I recently acquired a soft box and have been playing with it to learn how to best use it. Quite interesting if a little limited by having to use myself as the model. It is definitely hard to get the lighting, exposure and focus spot on for self-portraits. At least with the soft box and a background I can set the aperture to f/11 or so for a decent depth of field.
One of the areas I was particular interested in was how using a white reflector versus a black reflector affected the image – obviously the black reflector takes light away while the white one adds it, but how much difference does it make? Quite a lot it turns out!
In each image the soft box is camera right, as close as possible without getting into the frame. The aperture and shutter speed were kept the same, shooting in manual mode. In the first image there is no reflector at all.
For the second image a large white reflector was added camera left.
The reflector was moved closer, again as close as possible.
Finally the white reflector was replaced with a black one.
The change in the light is quite clear in each case, which is best depends on what you want to achieve but it was an interesting exercise seeing how much the light was changed by the position and type of reflector. What I wanted for the final image was something fairly dramatic, more like this…
I really like Silver Efex Pro II.