Softbox vs Umbrella

Many people who are into photography will want to know whether they should use a softbox or an umbrella. Both of these work by softening the light from a flash, but they are better in different situations. Using a direct flash will result in a harsh light which can create strong shadows. Using either a softbox or an umbrella will create a much softer effect, which will also minimize the shadows and produce an even light.

Choosing a softbox or an umbrella can make the difference between taking a great photo and taing one that is under or over exposed. Photos are made up of light, and if there is not enough or not too much light, then this will affect the quality of your photos. Many amateur photographers will want to know the difference between a softbox and an umbrella so that they can decide which to use. Even professional photographers might find it difficult to decide which to use.

Different but Similar

Depending on the way the softbox and the umbrella are setup, they can produce similar results and very very different results. You will need to take a look at the different aspects of each type of lighting to decide which one you want to use. Each of these give different types of lighting which are subtle. It's very easy to get these confused because of the similar results.


A softbox diffuses and spreads out the light over a larger surface area. This produces an even light for various subjects. The light from a softbox is sent out in a wide flat pattern. This means that the light is shone directly at the subject. Because the pattern of the light is so wide, it is able to wrap around the object and hide shadows. A softbox produces even light, which is very difficult to direct in a certain area. This means that the light won't be very contrasting.

A softbox produces a soft beam of light which is much wider than an umbrella. The light wraps around the subject creating a softer effect. This reduces shadows, which may be ideal for certain types of photography.

Lighting Umbrella

A lighting umbrella produces a different type of light. The umbrella is a curved shape which reflects the light from the studio light. Because of this, the light is focused into a single beam. This makes it much easier to direct and position the light

An umbrella is perfect for a sharper and more directional beam of light. An umbrella will create a more contrasting beam of light, and there will be noticeable shadows in your picture.

Which One Is Best?

Whether you use a softbox or an umbrella will depend on what you are photographing and your personal preferences. Both the softbox and the umbrella will produce different results, which is why it's important to decide exactly which one you want to use. Although the light is similar, there are differences which need to be considered.