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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 13 Dec 2011 (Tuesday) 14:59
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Softbox - quick question

 
Erik_L
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Dec 13, 2011 14:59 |  #1

So I took this picture the other day using a small softbox - I think it's 16x24 or so. It was pretty close to the subject:

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7167/6502179399_4cab60323c_z.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com …/12276287@N05/6​502179399/  (external link)
Farewell (external link) by Erik Lauritsen (external link), on Flickr

However, I can't help but feel the light is pretty damn harsh. The black bar at the bottom is due to using 1/320 (intentional). I've never had a lot of luck lighting small things with a softbox and getting actual soft light. Should I use a smaller softbox even closer, or a larger one but a little further away?

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hawkeye63
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Dec 13, 2011 15:01 |  #2

The larger the light source the softer the light. The closer the subject is to the light, the larger the light source is relative to the object.




  
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Erik_L
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Dec 13, 2011 15:03 |  #3

hawkeye63 wrote in post #13539307 (external link)
The larger the light source the softer the light. The closer the subject is to the light, the larger the light source is relative to the object.

I figured as much, but I can only move the light so-close before it gets in the picture. Is having a light 10x the size of the subject, 1 foot away really any better than one 1/4 the size?


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krb
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Dec 13, 2011 15:04 |  #4

Erik_L wrote in post #13539315 (external link)
I figured as much, but I can only move the light so-close before it gets in the picture. Is having a light 10x the size of the subject, 1 foot away really any better than one 1/4 the size?

Better depends on what you want, but it will certainly be softer.


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gonzogolf
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Dec 13, 2011 15:05 |  #5

Your best option is a larger source closer to the camera. The key is apparent size, which is a combination of size and distance (sun is huge, but far away=Small light source). We cant tell you without more information which of those two options would give you the softest light. The problem with your sample photo is that its contrasty and full of hard edges so softness or hardness of light can be less certain.




  
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JOSX2
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Dec 13, 2011 15:07 |  #6

hawkeye63 wrote in post #13539307 (external link)
The larger the light source the softer the light. The closer the subject is to the light, the larger the light source is relative to the object.

x2 on what hawkeye said.

But also (& someone please correct me if I'm wrong)...the closer the light source, the harsher the contrast between light & dark will be too, so that'd produce harsher shadows. The further away, the contrast lessens to soften the shadows. Inverse Square law: http://www.adorama.com …erse-Square-Law-AdoramaTV (external link). Fast forward to 4:15

You'd prolly want a larger lightsource further away from your subject


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Erik_L
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Dec 13, 2011 15:53 |  #7

JOSX2 wrote in post #13539333 (external link)
x2 on what hawkeye said.

But also (& someone please correct me if I'm wrong)...the closer the light source, the harsher the contrast between light & dark will be too, so that'd produce harsher shadows. The further away, the contrast lessens to soften the shadows. Inverse Square law: http://www.adorama.com …erse-Square-Law-AdoramaTV (external link). Fast forward to 4:15

You'd prolly want a larger lightsource further away from your subject

Ah. Sounds good. This makes a lot of sense... unless of course someone says you're wrong, in which case - shut up! :D

I'll tinker a bit - Seemed like I was losing "dynamic range" and this would explain it best. Thanks!

For example, this picture:

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It was lit with the bare flash pointed 45 degrees at the opposite wall/celing and appears a lot softer to me, other than the shadow to the immediate left side of the camera.... and you can just ignore those blown highlights :)

And yes, my room is painted 18% grey :D

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JOSX2
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Dec 13, 2011 16:14 |  #8

Erik_L wrote in post #13539566 (external link)
It was lit with the bare flash pointed 45 degrees at the opposite wall/celing and appears a lot softer to me, other than the shadow to the immediate left side of the camera.... and you can just ignore those blown highlights :)

yup...that's cause the wall/ceiling is a huge light source in comparison to the subject & is further away, giving you some nice soft light that's not very contrasty


website: Jim O'Sullivan Photography (external link) | Facebook (external link)
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Speedlights:   |- 3 Yongnou YN600EX-RT Speedlights -|- YN-E3-RT Transmitter -|
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Softbox - quick question
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