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Photo & Video Studio Light Modifiers: Stripbox

Updated: Apr 7

The stripbox is an elongated, rectangular version of the traditional softbox, designed to produce a narrow, focused beam of light. This unique characteristic makes it particularly useful for emphasizing the height of subjects, creating distinct highlights, or sculpting the light in a way that a broader light source cannot. Here's a detailed exploration of the stripbox, its applications, and how to use it effectively in photography.

Photo Studio Strobe Light Modifiers: Stripbox
Photo Studio Strobe Light Modifiers: Stripbox

Applications of a Stripbox

  • Portrait Photography: The stripbox can be used to create dramatic lighting effects, such as highlighting cheekbones or elongating the model's figure, adding depth and dimension to the portrait.

  • Subject Photography: Ideal for illuminating tall, narrow subjects like glasses, bottles, or cakes in food photography, emphasizing height and texture.

Unique Qualities

  • Versatility: Can serve various roles, including contour, modeling, fill, or accent light, depending on the lighting setup.

  • Transformational Impact: Its non-standard shape allows for creative lighting effects that can significantly enhance the composition and mood of the photograph.

Using a Stripbox with Honeycombs

  • Controlled Lighting: The addition of honeycomb grids to a stripbox narrows the light spread even more, allowing for precise control over the direction and spread of light, creating harder light with more defined shadows.

Choosing a Stripbox

  • Size Variation: Ranging from small (e.g., 14 x 35") to large (e.g., 5.9 x 1'), enabling photographers to select the size that best fits their subject or scene.

  • Inner Surface Color: Choices between silver for more contrast and white for softer, more diffused light.

Tips for Using a Stripbox

  • Placement: Avoid placing the stripbox too far or too high from the subject to prevent flat lighting. Instead, use it to create desired lighting effects by adjusting its position relative to the subject.

  • Single Light Source Caution: When used as the sole light source, careful positioning is essential to avoid overly harsh highlights on the face.

Example Setups

  1. Horizontal Placement Above the Head: Ideal for reducing shadows under the eyes and nose while maintaining definition in the cheekbones.

  2. Opposite Placement for Bright Stream: Placing stripboxes opposite each other with the model stepping towards them accentuates the face and chest while leaving the shoulders and body in shadow, creating a voluminous portrait.

  3. Combination with an Octobox: Using two stripboxes on either side of the model, complemented by an octobox as fill light, offers a balanced lighting setup that highlights the model's features softly and elegantly.

The stripbox is a highly effective and versatile tool in the photographer's toolkit, particularly valuable for its ability to create specific lighting effects that enhance the subject's form and texture. Whether in portrait or subject photography, mastering the use of a stripbox can elevate the quality and impact of your images, offering creative possibilities that are not easily achieved with other light modifiers.


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