Westminster fountain at sunset

by Jorge Córdoba

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16

Soft boxes typically have a more focused and sometimes more powerful quality of light while remaining soft. The biggest reason you might want to use a soft box over an umbrella is to control the spill of light. Where an umbrella will reflect light into a scene as well as transmit through the material, a soft box will force all light to either die or be ...


14

I have the Lumiquest Softbox III that's mentioned, and I find it useful as a super-portable softbox that's better than nothing. Given the option to have a huge softbox that would be my first choice, but the small softbox, placed very close to a subject, works really well and provides a much softer directional light than one would get with a bare flash or ...


12

You have more control over spill and hot spots with a softbox. The hot spots are much less significant with a softbox.


10

An octabox will give you nice round catchlights and produce generally more natural looking highlights and reflections. The straight edge of a softbox often sticks out when shooting with reflective surfaces more than a more organic curve or circle. On the other hand softboxes are easier to mask and gobo due to the straight edges, and more suitable to certain ...


9

There are a few reasons that I'm aware of to combine soft-box and an additional diffuser: With smaller softboxes and hotter lights (read: flashes) the softbox isn't always able to completely diffuse the light source, which causes a 'hotspot'... Essentially the center of the diffusion 'square' is brighter than the edges. It's better than a 'nekkid' flash, ...


8

Consider a 2D cross section ABCD straight through a cell of the grid, parallel to (and containing) the lighting axis. AD = BC is the depth of the cell and AB = CD is the length of the opening (horizontally, vertically, or even at an angle). In this diagram light can come anywhere from the left in any direction (created by your softbox or otherwise). The ...


8

Short answer: Yes, totally worth it, unless you want your softbox light to have a hot-spot and falloff. Details: Okay, so I was inspired to actually test this out, and with Stan's suggestion, to also add a Sto-Fen push-on diffuser to the mix as well. (Slight off-topic note: just as the wide-angle panel isn't really a light softener by itself, push-on ...


7

At its simplest... stick this thing from Ikea on your light and fire away. I have no idea how well it actually works. However, it's probably quick and cheap enough that you could try it on a lark. If you want to take a step up, DIYPhotography has a bunch of articles on exactly this topic. I myself have made a PVC-and-cotton light tent along these lines. ...


6

Assuming square grid bins, the dimensions of each grid bin are WxWxD, where D is the depth of the grid and W is the square edge length. Then, using trigonometry, we know that: tan(A) = W / D where A is the beam angle (from center line - axis - to one side). But, when considering rays passing through the square corners, there are two more angles to ...


6

catch lights: round/octagonal with umbrellas, square with softboxes ease of setup - umbrellas are generally much easier to set up and attach to a stand stability - umbrellas tend to catch the wind outdoors and tumble more than soft boxes spill - umbrellas will spill more light which can be a problem in close quarters (however there are so-called umbrella ...


6

A regular softbox is not going to fit on this type of light. They are designed for strobes with a single bulb which acts as a point light source and attach via a small hole in the back. This light seems to consist of a series of florescent tubes and is thus a much larger lightsource to begin with, and will be pretty soft in it's standard configuration. You ...


5

Let's put it this way: even a cheap softbox is better than nothing. That said, the larger the softbox, the better, although it will look a bit odd on your flash. (I have one that's like 8in. square.) And, in those situations where you don't have much else, it is better than nothing. Like @dpollitt says, I would first attempt to bounce the flash, but when it ...


5

The ribs will be visible if you shoot a photo of the umbrella, but they are not visible on a subject in the normal position. See http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_old_curmudgeon/5207772689/in/photostream and the following photos, where I varied the zoom level of the strobe to see how much coverage of the umbrella as its varied. The light is uniform for all ...


5

You can translate cd/m^2 + Area directly into lumen. lumen = cd/m^2 x m^2. That is, 1 lumen of light energy will illuminate a square metre of area with a brightness of one candela. So your 1000 cd/m^2 source over 0.5 m^2 = 1000 x 0.5 = 500 lumen. Modern available LEDs are achieving 200 l/W (just) (Cree XM-L2 top flux bin, lowest Vf), with LEDs with ...


4

Shouldn't it be possible to attach some kind of gel holder directly to the flash unit, and then softbox on top of that?


4

White tracing paper, or white tissue paper (used for wrapping) works really well. I found that tracing paper was more expensive than white tissue paper, so I went with the later. With regards to color cast, by using a greycard, and your camera's white balance setting, you can get around most basic color casts. The downside to paper is that it's very easy ...


4

Hang a piece of white cloth in front of your light. The suggestion of an umbrella is spot-on, and I would recommend that as the first thing to consider. In UK money, it would probably cost about 20 quid. But an even cheaper solution would be to simply hang a handkerchief (or something similar) a few inches in front of your light.


4

To complete the answer of whuber, the opening angle is α = tan⁻¹(2×diameter/length). My most often used grid is made of straws with a diameter of 5 mm and a length of 3 cm = 30 mm, resulting in an opening angle of approximately 20°, or a beam that gets wider by about 33 cm after each meter (imho that's an easier way to imagine the opening angle). Latter is ...


4

Octaboxes tend to focus the light a bit more than square or rectangular softboxes. Some fashion and portrait photographers favor them for several reasons: More light out of smaller box because of focusing effect Interesting catchlights in the eyes. If you look at a lot of portraits, you can start to recognize the ones shot with beauty dishes, octabanks, ...


3

For me the main difference is a softbox generally has better control of the direction of the light. The softbox will have a flat diffusion panel on the front and possibly a raised edge that stops light spilling off to the side. You can add a grid to it to control the spill even more. While an umbrella, has a curved surface that reflects or diffuses light in ...


3

You can use nearly any light, but continuous lighting has a lot fewer lumens of light per pound of weight than strobes. I use small, manual strobes. aka speedlights. Soemthing like a LumoPro LP160 works well, and can be triggered optically, so you can have multiple strobes. I carry three LP160s, my 50D body, a 17-55 zoom, a 50mm prime, and a 55-300 zoom in ...


3

This is probably a cliché answer, but the first thing you should buy is a copy of Light, Science and Magic. It covers in depth how to photograph glass (bright and dark field). It requires a lot of trial and error to get right, but in addition to soft boxes and your white background, you'll almost surely need something subtractive - dark cards to flag the ...


2

Think outside the (soft) box. :) When I was in school we had a really simple table top rig that was just 6 to 8 under cabinet kitchen lights from the local home store. Looks like homedespot has something very similar for about $20: ...


2

Open-n-use has a similar meaning to the much more common "plug-n-play" adjective of computer peripherals, it means you just open it up like an umbrella and start using it right away. Essentially it's an umbrella softbox hybrid that opens quickly like an umbrella, but has a front diffuser screen like a softbox, giving a softbox like quality of light but ...


2

I can think of a couple of reasons why I might do that: The minimum power on the strobe is still more light than I want and so extra diffusion is needed. It can happen... :) The light duration is what I want, but the amount of it is too much. If I reduce the power on the strobe, I reduce the duration of the light, so this lets me reduce the amount of light ...


2

I have had great success with the Gary Fong Lightsphere. You can see by the reviews on B&H that is is a very popular light modifier, especially among the wedding photography enthusiasts. When they work the best for me is when I am in low light situations where bouncing my flash off of a white ceiling is not practical or possible. They are not going to ...


2

I've seen one yesterday, and as a complement of my question, I can tell that there is a real problem with this kind of softbox. If the flash is inside the softbox, you can't incline it much, really not. It has to be almost always vertical. Don't even think of putting it at 45° with a single tripod because the base of the tube cannot go through the border of ...



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