If you can swallow this yucky corporate video there’s probably a nugget there for you.
I use the extra small softbox, as you can see in my bag, but I always use it hand held because the principle:
the larger your light source, the softer your light
Only applies if you are computing your exposure solely on the quantity of light that is coming from that source.
Your light source is relative to the subject.
A 18″ softbox is a small light source compare to a 70 inch man – so what is it good for?
I often use the ST-E2 transmitter and keep the flash on TTL allowing me to control the contrast using Exposure compensation on the camera. In this way, you can see how I’ve blended the daylight balance in the room – the tunsten source in the background – and finally the softbox providing the ‘key’ or main illumination shaping the subject.
There aren’t any shadows though, because my baseline exposure is the light in the room. I’ve used the soft box to create a shaping highlight. So there’s a bright shaped area, and a darker flatter area.
In this shot an assistant was holding the light (as I can only shoot hand held – light to my left). Here again you can see how I have blended the ambient and bumped it up with the softbox. Using your light to see shapes is really the psychological core of ‘making light real’. Light gives you that power to sculpt and form.
To achieve this exposure with your camera in TTL auto flash as well as Aperture, Shutter Speed, or Program exposure mode. Adjust your main exposure compensation value to -1EV. That’s it – the flash exposure will correct for everything else – easy eh?
Upcoming later, I have a video clip titled the 3 minute portrait, that will show how I’m using the mini softbox. So the question of size must come up at some point….and you have to know the right answer when you’ve found the right question.
Is the 18 inch softbox big enough?
NO – so (moments later) I switched to using the ceiling as my soft-box.
Size is relative to proximity (distance from the subject) and you want to always have a softbox as big as or larger than your subject.