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This post was most recently updated on January 8th, 2023

Softboxes are a great addition to every photography studio but which one of these lighting modifiers is best? 

How do you know which is better? Everyone you speak to has a different opinion-making it difficult for you to know who to trust.

You search and search, but no matter what you do, you just can’t find the answers that you need, leaving you without a light modifier and poorly lit photographs!

Well, no more! Today we come crashing in as your white knight to save the day! We will look at the different types of softbox modifiers, and when to use them, helping you decide which is the better option for you.

What’s A Softbox Modifier?

You may have seen them around traditional photography studios. Softboxes have been around for a long time thanks to their simple setup. Softboxes, also known as softbox modifiers, are essentially just a box with a range of light diffusion panels inside.

These softbox modifiers change the softness and the spread of the light source. Depending on the shape and size of the modifier, more or less light will fall on your subject.

Some softbox modifiers make the light softer to take away harsh edges from shadows (or remove all shadows), while others will create a strong contrast with hard edges resulting in a more dramatic image.

What’s A Parabolic Softbox?

A parabolic softbox is a specific blend of a softbox and a traditional umbrella-shaped lighting modifier. Parabolic softboxes retain the usual umbrella design but they are much deeper.

This allows the photographer to add any additional accessories, like a grid or a front diffuser cover.

The parabolic modifier design channels the lighting for the greatest effect. At the same time, it can create a harsh light or softer shadows. If you want to achieve a softer light with a parabolic softbox, you will need to use a front cover attached to the parabolic softbox.

If you want a more crisp light, then you remove the white cover on the front and just let the silver lining of the light modifier shine a harsher light onto your subject.

For more control over your light and to create a direct light focus on your subject, you can fix a grid to the front of the softbox. This will reduce the spread of the light and throw a more concentrated light beam on the subject.

Parabolic softbox modifiers are ideal for a range of photography, including beauty, portrait, and fashion shots. You can also use them for video and film. Parabolic softboxes come in different sizes, and they are typically all collapsible so you can move them around easily.

Other Types Of Softbox Modifiers

There are several different softbox modifiers on the market. Here are some of the most popular ones.

Lantern Softbox

This is a softbox that has a round opening at one end, similar to that of a lantern. It creates a very wide angle of light and is great for portraits.

You can use lantern softboxes also for interior design shots or real estate photos. As these light modifiers are easy to move, you can direct them wherever you want the light to point.

Rectangle Softbox

This type of softbox is similar to a large window shade. It creates a rectangular-shaped light which is perfect for creating beautiful backdrops. It’s also useful when shooting product photos where you want to show off the details of the product.

Rectangle softboxes allow the photographer to maximize his light. You can work with a single rectangle softbox and create a dramatic look, or you can combine more for a soft light with a two-point lighting setup. 

Umbrella Softbox

An umbrella softbox is a softbox that looks like an open umbrella. There are two kinds of umbrella softboxes: reflective and shoot-through.

The reflective umbrella softboxes have a white or silver lining which reflects the light onto your subject. In comparison, the shoot-through umbrellas are made with specific white diffusion material.

You just point it towards your subject, and the light softens when it goes through the fabric creating a warm and gentle light on the subject. Shoot-through umbrellas are typically used for fashion photography and portraits.

Although there are just very subtle differences between these two types of umbrella softboxes, the reflective umbrella creates a crisper appearance without losing too much light around your subject. 

Octagon Softbox

Also called octaboxes, octagon softboxes are subtly different from their rectangle counterparts. Their slightly different shape means they cast a different light. Octagon boxes are made with the same fabric as rectangle boxes. Their only difference is the octagonal shape.

An octagon softbox is typically used for portraiture and fashion photography, as it gives the subject’s eyes a beautiful, circular reflection. Using an octagon softbox can also create a more natural look than a rectangle light output.

Which Softbox Modifier Is Best? 

Which Softbox Modifier Is Best 

There are many factors to consider when choosing the best softbox modifier for your needs. These include size, quality, color temperature, cost, and ease of use.


The biggest factor in deciding what kind of softbox to buy is how big you need it to be. If you’re going to be using it at home, then you don’t need a huge softbox.

But if you’re planning to travel with it, you’ll probably want something bigger. A larger softbox will give you a wider area of coverage, so you won’t have to move around as far to get good results.


When buying a softbox, make sure it uses high-quality materials. Look for ones that are well-built and durable. You should also check out the warranty period; some manufacturers offer warranties of 2 years or longer.

Color Temperature

Color temperatures vary depending on the type of light source you choose. For example, tungsten lights produce warmer colors while LEDs produce cooler colors. Some people prefer one over the other, but both work well together.


If you’re looking for a budget option, you might want to opt for a smaller softbox. This way, you can still get the benefits of a large softbox without breaking the bank.

On the other hand, if you plan to invest in a few different modifiers, you may want to go all out and purchase a full lighting kit.

Ease Of Use

It’s important to find a softbox that fits into your lifestyle. If you’re always on the road, then you may not want to carry around a bulky softbox. In this case, a small softbox would be perfect.

If you’re someone who likes to experiment with new techniques, then you may want to try a large softbox.


Whatever type of softbox you decide to buy, remember that the right lighting needs to match with what type of photography you are planning to do.

Be sure to carefully consider the options and your budget before making your decision today. Whichever softbox style you choose, you won’t be disappointed!