Thursday, March 6, 2008

Using a Softbox - studio lighting beginners' guide

Using a Softbox - studio lighting beginners' guide -
A softbox is a useful studio light accessory that provides a wonderful soft light as Chris Burfoot AMPA ASWPP explains.
Softboxes are available in a range of sizes from around 40cms square up to the amazing Elinchrom Octa which is almost two metres across!The most useful sizes for portrait work are the 70cm or 100cm square, although products like the Portalite 65x65cm are great value for money and work very well. Remember, the bigger the light the softer it is. To get the softest light from your softbox - get close! If used just out of view of the camera, it will give you a lovely, soft, diffused light.
The bigger it is the more “wrap-around” it will be - an Elinchrom Rotalux 100x100cm was used in these examples.

Softboxes give a lovely soft light.

Again, by adding a reflector panel we can fill the shadows on the opposite side. If I am using a matt light source like a softbox, I normally use a matt white reflector to match.

With a white reflector as a fill

As you can see from the diagram, this is the same set-up but with the addition of a background light which “lifts” the subject from the background.

A splash of light on the background really “lifts” the picture!

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