Welcome to the live series we’re doing bi-monthly on Profoto’s Instagram called “Slice of Pye”. We’ll be covering a myriad of topics, discussing lighting principles, and showcasing a ton of Profoto gear in action over the course of the next year so please join us over on IG Live!

Tune in to our next episode: September 11th at 2PM PST!

In this episode, we’re focusing on large light sources. We’ll show you how to create a large studio light source with inexpensive materials and cover a double diffusion technique to get beautiful, soft light that mimics the look of natural light. Watch the full episode here:

Special thanks to Brooke our model for helping us out in this episode – you can follow her on Instagram! In case you missed our last episode, you can watch them all on the Profoto IGTV channel!

Gear Used

Step 1: Start with One Keylight

Window light usually is considered a directional light source since it hits the subject from a stationary point and the photographer then shapes the light by moving the subject. Once you start moving your subject you see that the shadows are either too heavy (split lit) or there aren’t any at all (flat light). Here we are placing the light 90 degrees from the subject to simulate window light. We chose to use the Profoto Zoom Reflector Dish to narrow the light beam and to avoid less spill on the wall. We can clearly see this is not our intended look which means to need to modify our light to somehow make it softer.

Step 2: Diffuse Your Light

We need to find a way to diffuse it so it creates a softer light, reducing the harshness of the flash on the subject’s face. We can see that the transition from light to shadow got softer which is a quality found in a natural light source, but it’s still not quite where we want it. We then place a scrim between the subject and the light source to soften and open up our light. This still produces a bit of spill on the background.

Step 3: Double Diffuse Your Light

Now let’s add one more level of diffusion to help open up our light source. We took an inexpensive piece of fabric from our local craft store to make this larger diffusion cloth. Moving the diffusion cloth closer to your subject increases the size of the light source. We chose to include a second diffusion cloth to make the light even softer and to really open up the shadows.

And that’s it! Three simple steps to creating a large studio softbox without breaking the bank! This is an extremely travel-friendly and portable setup compared to most softboxes that you need to break down and that aren’t as easily collapsible.

You can see us demonstrating this technique from a recent Youtube video as well. Read more on the technique here. You can find more advanced off-camera flash tutorials like this in our NEW Lighting 3 series!