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I am thinking of buying a softbox for a speedlight to step up my lighting, while staying within my budget. I have a Yongnuo YN-568EX II speedlight that O intend to use in the softbox. My question is which softbox would be suitable for me, if I wanted to take full body shots? Or can I even do that, given that I have a speedlight, not a strobe and full body shots require large softboxes. Is my speedlight powerful enough to support a large softbox of, let's say, 80x80 or should I go with 60x60? I'll be highly grateful if you help me out. :)

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    The speedlight will work with any softbox, the questions will be how close it needs to be and what aperture you can use. But in general, to preserve the power of your light, use the smallest size you can. For full body shots you may want to go with a strip box in something like 50 x 130. – Matt Owen Sep 20 '16 at 14:35
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    Buy them all!!! – Michael C Sep 20 '16 at 19:23
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    "staying within my budget." but what is your budget? Could you live with a DIY solution? Does it have to be portable? You seem to be very confident that you need a softbox, but bouncing the flash into a big white wall might have a similar effect for a much lower price. Did you try something like that? – null Sep 20 '16 at 20:37
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You can use a small 9 inch softbox which fits on the flash head or you can also use spedlight diffusers. You can use your speedlight at full power inside a large softbox also, the only constraint in doing that is the distance or the guide number of your speedlight. In a large softbox, the light is very nice and soft depending on the power of the flash fired and it is spread evenly.

If your speedlight has zoom feature, a small softbox can be very useful.

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You need to know your flash. I'm making a generic answer to be usefull in all fhash models and brands.

1) The hotspot

  • Grab a sheet of paper, with some grid on it, for example draw some lines every 5 inches. Hold it on a wall.

  • Put the flash pointing at the paper, lets say 10 inches away. Use a tripod or stand if you have one.

  • Put the flash zoom at the lower focal length, lets say 28mm. and shoot it to the paper.

  • Take a picture and measure the hotspot. It will cast a rectangular hotspot.

  • You can repeat for example now 20 inches away, then 30 to confirm your findings.

Now you have an idea of the softbox size you could have. Not only the box size, but also the internal distance to the flash needed.

Normally a speedlight shoots a rectangular beam (more eliptical), not a square one (or round).

2) The power

  • Shoot the flash at a white wall, acoeding to some estimates you made at the previous point. For example with the flash 2-3 feet away from the wall.

  • Use this bounced light to iluminate a test subject. A standing person.

  • Do not use full flash. Use 1/2 or 1/4 and experiment with ISO 100-200 probably 400.

  • Depending on the results now you have an idea of the power of the flash.

There are diferent kind of softboxes.

  • Some shoot the light directly to the white silk, some shoot it to a "pre difusser", and others bounce the flash to the silver interior.

  • A pre difusser and a bounced softbox help to even the light, but also lowers the total output, probably 1 stop.

  • Some softboxes allow to put a head holding not one but 2-4 speedlights.

  • Some softboxes allow more freedom changing the tilt angle than others.

Go for a softbox designed for a speedlight. But the point is that you now have some more information to make a decision.

A quick test I did

With a 560III passing thru a big "photopgraphic" silk:

  • At 30 inches from the silk

  • Cast a hotspot aprox 35 x 30 inches

  • Gives an f/8 at 1/2 power at 40 inches away.

But at the end

Buy the biggest softbox for speedlights you can find. a 80x80 octobox with an internal difusser will cast a nice light on a subject. You always can play with the iso or aperture. :o)

  • The softbox will cut three stops of light so the speedlite will struggle. Usually in studio you shoot at 100ASA but you could bump this up to 400, 800, 1600. So perhaps you can pull this off but you won't have the convenience of a studio light. – user56920 Sep 24 '16 at 12:50

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