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Photographers and filmmaker love softbox because it is one the most versatile accessories on set. A softbox is a light modifier that confines light from an artificial source into a wire framed box and releases it through a diffusion. It is attached to the light source to minimizes harsh shadows and produce soft lights. Its interior wall is usually reflective to increase the light intensity as it escapes out through the front diffusion screen. Softbox modifiers alter the diffusion and softness of the light, depending on their size and shape. The larger the softbox, the softer and more shadowless that light becomes.


There are various sizes of softbox available for filmmakers and photographers. The difference between the varying sizes of softbox can be seen in the quality of light. Larger units produce softer light and undefined shadows while smaller units produce harsher light and sharper shadows.

various sizes of softbox


Some of the different types of softbox include the following:

1. Parabolic softbox

It is like a hybrid of the traditional umbrella light modifier with a classic umbrella shape but is much deeper. Parabolic softbox usually also have an option for a front diffuser cover and/or a grid. By design, this “wraps” the light around the subject, avoiding any unwanted spill into the background.

parabolic umbrella

2. Lantern softbox

This softbox has the shape of a lantern. Because of their shape, they give a wide spill of smooth, omnidirectional light meaning that light emits from all directions (except for the back of the light). This means that it isn’t really a light modifier that you intend to control.


3. Rectangle softbox

Just as the name implies, this softbox is rectangular in shape and is among the simplest modifiers to use. It is popular among photographers because it is versatile and can be used for almost any type of photography.

4. Umbrella Softbox

This modifier is mostly used in photography. The umbrella softbox come in two types .i.e. shoot-through and reflective. Shoot-through umbrella softbox is made of white diffusion fabric and pointed towards the subject. The light is softened and diffused as it passes through the fabric, giving a soft light. Reflective umbrellas on the other hand are lined with silver or white fabric and the light is reflected back on the subject. While both types of umbrella softbox give a soft light, the reflective umbrellas give a crisper look. They also don’t lose as much light as the shoot-through umbrellas. It is also important to note that reflective umbrellas can come with either a gold or silver interior wall as illustrated in the pictures below.

different types of the umbrella modifier

5. Octagon Softbox

An octagon softbox just like the octagon has 8 sides. It is subtly different from rectangle softbox due to the shape of light they cast. They are built from the same materials as rectangle softbox but they are in an octagonal shape instead. They are great for fashion and portraiture photography. It also give a lovely circular reflection in your subject’s eyes that can look more natural than the rectangular reflection that rectangle softbox gives.

CREDIT: https://spectrum-brand.com/blogs/news/crash-course-to-softbox-modifiers-parabolic-lantern-rectangle-octagon-umbrella