We all know the best light shines in the early morning and late afternoon. That’s when the sun gives us the gift of soft, rich, radiant light. But there are times when a little artificial fill is called for, when a dash of flash can be used to blend in with the natural light and kick things up a notch.
You don’t want to overpower the scene, so you set the strobe to Secret Agent mode. (TIP: Dial in 007.) Or, if your speedlight doesn’t have that feature, dial down the output and use a soft box.
In the above snapshot my half-asleep wife is sipping coffee from a humongous mug (made all the more humongous by my 18mm lens). Not suitable for framing, I admit, but it illustrates a point.
I had just received a SoftBox LTp from LumiQuest and was anxious to try it out. I attached it quickly to a speedlight via the self-adhesive Velcro, and dashed into the kitchen—fired. The strobe was handheld off-camera at a low angle at left, while nature provided the key light through the window on my right.
The star here was the 10" x 14" LTp. It softened the shadows and matched the golden sunlight. It filled-in the subject’s face and wrapped around her shoulder, providing separation from the b.g.
Now imagine what you can do with this portable SoftBox if you take a minute to plan your shot. (“Honey, can you step away from the stove and lose the mug a sec?”)
I’ve used light modifiers from LumiQuest for years and love their stuff. But I think this baby is going to be my pet. It’s designed specifically for off-camera use. It’s about twice the size of their popular Softbox III, provides great coverage, folds flat, and fits right in the pocket of my Tenba laptop case.
Quick!—Visit LumiQuest before the sun goes down.