Another Softbox Tip

Tonight, I shot my model with her new short hairdo using the simplest of means. And yet, they look like studio shots. With the minimum of post work done, the images look like this – and this was an hour or two ago:

What did I use for this? Simply an available background, a camera, and two speedlights.

One on the camera, and one on a lightstand, equipped with the Honl Photo Traveller 16 softbox. This softbox, which is much larger than the Traveller 8, looks like this:

I used a Canon 580EX as the flash. The softbox comes equipped with an inside baffle so that the light spreads evenly:

(Can you tell that Halloween was a couple of days ago?)

The baffle makes the light spead evenly, but it does mean the Traveller 16 is not the obvious choice for outdoors daytime, where power is at a premium. But for outdoors on darker days, or for indoors, it is perfect:

I used this setup:

  1. Canon 1Dx with 24-70mm lens.
  2. Camera on manual, 1/200th sec, 800 ISO, f/5.6.
  3. Speedlight on the camera: 600EX, set as master, but also firing, bounced off the ceiling on the opposite side to the softbox.
  4. Main speedlight: 580EX II as slave, with the Honl Traveller 16 softbox on a lightstand.
  5. Master:Slave ratio set as 1:8 (meaning the bounced light just adds a little fill light – three stops below the key light).

Always take a pullback shot! Here’s the main flash:

The results? They are, as you see, very good.

One thing I like about the Honl softboxes is the nice round catch light:

The point of this post: That with simple tools, you can get very good results. You do not always need the clinical studio setting. In fact, I avoid it as much as possible: clinical means intimidating, and strobes mean arthritis.

If you can do it with one or two speedlights, as I did here: do it!


4 thoughts on “Another Softbox Tip

  1. Hi Michael,
    I attended your basic DSLR course three week ago & I have signed up for the advanced course that’s coming up in a couple of weeks. I really enjoyed the first course and I am looking forward to the next!
    I have been looking at the Honl photo Traveller 8 soft box( from the link off your website) and just wanted to ask you a question regarding the Traveller 8. Would you recommend the 8 for outdoor photography? The results from the above shoot are fantastic!, but you say this is more suited for indoor shoots or in low light.
    I’m just curious on your thoughts.

      • Thank you Michael for the quick clarification! This answer has “sealed the deal” for the Traveller 8 purchase!
        See you in a couple of weeks!

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