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Improve Your Photography and Video Quality with Softbox Lighting

An essential accessory for photographers and videomakers, both professional and keen amateur alike, softboxes diffuse light and eliminate harsh shadows. Whether you are shooting food, fashion, or portraiture, a softbox will help to create a flattering, professional finish to your work. eBay has a large selection of softbox lighting kits at a wide range of prices.

When should you use a softbox?

Use a softbox any time you need to reduce harsh shadows. Softboxes can be used in the studio as both key and fill lighting, or out on location as a key light in sunlight.

What is the difference between a softbox and an umbrella?

Softboxes and umbrellas are the two most common light modifiers used in photography, and both work in a similar way to diffuse light. The key differences between them are:

  • Shape of light – Umbrellas give a round light whereas softbox lights are available in a range of shapes, allowing different effects. For example, a rectangular softbox can mimic natural light coming through a window.
  • Direction of light – Umbrellas have a beam spread angle of approximately 135 degrees which can result in “spill light”, with light falling where it wasn’t intended to. A softbox has a beam angle of around 90 degrees, reducing spill light and making light easier to direct. Softbox accessories reduce the beam spread further, often to as low as 20 degrees.
  • Flexibility – Many softboxes are available with removable and changeable front diffusers and filter panels, allowing the user to create different effects. You can even remove diffusion entirely and use the softbox as a reflector, but each model may have a slightly different procedure, so refer to the manufacturer's instructions.
How do you choose the right softbox light?

When choosing softbox lighting, you will find a wide range of products to choose from. These include variations in shape and size, from small portable softbox kits to large wall-mounted models, and even softbox light DIY kits. Before buying, consider the final effect that you wish to achieve with your softbox lighting kit. Remember:

  • Large softboxes throw soft light over a broad area.
  • Medium softboxes provide defined shadows.
  • Small softboxes give defined background shadows.
  • Rectangular softboxes can be used as both a fill light and main lighting source.
  • Octagonal softboxes are often used in portrait photography as a key light, giving a pleasing round catchlight in the eye of the model.
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