Strobes direct light vs softbox or shoot through umbrella.

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
NikonNature Veteran Member • Posts: 4,359
Re: Strobes direct light vs softbox or shoot through umbrella.

Alexis Cantury wrote:

Hello everyone. My question might sound simple but I would like to know if there is any drawback from using direct light in terms of color or any other technical issue against soft boxes and umbrellas.

I don't need any shadow on the products I'm shooting and I take them in a flat surface with more than 1 strobe light so my question goes to how does the color and or any other parameter might get affected?

I don't see any difference comparing the shoots from the direct light vs the other 2 (of course that I adjust the light so it have the same exposure for the sake of the comparison), but I want to know if there is anything that I'm missing, for example if editing later I will find any difference that I can't see at first glance.

I hope I made sense and thanks in advance for taking the time


Lighting is a huge topic. To try to simplify it, direct light makes your flash/strobe a small light source resulting in harsh light with sharp well-defined shadows. A modifier - umbrella, softbox, etc. - will turn it into a large light source, especially if positioned close to the subject.

With either one, if the light is positioned in front of the subject you will wash out any shadows and won't see much form or shape. If you move the light 45 degrees to the side, you get more shadows and shape, which is usually desirable. Many will use a second light on the opposite side set to a lower power to temper the shadows from the first (key) light. Many strobes or monolights have a modeling lamp that allow you to move the light around and see where highlights and shadows will fall.

Check out the Strobist website for lots of good information.

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