Is soft box shape important?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by ElizaMM, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. ElizaMM

    ElizaMM TPF Noob!

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  2. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Photographing glass is all about controlling the reflections. You don't say specifically what the glass is, but depending on size you may or may not even need a softbox. I would highly suggest reading the article on white line and black line lighting. Sekonic > Classroom > Articles
     
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  3. ElizaMM

    ElizaMM TPF Noob!

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    Thank you. Will do so now.
     
  4. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Probably not, although each style has its plusses.

    Sometimes an octagonal box will actually be based on a parabolic back, which then does direct more light out the front in a somewhat concentrated beam, which then probably means that box would be a bit more "efficient" in terms of getting the light out than the rectangular box.

    The more important thing you should decide is; what shape of catchlight do you want in your objects? The shape of the softbox will show up in most of your shots, so you can decide that shape. To photograph something taller than wide, you might consider a "tall" rectangular softbox to harmonize with your subject. I think if you're doing glass bottles, I would get a rectangular box no matter the proportions.

    Either way, any good softbox will have the option of attaching a grid, usually as an extra cost item from the same manufacturer. Eventually you will want to use a grid, and grids come in a variety of "angles" to direct the light either wider or more narrow depending on the grid design.
     
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  5. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Catch lights, shape, size, etc., when you're photographing glass isn't as important as "controlling" the light. Glass is highly reflective, and the reflection is equal to the angle of incidence. What that means is if you put a strobe on top of your camera and fire it the reflection will bounce right back at you. Move it far right and the reflection will bounce to the left of your camera. The other thing when shooting glass is that it's translucent it doesn't record a lot of details when you front light it. Backlighting by itself doesn't work well either, because detail is a result of creating shadows. So you have to control the back light using either black or white reflectors to direct the light through the glass. Black Line lighting creates a black line on edges of glass to highlight the shape of a glass object. White Line lighting creates a white line. When you have glass that is highly detailed, White Line actually works better to bring out the details. Sometimes though you have to use a combination of matched lighting (backlight and front) because the opacity of the glass is such that you don't get sufficient light through from the back. In this one I did awhile back the painted label was blocking just enough light that I also had to light it from the front. This is an example of White Line. There were three lights two snooted lights in the back (one on each side) fired across to a tall narrow white reflector approximately the height and width of the bottle on the opposite side. The reflectors were angled to reflect the light through the bottle. Another light with a very long snoot and modified to a tiny strip of light was placed straight on in front and powered way down to just fill the shadow areas slightly and bring out the label.
    Pepsi Bottle05092017_196.jpg
    A word to wise when shooting glass, reflections come from everywhere. I shot this one outside on a shaded area of the deck. If you'll notice just above the label on the right side you can see the railing reflected, and in the center above the label are the trees that were way behind me. As this was something I was just playing with it didn't matter much, but had this been something critical, I would have moved inside in a dark studio, that I had more control of ambient light.
     
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  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00QURN7XE...olid=1WP4P4FC1MI51&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it
    https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00PIM3I6I...olid=1WP4P4FC1MI51&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

    BOTH for under $50, shipped! Thanks to the widespread availability of MIC products and the internet era, this is a fantastic deal! My first-ever Chimera softbox, a 36x48 inch "cheap line" model, set me back $149.95, in 1986 dollars!

    The SEKONIC website is a fantastic learning resource! I would recommend reading and learning as much as you can from there...and from other trusted sources.

    As far as glassware of all types goes, most serious specialists in that area rely on square, or rectangular soft boxes, reflectors, scrims, and flags of various types. A LOT of glassware shots of the highest quality rely more on KNOWLEDGE, skill,and techniques, more so than the shape of the light modifiers used. Glassware is much about small details and paying close attention to them and how the lighting setup/camera position/shadows/shapes/edges ALL interact with one another. It can be simple, if you are grounded in the fundamentals, or bloody difficult if you expect to just arrange some glassware,and light it easily...again...spend some time understanding light and camera placement as described in so many of the fantastic articles on the Sekonic website! It is a fantastic source!
     
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  7. JBPhotog

    JBPhotog No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The go-to modifier for products such as glass are rectangular due to their better overall controllability, however the best approach is to decide the look you are after and fit the modifier to the concept. Glass, like chromed metal, are the most challenging objects to photograph, they see everything and require judicious control of every aspect of reflection and transmission. Best to have a spot where you can leave it set up and try a few things out, ponder your successes and try to improve.

    These were all shot on 4x5 film, no PS and several different modifiers from 7" grids to rectangular soft boxes.
     

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  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Some nice photos!
     
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  9. ElizaMM

    ElizaMM TPF Noob!

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    I ended up building boxes out of foamcore - one white, one black, and that worked well, but success was not automatic and I'm still practicing. Thanks for all the detailed input.
     
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  10. ElizaMM

    ElizaMM TPF Noob!

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    I have just been taking a closer look at JBPhotog's glass pics. Something to aspire to!
     
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  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    building boxes out of foamcore--very 1980's!!!
     
  12. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    When I first poped up on TPF, it was because of being chased off of another photographic discussion forum. Part of that was over a discussion on lighting along these lines, along with aspect ratio.

    When on that forum in 2005-2006, I read a lengthy article on the use of black and grey 'reflectors" which in reality are light absorbers.
    When properly employed the use of those reflectors can alter the reflective/refractive light in ways that really cause an image to pop out.
    I no longer have the link but I am sure there are a few that can comment on that, especially with highly reflective objects like glass.
     
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