the massive size assures that the protection is adequate for even illumination. A softbox put at 45deg to the matter will develop a classic portrait light.

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Sports Photography

A vintage softbox could possibly not be as useful here, but a strip box is. It will be perfect for lighting a full physique shot of an athlete vertically whilst holding the punchy high-quality of gentle horizontally. The difficult gentle will deliver out the muscle and other element in the issue.

Automotive Photography

Most autos have long strains that define their condition. Bringing out that condition with a directed extended strip of light-weight will be pleasant for the viewer as it shows the essence of the subject matter.

Solution Pictures

One of the most critical elements in a productive product or service picture is excellent highlights and direct reflections management. A softbox will be beneficial when trying to generate even linear highlights. A different use would be as a fill source, or as a resource of even diffused mild which is great for bringing out the color in images.

Vogue Pictures

Fashion photography is one more frequent position for softboxes. As it produces a tender subtle light-weight it is flattering for models’ faces which reduces the amount of money of retouching required. Moreover, a softbox is employed to light-weight specified materials these types of as types that produce subtle reflections (wool or cotton).

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Styling: @nagyemesestylist

Recommended Softboxes

You can choose your possess manufacturer of the softbox, however, I will strongly recommend going with a good quality model these types of as Elinchrom, Broncolor, or Profoto. Their modifiers are tough and value it in the close.

Go through also: Are Highly-priced Gentle Modifiers Worthy of It?

In this article are some sizes that will be useful for your studio setups:

Closing Thoughts

Choosing the appropriate softbox is challenging. With any luck ,, this tutorial has been handy in showing you the makes use of for each 1. Individually, I use softboxes in this article and there but they are not instrumental to my function. The exact can be claimed about each individual other modifier. What is important is the theoretical and useful expertise of light-weight that pays a dividend in the form of being equipped to demand much more.

I strongly recommend deepening your information by checking out light-weight just by employing 1 modifier. Choose up a softbox that is most fascinating for you and dive deep into checking out it. Have fun!