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Softbox Lighting: How to Use | 5 Best Ones

Do you need help capturing captivating photos due to harsh lighting? If so, mastering softbox lighting is essential. But how should you make use of this game-changing tool? In this article, we’ll equip you with steps to utilize softbox lighting effectively. Additionally, we will discuss the five best softboxes that will provide you with stunning results.

What Is a Softbox Light?

A softbox light is a lighting modifier that provides gentle, equally distributed illumination. The outer fabric scatters the light, spreading it uniformly and decreasing shadow intensity, thus creating soft foaming lighting.

Photographers commonly use softboxes to achieve gentle, natural lighting in portrait, product, and studio photography. The soft, directional glow adds dimension to subjects and enhances details.

With adjustable sizes and shapes, softbox lights offer creative control, making them indispensable for capturing professional-looking images with a smooth, appealing quality of light.

Softbox Lighting Alternatives

Softbox vs. Umbrella

umbrella softbox
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Umbrellas are reflective surfaces that bounce light onto your subjects, creating a softer look. The significant difference between a softbox and an umbrella lies in control. Softboxes provide more directional and controlled light. On the other hand, umbrellas offer a broader, more scattered illumination.

Softboxes are preferred when precision in lighting direction is crucial, while umbrellas are excellent for quick and widespread coverage.

Softbox Vs. Ring Light

ring light
Photo by Moreno Matković on Unsplash

Photographers use ring lights for fashion and portrait photography. It produces a distinctive, shadow-free illumination by surrounding the camera lens. Softboxes, on the other hand, deliver a larger and more dispersed light.

The key difference lies in the lighting characteristics. Softboxes generate a soft light with gradual transitions between shadows and highlights, while ring lights ensure truly even illumination, maintaining equal light distribution on both sides of the subject.

Softbox vs. LED Panel

LED panel
Photo by Aditya Wardhana on Unsplash

LED panels are flat, thin light sources that excel in providing consistent and adjustable lighting. Softboxes create a softer and more controlled light. This is made possible with the help of their diffusion panels.

LED panels are often more versatile in color temperature adjustments. This makes them suitable for various shooting conditions. However, softboxes excel in producing a more natural and flattering light quality. Depending on the context and preferences, one may choose an LED panel for flexibility or a softbox for a classic, soft lighting effect.

Softbox Vs. Beauty Dish

beauty dish softbox
Image credit:

Beauty dishes are specialized modifiers. They are known for producing a distinctive, crisp, and contrasted light. Softboxes are prized for their uniform and diffused illumination. The critical difference lies in the character of the light. A beauty dish creates more defined shadows and highlights. This often enhances facial features.

Softboxes, on the other hand, have broader diffusion. This makes them better suited for achieving a smooth and subtle lighting effect.

Softbox Vs. Parabolic Lighting

Parabolic light
Image credit:

Parabolic lighting systems employ parabolic reflectors to concentrate and guide light. Photographers recognize them for creating a more focused and robust light than softboxes.

Softboxes, with their diffusers, spread light out more evenly. The key contrast is how the light behaves – parabolic lighting gives a more pinpoint and spotlight effect, while softboxes offer a gentler and broader illumination.

How to Choose Softbox Lighting

Choosing the proper softbox lighting is crucial. It helps achieve the desired photographic results. Some factors you should consider include:

Quality of Light

Check how good the light looks. Look for one that produces even, flattering illumination with minimal shadows. High-quality materials, such as durable fabric and a well-designed inner reflective surface, contribute to better light quality.


Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

The shape of the softbox influences how the light disperses. A rectangular softbox creates a more extended, directional light, while a square one produces even illumination. Consider your specific needs and the desired lighting effect when choosing between softboxes with different shapes.

Color Compatibility

Photo from Istockphoto

The color of your softbox can change how your photo feels. Choose a color that works perfectly with your subject and the mood you want to portray. Some softboxes keep a natural color vibe, while others might add warmth or coolness. Be mindful of how the color may interact with your scene.


For photographers on the move, how easy it is to carry the softbox matters a lot. Choose one you can assemble and take apart effortlessly to move it around quickly. Go for materials that are light but still strong to make carrying hassle-free and efficient.


Softboxes come in different sizes for different needs. Consider your subject’s size and the desired lighting effect. Bigger softboxes give a softer, more diffused light, while smaller ones are good for focused illumination. Select a size that suits your shooting style and the scale of your subjects.

Quality of Stand

quality stand
Photo by tyler hendy from Pexels

The softbox is only as stable as its stand. Ensure the stand is sturdy and adjustable to different heights. A good stand doesn’t just keep the softbox safe. It lets you put the light in just the right spot for the perfect look in your photos.

How To Use Softbox Lighting

Step 1: Get Your Gear Ready

Get your essentials together. They include:

  • Camera
  • Lens
  • Softbox
  • Flattering backdrop
  • Flash or studio strobe, securely set up on a lighting stand

Step 2: Mount Your Softbox To Your Light Source

softbox lighting

Connect your softbox to your chosen light source. Ensure a secure attachment, allowing the light to pass through the softbox effectively.

Step 3: Position The Light Near Your Subject

softbox lighting guide

Place the light source equipped with the softbox close to your subject. Experiment with angles to achieve the desired lighting direction and coverage.

Step 4: Adjusting The Softbox Distance

softbox lighting tutorial

Fine-tune the distance between the softbox and your subject. Closer positioning results in softer, more diffused light, while pulling back can create a slightly more defined effect. Find the balance that suits your vision.

Best Softbox Lighting Kits In 2024

Best Overall: Fovitec SPK10-037 3-Light 2500W Fluorescent Softbox Lighting Kit

Fovitec SPK10-037 3-Light 2500W Fluorescent Softbox Lighting Kit
Image credit:

With three 2500W fluorescent lights, this kit ensures brilliant, consistent lighting for your studio. The lightweight design, efficient cooling, and wireless RF trigger are ideal for professionals seeking reliable, high-quality lighting.


  • Power rating per head: 2500W
  • Power range: Not specified
  • Weight of head: 3.2 lbs
  • Cooling fan: No
  • Modelling lamp/s: 45W
  • Wireless RF trigger: Not specified
  • Supplied stands: Three 7’6″ each
  • Supplied light modifier/s: Three 20″x28″ softboxes


  • Three softboxes provide versatile lighting setups
  • Modeling lamps for previewing light direction
  • High power output for professional lighting


  • No cooling fan for extended use


$ 219.95

Best Budget: Godox 2-Pack SK400II 800Ws Photo Studio Strobe Flash Kit

Godox 2-Pack SK400II 800Ws Photo Studio Strobe Flash Kit
Image credit:

The Godox SK400II offers exceptional value without compromising quality for budget-conscious professionals. This 2-pack strobe flash kit provides 800Ws of power, making it suitable for various photography needs. The lightweight design, cooling fan, and optional wireless RF trigger make it a reliable and affordable choice for photographers on a budget.


  • Power rating per head: 400Ws
  • Power range: 6 stops
  • Weight of head: 4.6 lbs
  • Cooling fan: Yes
  • Modelling lamp/s: 150W
  • Wireless RF trigger: Sold separately
  • Supplied stands: Yes
  • Supplied light modifier/s: Two softboxes


  • Flash heads equipped with comprehensive features
  • Abundance of inclusive accessories
  • Budget-friendly pricing


  • Lacks of an included wireless trigger



Best Features: Elinchrom ELC 125/500 TTL Set

soft-box lighting
Image credit:

The Elinchrom ELC 125/500 TTL set is known for its advanced features. It has power ratings ranging from 131Ws to 522Ws, a smart pro-active cooling system, and the Elinchrom Skyport Pro trigger. This kit suits professionals who demand precision and control in their lighting setup.


  • Power rating per head: 131Ws / 522Ws
  • Power range: 5 stops / 7 stops
  • Weight of head: 2,000g/2,500g
  • Cooling fan: Smart pro-active cooling system
  • Modelling lamp/s: 20W
  • Wireless RF trigger: Elinchrom Skyport Pro trigger
  • Supplied stands: Yes
  • Supplied light modifier/s: No


  • Intuitively crafted user interface for seamless operation
  • Abundance of sophisticated modes available


  • Separate purchases required for softboxes



Best for Compact Space: MOUNTDOG Softbox Lighting Kit 20″X28″

softbox lighting
Image credit:

The MOUNTDOG Softbox Lighting Kit is your ideal companion when space is a premium. Compact yet powerful, this kit features a 20″X 28″ softbox design that delivers quality lighting without taking up much room. Included stands and light modifiers make it perfect for photographers in limited spaces.


  • Power rating per head: 135W
  • Power range: Not specified
  • Weight of head: 2.5 lbs
  • Cooling fan: No
  • Modelling lamp/s: 55W
  • Wireless RF trigger: No
  • Supplied stands: Yes
  • Supplied light modifier/s: Two 20×28-inch softboxes


  • It has a quick setup process
  • User-friendly


  • Limited customization of lighting



Best for Vloggers: RALENO Softbox Photography Lighting Kit

RALENO Softbox Photography Lighting Kit
Image credit:

Illuminate your vlogs with the RALENO Softbox Photography Lighting Kit. Designed with vloggers in mind, this kit provides the perfect lighting setup for clear and professional video content creation, offering a balance of quality, affordability, and ease of use.


  • Power rating per head: 85W
  • Power range: Not specified
  • Weight of head: Not specified
  • Cooling fan: No
  • Modelling lamp/s: Yes, 85W
  • Wireless RF trigger: No
  • Supplied stands: Yes
  • Supplied light modifier/s: Two softboxes


  • Sturdy, adjustable light stand for versatile positioning
  • Softbox diffuses light evenly, ideal for portraits
  • Quick setup and takedown for convenient on-location shooting


  • The bulb quality in the kit is subpar
  • Each light handles only one bulb, limiting brightness options




A good softbox lighting kit is paramount for professional photography. It enhances versatility, ensuring optimal lighting in diverse settings. Knowing the 5 best softbox lighting kits in 2024, you can now choose the one that aligns with your needs.

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