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Low cost flash mounted softbox

The Flash photographer often encounters a problem where the shadows of an object are crisp-sharp, creating an artificial look to the object. In the following article, I will demonstrate how to make your own flash mounted softbox.

You will need two good hands, and some patience, but your reward will be a nice softbox for the cost of only 3-4 dollars.

Materials:

  • One sheet of hard cardboard or MAPAL. (Apx 1$ at your local office store)
  • One 10cm X 15cm white silk sheet. (You can probably get this for free from your local fabric store).
  • Some Velcro. (I use stitching Velcro that costs 1$ a meter).
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Template for softbox.
  • Computer and printer

1. Download the softbox diagram found here.

2. Print the diagram at its original size (should take about 6 A4 pages – three wide and two long).

3. Glue the sheets of paper together. (You can use the circles as place keepers between the sheets). You know you have it right if the 5cm mark on the paper actually is 5cm. You should end up with something like this

4. Now carefully take the complete diagram and attach it to your cardboard. (I used a material called MAPAL, it's kind of a plastic cardboard, so I used masking tape, but if you use cardboard I'd place it with paper clips). You can see how it looks like here

5. Flip the cardboard and go over the lines. When you are done you can remove the diagram.

6. Cut at the outer lines, you should get something like a star. Then remove the inner square (it should look like an old TV set).

7. Now glue the Velcro over the "star" edges to form a closable box.

8. Glue the silk sheet over the TV set. This is what you'll get

9. When you fold it, and attach the velcro, it should look like this

Here is a test I made with and without the softbox. You can see that the light is harsher with the bare flash. (Both pictures taken with Nikon D70, at ISO 400 with an f/8 s=1/200 with the Nikkor 28-105 lens at 105 mm, and my SB-28).



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