As a fashion & portrait photographer, I use a variety of light modifiers in my work. When asked my go-to modifier though, I tend to choose my Rotalux Deep Octa Softbox 100cm (39″). I’ve found this modifier to be one of my most versatile tools for shooting with.
I often have the Rotalux Deep Octa Softbox 100cm (39″) built in my studio, but it also breaks down and packs up small enough that it’s my first choice when going on location too. I can either throw it on my back or pack it in my rolling case.
Along with portability- the even light distribution, the wrap-around light quality, and the large catch lights created in my model’s eyes are all among top reasons for why I use this modifier so much.
It’s also worth noting that I usually prefer the deep version of this modifier as opposed to the shallow because it’s creating a more narrow and controlled spread of light than a shallow modifier would.
Let’s look at some recent lighting work that was created with my Rotalux Deep Octa Softbox 100cm (39″).
First up is this portrait using a low-key lighting technique. Low-key lighting is when there’s more contrast between the light and dark areas, with a majority of shadow, in your image. So it’s generally used for moodier, more dramatic looks like this one.
For this shot, I’ve placed my Rotalux Deep Octa Softbox 100cm (39″) directly across from the direction my model is facing, and slightly behind her. There’s enough light spilling onto her so that her face is properly exposed, but the shadows on her cheek, nose, and around her eye help to sculpt her face and create a more intense mood.
I put both layers of diffusion that come with the modifier on and also included an additional stackable layer of diffusion that Velcro’s on top of the outer layer. This additional layer is helping create that soft and dreamy wrap around lighting that I love to play with.
For educational purposes and to point to the modifier’s versatility- I will mention that if I decided to go in a different direction, instead of adding a diffusion layer, I could take off that front layer of diffusion. If I did this, then it’s going act like a mix of a reflector and silver umbrella, which is going to give some crisp details with a wider spread of light while still acting as a softbox with that first layer of diffusion on there. That silver reflective and dappled liner of the modifier is what’s helping create that crisp and sharp light.
Let’s check out another scenario, this time outdoors.
Here’s a shot that really shows off that soft wrap around light. The mood of this look is a little more playful than the studio shot from above, and the goal for my lighting is to have it contribute to this scene I’ve created.
I’m mixing the ambient light and my strobe, my Elinchrom FIVE, paired with my Rotalux Deep Octa Softbox 100cm (39″). My light is placed to camera right and in front of my model. Instead of having the light pointed directly at my model, I have it directed straight to the left, the edge of the light spilling onto my model. This is a soft light technique called feathering.
To balance the ambient lighting with the flash, see the colors of the early evening sky, and create a slight uneasy feeling of movement in the background, I pushed my settings a bit past what I usually feel comfortable with. I slowed my shutter speed down to 1/13th, took my aperture to f/4.5, and raised my ISO to 1000.
Here’s one last example using two Rotalux Deep Octa Softboxes 100cm (39″):
For this shot I used two of my Elinchrom ELC 500’s, gelled them both red, and paired them with two Rotalux Octa Softboxes 100cm (39”), placing them on either side of and slightly behind my model. Similar to the first example, I’m using backlighting with a controlled spill of light and leaning into the use of shadows to create drama here.
For this silhouetted look, I knew I wanted to have a defined highlight on the edges of my model. The closer I bring my gelled light to the model, the more saturation I’m going to get. I also knew I wanted to retain information and detail in my shadows. Keeping that in mind, my settings for this shot were 1/200th, f/7.1, and ISO 160.
Whether it’s in studio or on location, I love using this modifier and playing with the beautiful light it helps create. I hope these examples were enjoyable to see and read about!
The FIVE is a battery monolight with 522Ws of power, allowing you to work on location with up to 450 full-power flashes. The Elinchrom FIVE features TTL, HSS, a bi-color LED modeling light, and a removable battery.
Available in 12 different shapes and sizes, the Elinchrom Rotalux Softbox will quickly become your main light shaper whether you’re in a studio or on location.
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