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City: St Albans
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Nov 16, 2002
Posts: 33
RE: Softboxes v barndoors Jan 1, 2011 12:51pm

quoting post from mannybash:

Which lighting set up would be best for art nude? One based on softboxes or one on barndoors. Recently i tried barndoors and was rather impresed though i found the lighting a bit contrasty for my taste

It is a bit like asking what is better to fix my car, a spanner or a screwdriver? The answer is that neither is inherently 'better'. They are both tools that have appropriate uses and inappropriate uses.

The purpose of barn doors is to limit light falling on those parts of the scene you don't want illuminated. The purpose of a softbox is to create an extended light source and hence soften shadows.

When shooting low key on a black background it is useful to use barn doors, snoot or honeycomb to place light accurately with minimal spill. The hard light will pick up shapes and skin texture and if that is what you are aiming at then all well and good. If you want a more flattering result then use a softbox, but the penalty is that the soft light is not so easy to control and can end up illuminating things you want to keep in shadow.

There are ways to solve the low-key light spill problems with softboxes and brollies, but most studio photographers have their own individual ways of getting around the problem, and it is a bit difficult to explain here without resorting to diagrams and examples.

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Thread Starter / Photographer
City: London
Country: United Kingdom
Member Since: Oct 18, 2009
Posts: 1051
RE: Softboxes v barndoors Jan 1, 2011 1:03pm

Thanks for that helpful comment it has clarified a few issues for me

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