Drama In A Box – Gridded Strip Softbox

Drama In A Box – Gridded Strip Softbox

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So, what do you need to use when you are looking for softbox-like light quality without having light spill all over the place? The answer is simple, the gridded softbox. It gives you the same control over light as normal grid spots that you’d throw in front of a normal barebulb light, but now with soft, beautiful light. I’ve always loved using grid spots on my barebulbs, but the light can just be so harsh on a subject’s face, especially when it is one of the key lights. The gridded softbox works on that same principle, controlling the light and only letting it hit a small portion of a subject, but now you can get those pleasing contrasts and skin tones you can’t get very well with barebulb lighting.

That’s typically my problem too, wanting that gorgeous, soft light on my subjects (usually female), but having trouble trying to keep the light off of other elements of the photo. It’s not an easy task, that is, until now. Notice the photo below, my subject is literally 2-3 feet away from a black sheet used for a background, yet no light is spilling onto it. Even though it is a black sheet, if you were using a normal softbox for a light modifier, you’d have light spill onto the sheet and you’d get a little grey tint to the background. The grid added to the softbox directs the light on just my subject… a very good thing in this case.

It’s definitely not a light for everyone, at least not for a key light source, I’m sure most photographers use this kind of modifier as a fill light. Something to keep the light out of the camera lens, preventing flare and loss of contrast. It does make a very nice kicker light.

Like most new toys, I had to try them out the second they arrive at my door. The photos you see here are some test shots. Always a good idea to play with a new light modifier before you show up on-location to shoot a paying client. Below is a photo-aware shot of my lighting setup for this test shoot. You can clearly see the grids on the softboxes and how it is directing the light much more aggressively than just a normal softbox does.

I’ve been using an array of light modifiers for years, all kinds of softboxes, umbrellas, grid spots, but never a grid on a softbox. This is a fun addition. I will be ordering these grid adapters for my other softboxes. And with mood and drama being a key ingredient in the majority of my photo compositions, you can bet that these grids will get some heavy use.