These Softbox Tips Will Take Your Photography Lighting to the Next Level

Master how best to utilize softboxes to take your photography to the next level.

Softboxes are one of the most popular light modifiers used by photographers. They are very versatile and can be found in a variety of different shapes and sizes. A softbox gives you a great deal of control over lighting, regardless if you’re photographing in a studio or outdoors. Since our previous infographic on how to use a softbox for portrait photography proved to be quite popular, we’re bringing you more softbox tips today.

Best for Indoors

Under most circumstances, softboxes and other photographic lighting are most effective when used indoors. The ambient light generated by the Sun becomes much less of an issue when working indoors. Depending on the environment that you’re photographing in, you may even be able to eliminate it altogether. Using a softbox indoors gives you a great deal of control over your lighting. Since you don’t have to try and overpower the Sun, it’s also much easier to utilize your softbox as your key light. Want a softer quality of light? Place the softbox closer to your subject. Want a harder light? Increase the distance between your softbox and your subject. Ultimately, how and where you position your softbox in relation to your subject will determine the look of your final image.

Directional Control

Softboxes are designed so that you are able to focus your light source into specific patterns while being able to control their spread and intensity. Additionally, they give you the ability to control the directionality of your light source. This is often referred to as efficient directional control. Other light modifiers don’t really afford you the same level of precision and control by comparison, if at all. If you are a control freak, softboxes were designed with you in mind.

Heart of Silver

Softboxes are typically made with silver or white interiors. Whether you’ll want to reach for one over the other ultimately depends on your use case. If you’re looking to create images that pops, opt for softboxes with silver interiors. They essentially take the light from your light source and intensifiers it not dissimilar to how light gets reflected off of mirrors. The resulting quality of light is punchy and useful for when you’re trying to bring out all of the minute details in your subject. Although this is very useful for product photography or macro work, it’s not necessarily the most flattering light. Unless you’re photographing someone with perfect skin, or you’re prepared to do a lot of retouching, softboxes with silver interiors may not be the way to go. Most people don’t have perfect skin, so the last thing you’ll want to do is highlight pores and imperfections. This is where a softbox with a white interior comes in handy. It produces a flattering quality of light that is less intense and more forgiving than what you’d get from a softbox with a silver interior. Some companies also make softboxes with soft silver interiors, which basically blends silver and white together.

Pauleth Ip

Paul is a New York City based photographer, creative, and writer. His body of work includes headshots and commercial editorials for professionals, in-demand actors/performers, high net worth individuals, and corporate clients, as well as intimate lifestyle/boudoir photography with an emphasis on body positivity and empowerment. Paul also has a background in technology and higher education, and regularly teaches private photography seminars. When not working on reviews and features for The Phoblographer or shooting client work, Paul can be seen photographing personal projects around NYC, or traveling the world with his cameras in tow. You can find Paul’s latest work on his Instagram over at @thepicreative.