Want to take a group portrait and don’t know which diffuser will give the right amount of light? Flipping through the online store and can not choose the “right” flash attachment? The studio administrator asks what kind of light will be needed for a photo shoot, but you do not know what to say? Do not understand how a softbox differs from an octobox and is there any difference in what to use?
We tell you why in all of these cases you can safely use only the octobox, share lighting schemes, and also explain how the octobox differs from the softbox.
What is octobox
An octobox is an attachment for a studio light or on-camera flash. It shapes and directs the flow of light that hits from the source, which is why it is called a light shaping nozzle.
Octobox is a fabric structure on a frame that expands in different directions. The frame of the nozzle is octagonal (that is why it is called “octobox” from the Latin octo — eight). Because of this design, the nozzle is very similar in shape to a circle. And this is one of the main features of the octobox — it gives round highlights in the eyes of the model, which look natural, successfully imitating natural light. That is why the octobox is one of the most popular attachments when shooting a portrait.
What makes soft light?
- Light shadows without clear boundaries, which are smoothly shaded;
- lack of bright, rough highlights;
- hiding the imperfections of the skin of the model;
- easier to retouch;
- easier to photograph and more difficult to get an ugly black and white pattern;
- gentle light, ideal for children’s and women’s portraits.
Soft light: how to create outdoors and indoors
Important: the softness of light is affected not only by the material from which the diffuser is made. The size of the light shaping nozzle has a huge impact. The larger the nozzle, the softer the light.
Octobox with honeycombs
What to do if you only have an octobox at your disposal, and the light, on the contrary, needs to be made more rigid and directional? To do this, use the octobox with honeycombs.
The honeycomb for the octobox is a special black fabric mesh that is attached immediately after the diffuser fabric. With the help of this grid, the light beam is concentrated in the center and more precisely directed, minimally scattering in different directions.
What makes hard light?
- Dark, deep shadows and bright highlights;
- contrasting black and white pattern, which makes the photo more spectacular;
- emphasizes the relief of the surface, which is good for product and food photography.
Hard light: how to get it, life hacks for shooting
Often, octoboxes are sold immediately with a set of honeycombs, so you don’t have to buy them separately. If you are photographing in a studio, just ask the administrator to put honeycombs on your octobox.
Octobox for flash
If you’re an event photographer or a reporter, an octobox for on-camera flash may be the best option. It will give a soft, but at the same time — due to its small size compared to a studio octobox — quite a contrasting light.
What you need to know when buying an octobox for on-camera flash?
- The larger the octobox for the flash, the prettier the cut-off pattern will turn out. That is why you should not take small nozzles — putting them on a flash, you will not see any difference.
- Get ready that the flash with the octobox will not be on the camera, but in your hands. The attachment can be so large that if you put it on the camera, it will hide the view. In addition, the side light looks better than a direct head-on flash. Therefore, you will need a synchronizer for your on-camera flash.
Types of synchronizers. How to set up a synchronizer
- To take pictures at a distance greater than arm’s length, look for a special holder for light shaping attachments. Club photographers shoot with them. This allows you to raise the light above a dense crowd with one hand while holding the camera in the other.
What is the difference between octobox and softbox
The octobox is a subspecies of the softbox. All soft fabric nozzles can be safely called softboxes — and octagonal octoboxes, and elongated stripboxes, and square designs. In order to somehow distinguish between them, they came up with separate names.
The octobox differs from softboxes of other shapes in round highlights in the eyes of the model and a wide beam of diffused light if the octobox is large.
Simple and interesting lighting schemes with octobox
Octobox is a large light shaping attachment. Because of this, the light is well diffused and can illuminate a uniformly large area. For example, both the model and the background at once. Thanks to this, lighting schemes with an octobox do not require many lighting fixtures. We share simple and working schemes for your shooting.
Scheme of light with an octobox on a crane
This lighting scheme is suitable for portraiture, clothing catalogs and family group photography. The trick is to raise the octobox above the model’s head and point it above and slightly in front of the model.
You will need:
- stand crane. This is a special design with a counterweight that allows you to lift even a heavy octobox and fix it above the head of the model;
- the largest octobox that can be found in the studio.
Light scheme with octobox and reflector
This is a simple and unusual lighting scheme for a portrait, which will allow you to get a bright, wide backlight, and illuminate the face of the model with a more gentle reflected light.
You will need:
- octobox, which is placed just behind the model;
- a reflector aimed at the model. It is important to put it strictly opposite the octobox. If your studio doesn’t have a reflector, ask for a white flag, a white structure that allows you to reflect or block out some of the light. At home, you can use a white cloth, whatman paper or sheets of foil. Thus, soft, reflected light from the flash will fall on the face of the model.
Light scheme with an octobox for a beauty photo shoot
A two-source light scheme that is suitable for portraits and beauty shoots, where it is important to take a close-up photo of the face and focus on makeup, eyebrows, and lips.
You will need:
– an octobox directed directly at the model or slightly to the side (as in the illustration);
– put the stripbox on the floor and aim it at the model’s chin. Instead of a stripbox, you can simply ask the model to hold the reflector in her hands.
Scheme with an octobox for the “glowing background” effect
A spectacular lighting scheme that is suitable for bust or large portraits, as well as photo shoots thought out in a high key. Due to the fact that the included octobox is behind the model, we get a gentle portrait with a glow effect.
Shooting in high key
You will need:
- octobox, standing behind the model and shining in her back;
- a beauty dish aimed at the model’s face slightly in front and to the side. Since this is a hard light source, you will get a bright and contrasty picture.
Shooting with an octobox — what to photograph
- Due to the round highlights in the eyes that octoboxes give, they are often used when shooting portraits. It looks much more aesthetically pleasing than the square highlights from softboxes.
- Again, because of the shape of the glare, flash octoboxes are often used for shooting in clubs, restaurants and at events where the emphasis is on people.
- Octoboxes are the largest of the light shaping attachments. Group portraits are photographed with them. And it doesn’t matter what you are shooting – family or business partners.
How to Shoot a Group Portrait: Composition and Equipment
- Subject shooting of large-sized objects — cars, furniture.
- Due to the fact that the octobox is able to fill a large area with light and even illuminate the background, it is used to shoot clothing catalogs.