Softbox Lighting and Theory

Learn all you need to know about the ever-popular softbox in this highly informative live photography workshop, where Karl takes a closer look at these versatile modifiers, explaining how they work and what sets them apart from other light shapers.

This show answers common questions such as “What is a softbox used for?”, “What size softbox should I buy?” and “What’s the difference between softbox and umbrella lighting?” Whether you’re relatively new to softboxes or have been using them for some time, this show covers both the fundamental and more advanced knowledge you need to get the most from your softbox.

In addition to looking at the theory and science behind them, Karl also goes into detail about the Inverse Square Law, how this can impact your photography and how you can use it to take complete control of your lighting. He also demonstrates multiple lighting setups, showing you how you can be incredibly creative with just a few lights.

In this photography workshop we cover the following:

  • Softbox lighting
  • How softboxes work
  • The difference between different softbox sizes
  • Softbox accessories
  • How to use softboxes
  • Understanding the Inverse Square Law
  • Softbox lighting setups

You can also read more about softboxes here.

If you have any questions about this show, please use the comment section below.


  1. Hi, Karl. I was wondering if adding grilles would harden the quality of light, and how many steps should I compensate for doubling the distance of my lamp according to the inverse square law?

  2. Hi Karl, great content, thanks for that! When it comes to the inverse square law, I wonder, to which degree, if any, does a narrow grid “collimating” the light affect the falloff with distance? In theory it should lower it, but is this of practical importance?
    Thanks again!
    Cheers, Harry

    1. Hi Harry, yes in all instances where the light is collimated then the fall off will be less. Grids however are ‘artificial’ collimators as they simply block the light from going elsewhere rather than redirecting it so you are only left with light that can escape forwards whilst a great deal of it is built up as heat and absorbed into the black metal, this is also why you loose so much light exposure with a grid. Fresnels are much better as the light is ‘captured’ and redirected forwards so less loss of energy. The inverse square law is still noticeable over distance though even with a fresnel but true inverse square law is related to light emanating from a point light source (which technically doesn’t exist)- You might like this chapter where I explore the practical implications of the inverse square law more –

      1. Hi again, and thanks again. Thank you for the swift and clear answer plus the interesting link! Highly appreciated!!!
        Have a great day!

  3. Going big, would it make sense to use two strip lights 30×120 without the front diffuser behind a scrim if you do not have a big softbox?

  4. Hi Karl. I’m not good at English and take the time to watch each recorded live for 5 hours. Would you please add captions to all videos for me?

    1. Hi, we are gradually adding captions (and other languages) to all our classes but we have a team of people working on this an unfortunately it takes time, especially to keep up with our live shows. Most of our normal classes have captions though.

  5. Good refresher course. I may get a compact beauty dish by next year. May get a name-brand entry-level single strobe for product photography. Maybe in 24 months work with a model to photography some fashion jewelry for my portfolio too.

  6. Hi Karl,
    Thanks for all this videos, I am learning a lot from you, I am a landscape photographer mostly, and this field is very interesting.

    My question is the following,
    When stiffany is being photographed with the softbox 75 or the the two small 30×120, there are some concentric shades coming from the light, so there is one concentric shading on the background for the 75 shots, and two one each for the 30×120, the concentric lights reduce some when applying the window mask to correct for flare, but its still there. Please could you comment on that?

    1. Hi and thank you I’m very glad to hear you are enjoying the platform. With regards your questions on this video (and any other video) we kindly ask our members if they could detail the time in the videos at which they are wanting clarification that way it becomes easier for myself or one of the team to handle any training support questions and note it down for future reference. If you could reply please with the times I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. All the best Karl.

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