Digital Photography Review

Top 5 Best Softboxes For Video, Photography & YouTube Of 2021 | VG

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best softbox for video, photography

A softbox is one of the most useful lighting accessories a serious videographer, YouTuber or photographer can use. When a creator is wanting to go beyond merely letting things happen and hoping for good results, getting one of the best softboxes offers a great lighting solution.

Why use a softbox for video and photography?

Why use a softbox for video and photography?

A softbox is an enclosure around a bulb, either strobe or continuous light, comprising of reflective side and back walls and a diffusing material at the front of the light. What this does for a videographer or photographer, is creating a large source of diffused light to shine on the subject.

In use, this means that the quality of light is softer, resulting in less contrast and hard shadows. Being a large diffused source also helps eliminate harsh shadows.

Having a softbox is like placing your subject by a large window in a bright room, it looks very natural. But with a softbox, one doesn’t need to be near a window in daylight to get that natural look.

So, do you need a softbox in 2021?

Man recording a blog with lightsIf you need evenly distributed, soft light, you probably need a softbox. A ring light does a great job but a softbox will smooth out the light real nicely.

For professional videographers, fiilmmakers and YouTubers of all levels, having a softbox can change your footage dramatically and enhance your production quality.

One of the limitations to using even one of the best softboxes is also its best strength, namely the soft, nearly shadowless lighting. Sometimes, we need that contrast, we need to see light and shadow.

Top 5 Best Softboxes For Video, Photography & YouTube

1. Fovitec StudioPRO Softbox Lighting Kit

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Fovitec StudioPRO Best Softbox Lighting Kit Light ReviewFirst up on my list is the Fovitec StudioPRO kit with mostly everything a video creator or photographer would need in a lighting setup. This kit has three lights with large softboxes, three stands, one with a boom and a carrying case. Simply unpack, setup and your ready to light. Simple!

The lights themselves are two soft box enclosure with five sockets and one with a single socket. The five bulbs in the softbox put out a lot of light, even with lower wattage bulbs which was a nice touch. There is also a third single socket light which is useful as a fill light, back light or as a hair light.

Putting the single socket fixture on the stand with the boom let me position the light in just the right position as a hair light when videoing a person. Using the five socket light on the boom is also useful when positioning items on a table top for either video or still imaging, especially if close up views are required.

Fovitec StudioPRO - 3x 20"x28" best Softbox Lighting Kit contents in the box

As for the light boxes, they are slightly rectangular, which is fine, but I prefer a square softbox. In a multi light arrangement, it doesn’t make much practical difference to have square or rectangular, and while a square would give a little more light surface area for the same size, it really didn’t affect my set up.

While there is no dimmer switch on the lights, the 5 socket lights had multiple power switches. You can turn on 1, 2, 3, 4, or all 5 lights with varied combinations of the 3 switches to adjust the light output. When all 5 lights are on, the whole unit gets a little hot to the touch, so use caution when moving them around.

Fovitec StudioPRO settings on lamp

Overall I was very pleased with this softbox kit and is my number one recommendation because of it functionality, quality and price. Highly recommended!

2. LimoStudio Photography Softbox Light Lighting Kit

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LimoStudio 700W Photography Best Softbox Light Lighting Kit reviewNext up on my list is a lighting kit that will fit the bill for many videographers who simply need more light while keeping within a budget.

These are square softboxes, yeah! So I’m happy to start with. I know, I sound obsessive, but aren’t all artistic geniuses? Sure… Anyway, the lights themselves are single socket and the stands are adjustable to a nice 6 foot height.

The lights have an adjustable angle mounting, but with the softboxes attached, they don’t angle down very much. So varying the height of the stands became the way I adjusted for that lack of adjustments. Outside of a boom, that limitation happens with a lot of the softbox light kits.

As for the light quality, I was very impressed, the bulbs are corrected for daylight color balance. Actually, they seemed a little bit cooler than most other bulbs I tested, but no one else seemed to notice. So I guess I’m being picky about that. With automatic color balance on most cameras though, it isn’t likely to affect the finished production any great deal.

When it came down to it, this kit gave me some great lighting which was simple to setup and would be great for any new video creator.

3. ESDDI Softbox Photography Lighting Kit

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ESDDI Best Softbox Photography Lighting Kit reviewMoving onto the next softbox kit is the most budget friendly and affordable unit I used. Seriously, this thing is cheap!

This two light kit is also designed with umbrella style collapsible softboxes, but I didn’t have the tilting down problem I had on the other set up.

The shape of the bowl is shallower, so its shape doesn’t get in the way. Funny how I have never noticed that before with my strobes. Since the strobes are bigger than a simple light socket, it never even came up. With the shallow shape, the CFL bulb almost touches the front diffuser material, so keep an eye out for possible heating issues.

Best Softboxes

When it came to the light stands, they are shorter than most, but if you’re doing seated interviews or tabletop photography, that point becomes moot.

For me, best thing about this kit, why it made the list of best softboxes for vloggers and photographers, is how light it all is. So light, in fact, that I would be tempted to prop something on the legs to make sure I don’t accidentally tip anything over. A great pick!

4. Neewer 700W Softbox Lighting Kit

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Best Softboxes NeewerI have told you all before about how much I like the Neewer brand. I have yet to find anything disappointing from them. This kit is no exception, easily making my list of best softboxes for vloggers and photographers.

The easy to assemble softboxes are square and mount readily to the light sockets. I could tilt them down quite a bit and the stands were heavy enough to not have to worry about tilting over. These lamps came with extra long cords, which pleased me a great deal.

On some lamps, the supplied cords are so short, the plugs won’t even touch the floor when the light stand is raised all the way up. Seriously, what good is that?

You could use this without the diffuser on the front to get a harder light, but still slightly modified. It is similar to using an umbrella and provides a brighter light overall. That’s an option with most of the best softboxes on the market.

Neewer 700W Best Softboxes Lighting Kit pivot head light

The stands in this kit raised to a very tall height, allowing for all sorts of light placement options. Since the lights can tilt down to a good degree, that gives some options for product photography, such as imaging flats for sale on marketing websites.

Overall I really liked having the longer cords and the full range of motion in the adjustments. If it had a boom included in the kit, I would be hard pressed to recommend any other light over this. Cant go wrong with Neewer in 2021, the company is virtually everywhere!

5. Excelvan Photography Video Studio Lighting Kit 1250W Softbox

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Excelvan Photography Video Studio Lighting Kit 1250W Best SoftboxesAnother two light set up with a boom, this kit was a joy to use. The softboxes are rectangular and require assembly and disassembly instead of collapsing like an umbrella.

The light stands raise up to a good height and felt very secure with the softboxes mounted. As with any of these, if want to add something to the legs to make the stands more stable, go ahead, but you’re adding more things to carry around on a location shoot. Still, not a bad idea.

The sand bag doesn’t have to be filled with sand, anything can be used, but sand is probably the easiest to fine tune to exactly the counter balancing weight.

best softboxes

How much could it possibly cost them to make sure that the cords are actually usable on these lamps? The kits on this list all had usable cords, at least. Some of the kits I looked at were downright annoying with that cord issue.

This kit was quick and easy to set up and tear down, the bag made transport an undemanding chore. I liked this kit quite a lot.

Do you NEED A Softbox?

You’re going to have to ask yourself what kind of lighting would work best for you. These softboxes are great for video and photography but depending on your style, you’ll have to narrow focus.

I recommend you upgrade from a ring light or weaker lighting source. Especially when shooting during the day, . Light falls off exponentially and if you don’t have enough power, the light is useless.

If you can afford a softbox and use the 3 point lighting system, you’ll find that lighting your subject and making an interesting setting is super easy.

Owning a softbox will undoubtedly make your life easier and make your work come across as more professional and high-quality. Honestly, its usefulness is undeniable. There are also multiple ways to utilize a softbox, so feel free to experiment and try out new techniques!

What softbox is best for you?

If you’re into shooting more macro, products and details of smaller things, the Neewer 700W option will be powerful enough.

If you’re going to be lighting more scenes with people, the best softbox is the Fovitec StudioPRO. Having 3 lights adds so much depth for bigger settings and you have more to play and experiment with!

Typically for YouTubers and Vloggers, one softbox for your setups in front of the camera could be adequate. You could even look at choosing a ring light for your camera, webcam or laptop.

Best Softboxes For Photography, Video & YouTube

Any of these qualify as the best softboxes for continuous light at a reasonable price. If you would like to learn more about lighting, you can view my guide here on some great LED lights for video.

Want to know more about soft boxes and setting up lights? Check out these other cool resources below.

There are many ways you can use a softbox for portraits. Not to mention, lighting plays a crucial role in photography and having a couple of tricks up your sleeve can really come in handy! But, trying to avoid the shadows and attempting to click that perfect shot can be extremely demanding. Try out some of our softbox tips to improve your photos:

If you’re trying to capture a headshot, set it up to 40-45 degrees horizontal. This angle will cast soft light on your subject and create the perfect balance between the subject and the background. Everything that needs to be in focus will be perfectly positioned using this technique.

Use a big, flat light setup to create commercial-like shots. These photos are usually very clean, bright, and have very little distractions from the actual subject. One possible downside is that you need to place a large softbox directly in front of your subject. You might even have to use a reflector to get all the necessary lighting!

If you are experiencing trouble with the previous technique, try front fill from below. Place your softbox in the right position to get sufficient fill light!

Another interesting technique is the Hair/Separation Light. This setup is perfect for making your subject stand out from the background. Use this technique if you want your subject to really pop out of the shot, rather than melt away or be out of focus.

Finally, we advise you to use the Dual Front Facing Softboxes. Just as the name suggests, place the softboxes in front of your subject and shoot from in between them. Using this technique will allow you to get just the right amount of lighting to flatter your subject.

Softbox VS Ring Light

A pro photographer understands the importance of lighting when trying to capture a high-quality photo. The lighting can be either natural, which is quite difficult to catch, or artificial, such as by using softboxes and ring lights. Both of these accessories can be quite useful, but they’re not without their differences. The most obvious difference is the shapes. A ring light comes in a ring shape and throws sharp light beams, but can only manage to cover certain areas.

On the other hand, softboxes cast light onto the subject, similar to that of a reflector. They can come in a square, rectangle, hexagon, octagon, or even an umbrella-style design, all of which proves useful if you need to light a specific area.

In addition to their appearances, another major difference between the two accessories is that a ring light does not cast any light into the center, whereas softboxes light up the entire area!

  • 10 different lights effects with softboxes
  • How to use a softbox for portraits

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