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Tips & Tricks

Gain More Control of Your Light By ‘Feathering’ Your Softbox

By Hanssie on June 19th 2015

After you learn the fundamentals of light as a photographer, you begin to learn how to manipulate it to your advantage. Using different types of lights, angles, and modifiers, you can shape and control your light to be more creative in your images. (If you are still working on the fundamentals, then you should check out Lighting 101). Beyond the basics, there’s a world of possibilities and simple things you can do to get some extraordinary results.

In the following tutorial, Jay P. Morgan from The Slanted Lens shows us how to do just that with a technique called, “feathering” with a softbox.

Feathering is maneuvering a light source’s area of coverage so that only the desired area of the subject is lit.

This helps you emphasize the area in your photo that you want to highlight and not the entire area of your softbox’s potential, which makes for a better quality of light. You can get a similar look by using a grid (as shown in this article here), but if you’re short on grids (or cash), feathering can give you the look you want, at no additional cost. Read more on how Jay P. created the images above and also how he does this technique in the studio on his website here.

Watch Learning How to Feather Soft Boxes – Lighting Tutorial

To read more about controlling light, check out this article: CONTROL LIGHT QUALITY IN FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY | LIGHTING 101

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Jay Trotter

    That video was very well done and very informative. Back in the day when we feathered we’d have to use our light meter to establish the highlights and shadows. Digital photography has made this so convenient. No more polaroid test shots, no light meters. These days I rarely photograph people but I can tell you that I use the same feathering techniques for table top and still life’s when I’m looking for different lighting effects.

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  2. Moise Oiknine

    I just tried the feathering today and I have to sayvthe results were very nice. You dont really realize the light spill from a softbox with no grid on the back of your camera. Just another trick in the bag. Thanks for posting.

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  3. Saiichiro Inoue

    very useful :)

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  4. Brian McCue

    I really enjoyed the video, very informative.

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  5. David Hall

    Very useful!

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  6. Trevor Dayley

    I also use feathering with Speedlites. Great little technique.

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  7. Brandon Dewey

    as usual great tip!

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  8. Chuck Eggen

    Love Slanted Lens for the quick and easy tips they share.

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  9. Paul Empson

    Said it before lighting is a dark art.. ;-)

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