Using a softbox

Natalie (by Chester Bullock)

In the past I have done a lot of do-it-yourself photography projects. And yes, that included a DIY Softbox. The results were acceptable enough, but after a short time the softbox looked like it had been taken out one too many times. As I continue to do more professional photos, I want to also have a more professional look when on location. Also, I like the better spread of a bigger box. That said, I picked up an inexpensive 16″ softbox from Cowboy Studio (they sell on Amazon).

It is priced quite reasonably, $35 at last check, and as you can see from the photo above, it delivers. I mounted my Vivitar 285 on the L-bracket and did a quick test session with my daughter. Once you get your flash dialed in (I think I need to get a light meter to make this faster), the results are great. I took a few pictures of my daughter with it, and am now quite comfortable using it. Next step will be to add a hairlight or background light (easy enough with my Cactus triggers and my other flash). In fact, thanks to a session I attended with David Tejada, I learned a couple of ways to position the box relative to the subject and also a bit about background lighting. Total sidenote, but I would recommend David’s blog and workshops to anyone.

In short, while making my own softbox was fun and interesting, it is hard to beat the 16″ Cowboy Studio 16″ softbox, especially given the price.

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