Beginners Guide to SFX
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The Phlearn Guide To Softboxes

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Jun 25

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The Phlearn Guide To Softboxes

These umbrella-like creatures can appear intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of them they’re a breeze to use! Join us as we cover everything there is to know about softboxes.

Softboxes, What Are They Good For?

Absolutely something. Unlike umbrellas which produce a concentrated directional light, softboxes imitate the light cast by windows. The light from the strobes is diffused not only once, but twice when fired through a softbox. This softens the light considerably, making softboxes a great weapon of choice for portraits.

All Shapes And Sizes

Softboxes come in a variety of different shapes, each good for different purposes.

  • Stripbox: This is a skinny rectangular softbox. Its narrow shape makes it good for casting rim/hair lights on subjects without affecting other parts of the image.
  • Octobox. A softbox with 8 sides. Its rounded shape will cast natural looking catchlights in the eyes of your subject, making this a great choice for your key light.
  • Regular Softbox. These can be used for just about anything, from key lights to fill lights.
  • Grids can affect the way light is emitted from a softbox. They help to eliminate fall-off by directing the light into a straight beam.

Where To Find Them

All of the softboxes we use are manufactured by Paul C. Buff. You can also find a slew of different softboxes on websites like Adorama and B&H.

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Random Tips

Want to shoot on a micro level but don’t think you have a lens for it? Take a wide angle lens 18mm or so and hold it to your camera backwards, get close to the subject and control focus with your distance. You will have no aperture control so work exposure with ISO and shutter, but you will be now shooting with a micro scope!