Author Topic: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.  (Read 3468 times)

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Offline Jenna Hauck

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Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« on: January 05, 2015, 05:55 PM »
I'm looking for any tips or ideas on how you can make your own softbox to attach to standard off-camera Nikon flashes (SB900 and SB910).

I was thinking of starting with tomato cages and snipping/bending the wires to fit around each flash. But that may be a bit too small.

I rarely (never) use softboxes and studio lights, so it doesn't make sense for me to purchase a kit.

If you've made anything like this before, please post your ideas!

« Last Edit: January 05, 2015, 06:17 PM by Jenna Hauck »

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Offline Fred Lum

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2015, 06:47 PM »
I appreciate wanting to MacGuyver a modifier but in this case, it shouldn't break the budget to buy either a) an umbrella or b) a proper soft box. I use a 16 x 20 Chimera and with the proper speedring and stand attachment, does the majority of my run and gun shooting. A small ballhead allows positioning.

As well, cages won't pack down at all which would make the exercise kind of pointless imo. Would suck to put a tomato cage in the trunk only to later find it has punctured your expensive GoreTex jackets or worse, damage your gear.

Basically, embrace the lights and modifiers cuz one day it's gonna save your bacon.

If you're committed to trying to make a box, as noted elsewhere, foam core would be the easiest route. Attaching this to a light stand and flash is another hurdle as I wouldn't risk attaching the hack box to a $500 speedlight.

Good luck and post some photos if you do end up making a soft box ;)


Fred

Offline Blair Gable

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2015, 06:47 PM »
iPolitics photog Matthew Usherwood once made one out of a box of beer and some translucent paper while in college. They usually already have a little rectangle cutout in the middle that you can expand.


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Offline Jenna Hauck

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2015, 08:54 PM »
Ah, yes! Beer boxes! These are the types of ideas I'm looking for.

Beer boxes and foam core. That may work.

Fred, I just drained my photo fund by buying a new lens and more at The Camera Store, so I really am just looking for a cheap disposable softbox solution for now.


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Offline Jimmy Jeong

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2015, 09:25 PM »
Plus one to Fred's advice. You can usually find a used shoot-thru umbrella for $20 or less.
JJ


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Offline Fred Lum

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2015, 10:47 PM »
If you just need to soften the light a bit, try a large, preferably empty, yogurt container. poor man's Gary Fong ;)

Just to be clear, this will be mounted on a light stand or attached to an on camera speedlight ?


Fred

Offline Jenna Hauck

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2015, 10:58 AM »
I technically don't have any light stands, just a tripod and some Gorillapods. So it would be mounted to the off-camera speedlight which will be attached to either a tripod or Gorillapod.


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Offline Fred Lum

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2015, 11:41 AM »
Any modifiers I use (see previous mention of 16x 20 soft boxes) are attached to stands as that's more secure than attaching it to the speed light. A Jobi isn't going to handle a soft box very well. Seriously, umbrellas and stands are pretty cheap, scour kijiji or Craigslist.

I should have asked, what are you planning to light with this soft box ?


Fred

Offline Jenna Hauck

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2015, 01:48 PM »
It's for a team photo for my former roller derby team. I don't know if it'll be indoors or outdoors yet. And if it is indoors, I don't know how well lit the room will be.

Plus I'll be doing individual head shots.


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Offline Fred Lum

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2015, 02:56 PM »
a team photo is going to need several lights on stands. you could do it with 2 straight flashes. have you considered bouncing off a couple of V flats (2 foam core panels taped together in a V).


Fred

Offline David Buzzard

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2015, 05:43 PM »
Do yourself a favour and get a small sized soft box and the speed light connection kit, along with a good split light stand.  That's something I use on a more or less daily basis. 

You can light a pretty good sized group with a regular speed light in a small soft box, as long as you're not in a really bright area.  If you're shooting at f/4 at ISO 800, then the flash is reactively powerful compared to the existing light.  If you're out in bright sunlight, you're probably going to need some more lighting.  Here's a family portrait I shot on Sunday, which is lit by my SB-900 flash inside a small soft box, so you can do it.



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Offline David Buzzard

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2015, 05:54 PM »
Sorry about the spelling the last post, the auto correct must be in overdrive today.


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Offline Jenna Hauck

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2015, 07:23 PM »
Okay, so y'all are making me lean towards the "just buy a damn softbox" suggestion. :-)

Which brands of softboxes/umbrellas/light stands would you recommend? Any cheap brands that you would avoid?


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Offline David Buzzard

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2015, 08:11 PM »
Photoflex has this kit for about US$200.  It's pretty much the same set up I use, except I have a heavier duty stand.  https://www.photoflex.com/products/small-litedome-deluxe-kit


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Offline Blair Gable

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Re: Advice needed: How to make your own softbox.
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2015, 09:00 PM »
Manfrotto or Cheetah light stands. Manfrotto Lite Tite adapter. Chimera XS soft box w/ flash speed ring.


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