For one thing, softboxes create a smoother light – less hotspots (yea – those are the bright, burnt our noses in your photos), anther is smoother shadows. Most professional models are shot with softboxes to get that glamorous, look. Softboxes are also great for macro shots – they produce even diffused light.
The only trouble starts when you head down the road to the store and want to get one of them nice wonders. They usually cost something like a small county side house. In this article I will demonstrate how to build a homemade studio softbox for just a few $$.
The first step is to get the stuff you need. see the picture on the left. What do I have there? Naturally, I have box – this is just your ordinary box there fox, nothing to see, move along. I also have some aluminum foil (I is not a must, but will produce better results – so I highly recommend not to get lazy with this one). The white thing on the back is a one time table cloth. Where I live, you can get a roll for a few bucks, they have them in white and red. It is semi translucent, and will pass light. You can also use silk, sketching paper, or any other soft material that diffuses light. Lastly, I have scissors and glue – my “working tools” borrowed from my two and a quarter years old daughter. I had to promise to take her picture as payback for those tools.
The next step is to start gluing arranging the thing together. The first thing I did is to glue the aluminum foil to the inside of the box. At first I did not take the flaps out of the box, thinking I can later use them to prevent light spill, but eventually I broke and scissored them off. If you know of a way one can use them, please share. Again look at the picture to see what I am talking about. The UHU glue was really nice for this job, but I guess any other glue will do the job.
After all the glue fun, you should end up with box that has pretty reflective interiors.
Next, you cut a hole in the back of the box. I cut a small rectangular hole, which was slightly smaller then my SB-800. This way the flash was held by the friction of the cardboard. see pictures below.
The last step is to glue the table cloth / silk / sketching paper on the open side of the box. You should end up with something like this:
What else is left to do? plug your flash at the rear end of the box and start taking pictures. Here is the first picture I took – paying back for the tools
Quite a drama, isnt it? I had to add a reflector to open up the shades a bit. this is what we got the second time around. For a reflector, I just used a big foam board, balanced by a cushion. The nice thing about reflectors, is that anything white can reflect, even a white wall.
And here is how the setup looks like, reflector “and all”. Notice the “walk like an Egyptian” pose
One of the cool things is that you can experiment with different boxes and sizes to get different effects.