3 Easy Parabolic Softbox Lighting Techniques - KissFoto Episode 10

Learning how to light your subjects with one light is easy. Learning how to light a subject in a variety of ways using one light and one modifier requires a bit of creativity. When you're using one light, each inch you move your modifier ultimately affects your scene. Lighting at that point becomes very purposeful.

I find that when I’m restricted to using one light and one modifier, I spend more time analyzing how the light affects the entire scene. You don’t have the ability to throw in a second light to create separation from the background or a third light to fill in shadows. In the video above, I cover 3 simple ways that I use a parabolic softbox. There are obviously limitless ways to use every modifier, but I’ve restricted this video to three lights for the purpose of time and so that you have something to build off of. I’m specifically using the 47” Westcott Zeppelin, but you can feel free to use a Softlighter II or Octabox the same way.

Thanks for watching! I hope you guys have a great day.

If you have ANY questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below.

Here is one of the final images from this video. You can find the rest on my Facebook Page.


Jeff Rojas's picture

Jeff Rojas is an American photographer, author and educator based in New York City. His primary body of work includes portrait and fashion photography that has been published in both Elle and Esquire. Jeff also frequents as a photography instructor. His teaching experience includes platforms like CreativeLive, WPPI, the Photo Plus Expo, and APA.

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Awesome article and shots Jeff! I love the one light technique. I position my softlighter ii almost as an overhead light in front of my subject. Kids squiggle a little more so I found it to be a little more forgiving in the case that they turn a bit. Keep up the great articles man!

Thanks so much Bert! I've got to give it to you... I tried photographing kids... I just don't have the patience. lol. Saw your photo on Facebook and loved it. :) Keep up the great work! :D

Awesome Sr

Thank you Roberto! :)

The third set up in particular works really well. Going to try that, thanks

Thanks so much Mark, it's one of my favorite. :)

Thanks so much for the kind words! I'm glad that I could be of help. :)

wow awesome light!

Thanks Stefano! :)

It really is a great video, you are a good teacher and very articulate... I loved it. The result shows. Thank you very much for your generosity ...keep them coming...I'll be watching!

Thank you for the kind words Denis! :) I'm glad that I could be of help! :)

Enjoyed the examples...well done. Although, I have to ask; do you really need a Parabolic formed umbrella/box if you're going to double-diffuse it? Wouldn't it really be more just like an regular octabank that is simply more round on the edges?

Thank you for sharing.

That's a great point! The Octabank would make a great alternative, but you're right about the edges. :)

wow... thank you for this!!!

Anytime! Thanks for watching Mitchell! :)

Above all we must always thank humility. And people who like to share like you. It is always good view

Thank you! :)

I've been following you a while Jeff and I gotta say, I think this is the best series of images from you(for my taste). Bravo!
Regards from Weehawken!

Thanks so much Chris! :)

Thank you for sharing.

Thanks for watching! :)

Awesome and interesting!

Thank you! :)

Really great demo using a single light. I love the Zeppelin line and have used both the 47 and 59 inch for both dance and publicity.

Thank you! Awesome!

I hope some of the articles are helpful. Thanks

Great video...

Thank you! :)

Hi Jeff. This video was great!! Any suggestions for using a rectangular softbox? I am just getting into this type of lighting and can't yet afford the equipment you mentioned above. I have a softbox and alienbees b800 light, as well as some umbrellas and flashes, but i really like the soft light technique you used here. any suggestions?

That's a great question and would depend on your budget! Shoot me an email: info@sajorffej.com

Excellent video! Can I ask why the light is tilted so much (45 degrees)? Is that to get more light on the face rather than the body? (and how about brightspots on the forehead)

Thank you! :) That is completely subjective... I personally don't mind the highlights on the forehead unless they are completely blown out.

Thank you for the tips - the shots look amazing! I don't have the octabox so i'm thinking of using the silver umbrella (backwards position) + use a diffuser to cover the opening end (not sure if that's descriptive enough) so it looks like a diy octabox.. :D We'll see how that works out haha!

Awesome and thank you! :)

Hi Jeff, thanks for the great tips. Just curious where you get your backdrop seen in this video?

Thank you! Check out SeamlessPhoto.com :)

Nice tutorial jeff.. Keep it up.. I just wanted to ask would the westcott rapid box xxl work?

Great article!

I have a question...do you get the same lighting look using the Softlighter II? If so why would you spend the money on the zeppelin when the other one is so much cheaper? Just curious, I'm trying to decide which one to purchase.