5 Useful Ways To Use A Softbox

In this video, portrait photographer Miguel Quiles from New Jersey takes a look at five different ways to use softboxes to get headshots, 3/4 length shots, and even full-body shots depending on the setup.

Before we go into the actual uses a word about the softboxes themselves. Quiles uses two different types of softboxes in this video – the Westcott 3×4 Rapid Box and the smaller Westcott 2×3 Rapid Box (See more from this line here. both are actually fairly large which means that as long as they are not too far from your subject you will get a pretty soft light).

In the first setup, Quiles places the softbox in a 40-45 degree angle with the softbox turned horizontally – this will wrap around your subject/s. Place the bottom of the softbox around the eye level of your subject.

The second setup is using it behind you while you are shooting your model at eye level. All you need will be to add a reflector in front of her just out of the frame bouncing the light from the wall behind (he/she need to be relatively close to the wall so this is going to be a very specific type of portrait with no background blur). In case you were wondering the softbox is big enough, in this case, to cast a light around the photographer and light the model.

The third setup involves two lights (the first had only one and a reflector). In this type of setup, the second light replaces the reflector (and is used in lower power setup), you can play with both options to see what works best for you.

The fourth option is a little different. Here you will see how you can achieve some separation by using one of the softboxes as a hair light from the back (and side) of your subject. You can add several softboxes to get even more separation (but it really depends on your subject).

Finally, if you have two softboxes of the same size place them in front of your subject and push them close together. Now stand in the middle between them and shoot from there. You can play with the power of the strobes (start with both at the same power level but you can also adjust one or the other to get the best look from your model).

You can check out many more helpful photography tips on our Photography tips section here on LensVid. You can also check out more light related videos on our special subsection.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of LensVid.com. He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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