Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey: Selecting the best position for your softbox
posted Friday, January 18, 2019 at 8:00 AM EDT
It's often thought that when using a softbox to light portraits, the softbox should be placed in front of your subject. However, as Gavin Hoey shows in the newest episode of his Adorama video series, Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey, there is actually more flexibility with a softbox, particularly a large one, than you might have previously thought.
In the video below, Hoey shows off how moving the softbox to four different positions affects the final shot. So where is the best place for a large softbox light source? That depends upon the look you want to achieve. With his model, Brian, stationary and remaining at a fixed distance from the background, Gavin moves the softbox around his small home studio. The first location is the standard one, in front of the model, such that it is throwing light at an oblique angle across Brian's face. As you can see, it looks good and is a classic look. The next location involves moving the softbox back toward the model, such that the back edge of the softbox is basically in line with the back of the model. This is actually Gavin's go-to lighting setup for headshots. The end result is a portrait with a lot more contrast. The appearance of the portrait has been changed dramatically with only a small movement of the softbox. To see how additional location changes of the softbox change the results, watch Hoey's full video below.