Softbox modified for softer light and ROUND catchlights

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by Dick Sanders, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. Dick Sanders

    Dick Sanders TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Southern California Desert
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    How many of you have a square or rectangular softbox and have been living with squarish catchlights? Well, suffer no more. A small can of black fabric paint can give you ROUND catchlights for a more pleasing look.

    All you have to do is paint the translucent white fabric on the front of your softbox, as I have done here, creating a circle through which the light passes. Note here the extra diffusion fabric hanging from the bottom that I clip over the front when even softer light is needed.

    [​IMG]

    In the next picture, you'll see the inside of the softbox (a Westcott Apollo Mono, based on an umbrella frame). The white fabric at left is the translucent front. The sides and back are reflective silver. Note the direction of the strobe head, aimed toward the back, so that the light first bounces off the silver reflective material, before punching through the white translucent fabric on the front.

    [​IMG]

    In the final picture you can see the extra diffusion material clipped over the front of the softbox. This gives me one bounce and two diffusion (3 layer modification), for a very pleasing soft light with round catchlights. Yes, those are wooden clothespins.

    [​IMG]

    Comments welcome. Thanks for looking.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2009
  2. 250Gimp

    250Gimp TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Messages:
    1,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chelsea, Quebec
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Just out of curiosity....what are you using for the second layer of diffusion material?
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,817
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Do you really need the 3rd layer of material? It's not really making the light source any bigger, so therefore isn't really making the light any softer. The only benefit I can see, is that might lessen a hot spot in the centre that some lights/softboxes give you...but you won't have the problem anyway because the light is reflecting out off the back of the softbox anyway.
     
  4. Dick Sanders

    Dick Sanders TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Southern California Desert
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Big Mike: Yes, I've tested adding the second layer of diffusion and the light quality is made a little softer. But this may just be my box. Others with a little different type of material might behave differently. I shoot it with or without the 2nd layer, depending on the kind of light I want. But you're right -- the biggest benefit is the bounce with diffusion. Much better than straight shoot-thru, imo.
     
  5. K_Pugh

    K_Pugh No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Messages:
    1,344
    Likes Received:
    75
    Location:
    Scotland
    Feck painting my softbox material.. bit of cardboard with a circle cutout, job done! just seems a bit extreme unless you want it permanent of course.
     
  6. Dick Sanders

    Dick Sanders TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Southern California Desert
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I went to the fabric store and bought a couple of yards of a warm-white
    nylon sheer material. It's doubled here.

    K-Pugh: I did want it permanent on this box, ready to use as I prefer. But your method is certainly practical.
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,817
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Or you could have got black material and cut a circle into it. Actually, you could cut any shape into it and thus give any shape to your catch lights. I seem to remember an instructor calling them cookie cutters or just cookies...something like that. Same idea applies to putting the shapes over your background lights to put shapes onto your background....or over your lens to shape your bokeh.
     
  8. Dick Sanders

    Dick Sanders TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Southern California Desert
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Now, that you've said that, I'm going to find out where your studio is, and I'm going to sneak in at night and paint all the fronts of your softboxes, leaving just tiny 3 inch square openings!


    Just kidding... :lmao:
     
  9. K_Pugh

    K_Pugh No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Messages:
    1,344
    Likes Received:
    75
    Location:
    Scotland
    I wish I had studio space :(

    You'll never get to my softboxes with your evil black fabric paint, never! :) - If you do I'll have to paint yours with my tartan paint :lol:
     
  10. Dick Sanders

    Dick Sanders TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Southern California Desert
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I've already bought a fresh gallon of black gloss fabric paint.

    Even got a new 4 inch brush.

    And new black sneakers...

    :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

best mono strobe for round catchlights

,
black translucent material
,

diffusion fabric

,

do people prefer square or round catchlights

,
einstein lights but want a softbox for that kind of catchlights
,

photo diffusion material

,

reflective material for softbox

,

square softbox round catchlights

,
square softbox with round front
,

what's inside a softbox