It never fails every year – I received a call from a friend a few days ago, who had opted to get her daughter’s graduation photos done by the yearbook company – and she hated them… So she asked me if I could take some replacement images taking advantage of some of this year’s amazing desert bloom, to add some color and liven up her graduation photos. I was faced with being in a pinch for some fill lighting which could be used in a sunlit landscape, that would not be as harsh as a plain speedlight – that’s when I remembered the Neewer octagon umbrella softbox I had purchased for under $30 on a whim a while back. This little, lightweight unit seemed just the right thing for my needs – I paired it with a lightweight light stand, a swiveling cold shoe Speedlite bracket, and a Yongnuo YN560 IV Speedlite. To complete the setup, I tossed in my SRS Tiny Trigger remotes.
On location, I found it easy to tote over to the spot we had chosen for our set…and took just 5 minutes to mount on the stand through the 2 way zipper, open the umbrella…Velcro the diffuser in place…and I was ready to shoot! The deep dish reflective umbrella on this softbox is perfect for focusing reflected flash onto my subject, while softening harsh shadow lines with a nice density diffuser, that firmly attaches completely around the circumference with Velcro. I am impressed by the nice fill light and brilliant color rendition that make the subject really pop against the background – and most of all, the client was happy! Unlike some bargain equipment purchases I have made (and regret later), this modifier seems well built – the ribs of the umbrella are constructed of a sturdy fiberglass, rather than the cheap bendable ribs I have seen on some models…and the center post was a solid ¼ inch steel. Now that I have actually used it, I would have no hesitation in purchasing additional units. Portable, very affordable, and compact when stowed -the Neewer portable softbox seems just the right thing for run-and-gun outdoor scenery portraits, and would be great for use in real estate photography where speed and simplicity determine how many houses you can complete in a day.
Patrick Rapps Is a part time event photographer in Phoenix Arizona.