Have you recently purchased a softbox and have no idea how to connect your camera to it? Perhaps you have switched your camera and can’t remember how you connected the flash last time?
Or maybe you are new to photography and want to find out as much as possible before you dive in? Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you!
We know how stressful it can be to set your lighting up and get it to all work in harmony.
Often the many attempts to connect your camera to your softbox leave us deflated, frustrated, and with a headache that just won’t budge. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to sync your camera and softbox together!
Well, no more! Today we are here with the answers that you need. Keep reading to find out how to connect your camera to your softbox and how to make the flash the best it can be!
What Flash Should You Use?
Before we get into connecting your camera to your softbox and making the flash fantastic, let’s pause for a moment and consider the flash itself.
Your camera will already come with a flash, and it’s usually built into the camera (depending on the make and model).
The flash will shoot a line of light when you take the picture, brightening the image and providing lots of light. If you have reflectors in your setup, this light will bounce and be redirected, eliminating shadows and focusing the light onto the subject of your image.
And while having a built-in flash is handy, they aren’t often the best and come with their own power supply that can be depleted quickly. Another type of flash you might have is an on-camera external flash.
These flashes tend to perform better, and depending on the flash you have, they can be angled differently, allowing you to have better control of the light, although sometimes the angles you have can be limited.
We can divide these on-camera flashes into two categories: those with rotating or tilting flash heads and those that are static. Static ones tend to be more compact, but you will get less versatility with these flashes than those you can rotate.
Rotating or tilting on-camera flashes allow you to control the light more and come with more features and controls that will help you adjust the lighting to fit your needs perfectly.
The price of an on-camera flash varies, so you are sure to pick one up to suit your budget! It’s worth doing your research and reading lots of reviews to find the one that works best for you.
Check the size and compatibility so you can be sure it will work with your camera and deliver the best results. You can check product reviews online or head over to some photography forums where you can find out what others use and if they have any recommendations for you.
Alternatively, ask any photographers you know about their setups and if they can recommend a flash for you to use. Often they will have some fantastic tips for shooting your shots, too, so be sure to make use of any photographers you know!
How Can I Connect My On-Camera Flash To My Softbox?
Now that we have established that your on-camera flash is the best to use, let’s look at connecting it to your softbox. When it comes to using your on-camera flash, there is a range of connection options you can choose from.
Usually, these will be broken down into wired or wireless connections, and you can choose the one that best suits your camera and your needs.
You can choose between a sync cord that runs between your camera and the flash, although you will need to check that you have the right ports on your camera and flash for these to work.
They usually feature a PC connection, and you can purchase adapters for these if needed.
A flash bracket is another option people choose, allowing you to remove the flash from your camera and stand the flash separately. This offers you plenty of options to place your light, giving you more control.
You can also place your flash in the mouth of your softbox, connecting the two as one, allowing you to take a photograph with all the benefits of your light softening softbox!
A wireless connection is often preferred, as it saves you from becoming tangled in wires and offers you more flexibility when shooting images outside or traveling with your equipment.
There are a few options for wireless connections that will allow you to trigger your flash as you take the image. Optical triggers are an excellent option for those with multiple light sources as they rely on two flashes.
You can also use infrared or radio systems that work without the need for a hard-wired flash like the triggers do.
If possible, opt for a flash that comes with a built-in infrared receiver. It saves you the need to attach one and gives you one less thing to transport or worry about!
Sometimes these can be more expensive, so be sure to check your budget before investing in a flash with a built-in receiver. Infrared receivers are more likely to be built into your on-camera flash compared to radio receivers.
Radio receivers and transmitters are the most sophisticated way to trigger a flash wirelessly. They work across a range of channels and don’t rely on optics to work.
You also get a direct connection between the flash and your camera, allowing you to control the flash exposure easily. These are an option that many photographers choose, especially as the operation can be done seamlessly and without wires.
Once you have selected your wireless or wired connector, you can shoot your image. Set up your shot as you would normally, placing your softbox in its desired location and any other accessories or light modifiers, such as diffusers.
Using your rotating on-camera flash, you can angle the flash towards the softbox or place the flash head in the softbox’s mouth.
Then, by triggering the flash, your softbox and flash will work as one to take the image. You can adjust the flash and softbox as you see fit until the lighting looks as it should.
Alternatively, you can purchase a mini softbox that fits over your on-camera flash.
The flash now becomes a larger and softer light source that will give you the light you want without the need for a bulky softbox. This can be ideal for people taking photographs on the go or only want a small softbox.
Consider the photographs that you take and select the option that works best for you! Remember to consider your budget too and find the option that will suit your budget with ease.
And just like that, we have come to the end of our camera flash journey today!
As you can see, where possible, it is best to opt for an on-camera flash that rotates or tilts, allowing you to connect your camera to your softbox and manipulate the light with ease.
You have a few options for connecting your on-camera flash to your softbox and other lighting, including wired and wireless connections.
Be sure to select the best connection for you and your equipment to achieve beautiful lighting in all of your shots! Don’t forget to check out our other articles to take your photography knowledge and skills to the next level!