When using an umbrella type softbox (a softbox that opens like an umbrella like this one) used with a cobra flash or a light bulb that is INSIDE the softbox :

  • does the tripod tube and the light source (cobra flash or light mount) makes a visible shadow on the pictures, or on the reflexions that can be visible into the picture ?
  • is the light uniform, as the light do not hit the center of the box ?

3 Answers 3


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 practical purposes. Might vary by a half stop or so, but that has never been an issue with my shot.

For tons of the use of Umbrellas and strobes, see the Strobist site. http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

  • Thanks, but I'm not talking about an umbrella but a softbox
    – Oliver
    Sep 7, 2012 at 9:20
  • Then the ribs are even less visible. And the flash inside does not leave a shaddow because the light bounces off the silver lining. The light will hit close enough to the center to resolve your worries. Sep 7, 2012 at 17:31

I did some experimenting in order to answer basically this for myself in the question Is the Deflector Plate recommended when using a Westcott Rapid Box with the cover on? — where the "Rapid Box" in question is an internal-umbrella style softbox as you describe. Here's one of my experiments from that answer:

Without deflector plate

You can see that with the bare flash, the internal structure is visible when photographing the softbox directly, although really the effect is rather small and I don't think likely to have a very significant effect on the results. The important thing, though, is that if you push a Sto-Fen style "bare bulb" diffuser on the flash, this causes enough light to bounce around internally that there is no almost sign of the internal structure even when photographing directly.


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 the box. If you have a mobile arm on your tripod, it's another affair.

  • 1
    This depends a lot on the specifics of the softbox, but yes, as delivered from Westcott, my 43" Octa has a limited range of angles if you insist on putting the stand through the zippered adjustment slot. If you want more adjustment, just spend $15 on a paulcbuff.com/mba.php Then you can adjust it anyway you want. Plus it balances better. Sep 9, 2012 at 23:44
  • @PatFarrell:Ok, but as far as I can see, using that kind of arm would result in a worse angle range.
    – Oliver
    Sep 10, 2012 at 8:27
  • The PCB arm gives you flexiblilty. With it, you can point the softbox at 45 or even 60 degress down, so its coming from above the user. With the stock arm, you can only point it down 20 or so degrees. Sep 10, 2012 at 16:21
  • This may be an issue (or not, as Pat notes), but in any case it does not answer the question.
    – mattdm
    Mar 3, 2015 at 20:52

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