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Avoiding hot spots shooting with speedlite in a softbox

These days I've been taking pictures at family parties, mainly outside environment, so I prefer to use a softbox with a Speedlite instead of an umbrella, but I can not avoid those intense hot spots appear on the forehead, nose and cheeks.
Could someone tell me a way to avoid these hot spots?.

A friend told me that the problem is solved by placing a sto-fen to speedlite before inserting it into the softbox, but I could not check it because I have not the sto-fen.


  • Assuming you have enough power, the solution is to do these:

    * Diffuse the light; as you mention a sto-fen or similar device.  Or, sometimes softboxes allow you to place an additional piece of diffusion.
    * Adjust the zoom to be the widest possible setting (e.g. on a 600EX-RT, set it to 20mm)

    You'll ultimately end up with less output (at least a full stop in most cases), but the light should be more even.

    In my case, I use a Westcott Apollo softbox.  That has a silver interior and you can point the flash head facing that interior.  Light will then bounce all around before it exits the front diffusion panel.

    Westcott makes a similar setup for an umbrella (the Halo), though I prefer the Apollo's build more.

  • Thank you rs_eos for your recommendation. The Westcott Apollo seems to be a solution.

  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I don't think that adding the Stofen inside the softbox will make much of a difference to your light quality - all it will do for sure, is cut down on your light output. 

    What I do though, is set the zoom on the flash-head to be wide. Usually 24mm or similar. 
  • Thanks Neil. After reading your comment I could see that with the zoom set to 20-24mm the hot spot is greatly reduced.
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