I use a wide variety of lighting in my photography. The transformational quality of light brings many of my images to life, especially portraits. When I travel I often use speedlights in my work. The trick is getting beautiful, soft light from a speedlight, and having enough power for the job.
There are three softboxes I frequently use. First, remember the softness of the light is directly proportional to the size of the light relative to the subject. Bigger sources like large softboxes produce soft light (as long as you keep the box close to your subject). My favorite softbox and the one I use the most with speedlights is the Latolite 24″ Ezybox. This box pops open, has two diffusion panels, and produces nice soft light. A single speedlight mounts in the box, and you can’t beat how fast this soft box is ready to use; literally in 15-30 seconds you are ready to shoot, great for quick travel portraits.
A small version of the Ezybox is the Lastolite Speed-lite. This box is 8.6″ square, and attaches directly to your speedlight. The box features both interior and exterior diffusion panels similar to a large soft box. Since the box is smaller, the light is a little more edgy, but still nice light, especially coming from a small box. I like to use the box when I want edgier light.
The last softbox I use is the 30″ Foursquare. This box is unique in that the bracket holds 4 speedlights, great when I need more power and quicker recycling. It takes a little more time to set up, but packs down nicely into a 20″ long bag that you can attach to your photo backpack. The image at top was taken with this soft box. Using SB5000s and a radio signal from the WR-R10 wireless controller, I don’t have to worry about the orientation of the lights in the box, they fire every time.
I’m heading to Cuba soon, and I will be bringing a few of these softbox options. The portraits are going to be amazing!