Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Doorway Softbox

If you've attended a Small Strobes, Big Results workshop, you know that I carry a light modifier which is "light weight" and "inexpensive"and one that I feel is indispensable. It is a simple piece of ripstop nylon material that I can use in all sorts of cleaver ways.

I can tape this material on to a wall to achieve a more color neutral bounce, or I can place this nylon material over a window where RAW sunlight is pouring through a window, turning it into a soft light source. Another way I use this material is to tape it to a doorway and shoot a light through it.



I like using long hallway settings for shooting portraits, it allow me to throw the background out of focus which give a nice sense of depth to the photograph. A lot of times however, the hallways are to narrow to place a light modifier on a stand or perhaps placing an effective bounce for the lighting your subject. By taping my nylon sheet into the doorway and placing a strobe be hind it, I effectively have made a Doorway Softbox measuring 3 foot by 7 foot.

I bought my ripstop nylon at a local fabric store for less than $12 dollars, pretty cheap modifier if you ask me. Here is the final image shot for my client.

I wanted to draw you attention to a few up coming events I'll be attending. On May 11th, I'll be speaking to the Dallas Chapter of the Profession Photographers Association, and than follow up with a one day Small Strobes, Big Results Workshop on May 12th in Dallas, TX.

On May 14th & 15th, I'll be in the Bay Area, Oakland to be exact, teach a two day lighting workshop for the Nikonian's Organization. This workshop is for all those Nikon users that want to get the most of their CLS system. We'll be shooting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Union City, CA.

4 comments:

Noel has... said...

David, a great and simple idea that gives fantastic results and doesn't cost a fortune. I'll be heading down to our local market on Saturday to get myslef a sheet.

I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog,
Best of luck

Noel

Damien Franco said...

That's a pretty handy tip.

I imagine that this technique would work especially well in a "tight" hallway where the light from the "doorway softbox" would also bounce off the opposite wall and fill in the shadows.

I'll have to try that out.

Dave said...

A great place to get a nice piece of rip stop nylon is Target. They sell a shear nylon shower curtain liner for $10. It works great as a diffuser.

john said...

david- It's was a pleasure to see your workshop for the DPPA meeting the other night. I loved your attitude and style and most of all ability to master light control.

I do quite a bit of work as well commercially but not on your level and I'm VERY intrigued by the ripstop nylon that you use. I'm often in these tight hallways and find this a great solution to my ills..

Could you explain to me in simple terms how you would go about your camera settings and fill for the shadow side? If you don't have enough fill on the other side would you just use another strobe to fill it in? What about a 6 x 4Foot panel on the other side? I have a six foot collapasable frame with interchangable fabrics I can use as fill if need be... I'm know there are thousands of ways to do it but I'm curious how in most cases you would handle the situation when dealing with tungsten ambient in a tight hallway. Would you meter your ambient for the shadow side and then add your ripstop light as you key?