Softboxes & Accessories

Video Chat with a Lighting Expert - Live

Choosing the Best Softboxes and Accessories

Make the most out of your gear with the best softboxes and accessories. Use flash softboxes to enhance camera flash and distribute it evenly throughout the shoot area. Softbox lights reduce harsh light and offer you better control of where light falls. The softbox provides several benefits to the photographer, from increasing light reach to creating special effects.

How is a Softbox Different than an Umbrella?

Umbrellas shape light and spread it throughout the shoot area, but they offer less control over where illumination is directed. Beginning photographers often prefer umbrellas, as they rarely need the more sophisticated options offered by softboxes. Both choices provide light modification, but professional photographers use softboxes more often because they offer greater coverage, lighting options, and control of illumination.

How to Use a Softbox and What Size to Choose

Choosing the right softbox kit for individual or business needs requires knowing what formats you use most often. When determining size, keep this in mind: The larger the object area you're shooting, the larger and more flexible the softbox needs to be. Headshot sessions only require a small softbox, while figural photography requires a larger softbox for proper light distribution. Photographers can also create several special effects with softboxes, including the following:

  • Depth: Created by placing behind or in front of the subject
  • Movie poster: Created by having the model look toward the light
  • Even distribution: Turn horizontally, pivot, and then enhance in edit
  • Bounce: Increase light by reflecting light off blank walls

Being able to adjust your light is crucial to finding ideal illumination for each subject. Keep softbox wands and poles on hand to adjust boxes and direct light to specific features for better control. The best softbox accessories provide multiple options for manipulating boxes to take advantage of the lighting.

What's a Softbox Diffuser?

Diffusers spread light from the camera's flash over a larger area, and then use other surfaces nearby to reflect light for a softer effect. Using front diffusers and internal baffles with portable softboxes provides smoother distribution of light and prevents hotspots. Diffusers are also ideal additions to softboxes in darker photography studios, or on-site areas that have poor lighting, as they provide a soft, natural illumination that's similar to that of sunlight.

Use softboxes and umbrellas to make better use of existing light and the flash of cameras, and eliminate poor and harsh lighting in your photos. B&H Photo and Video carries multiple options for softbox and accessories.