There's a new softbox for speedlights on the market called the Lumiquest LTp! Lumiquest has long been making cool modifiers for speedlights, including my favorite, the Softbox III. Based on how popular the SBIII is, Lumiquest came out with another softbox for speedlights, but this time its bigger, and as we all know, bigger is better right?
Their new softbox is roughly twice the size of the SBIII at 10" x 14" which creates a nice, soft light source for hand held portraits. However, this softbox is just not limited to hand held portraits, it can be used for a myriad of lighting solutions including as a hair light, a kicker light, a fill light and it works excellently for product photography. It eats up about the same amount of light as the SBIII, which is a little more than one full stop of light.
In this first portrait, I used the LTp on a Nikon SB-800 hand held to camera left. Its straight out of camera with no editing except to crop and resize for the web. You can see that this softbox gives a nice, soft quality of light (click on it for a larger view). Its not quite as soft as a larger softbox or shoot thru umbrella, but for a compact softbox that can be hand held and packed away in almost any camera bag, its gives awesome results! The light from this softbox is kinda 'punchy' and soft at the same time, similar to that of a beauty dish.
Another thing that is really nice about the LTp is that since it has a rectangular shape (and has an edge), it can be feathered to focus the light more where you want it (or don't want it). Its quite easy, just by a slight adjustment to light a subject without creating much spill on your background as in this portrait. For this shot, I held the LTp almost directly above my model and tilted it slightly back towards the camera so that less light would fall on my background. You can see what a really soft light this makes when used in this close. This photo was edited in post to add a vignette and adjust the color tones.
In this last portrait, I'm using the LTp as a kicker light with a CTO gel to make a nice, warm accent in this portrait of my friend and fellow photographer J.J. Henderson. The LTp makes an awesome kicker or rim light because of its compact shape and edge. I simply turned this light more towards the camera which lit my subject with a smooth, silky warm light and added little to no light to my background.
In the video above, I discuss this a bit, but one of the advantages to the size of this softbox is that its roughly the exact same size as most laptops (thus the name LTp). So for all those photographers carrying backpack style bags and roller style bags, this handy modifier will slide right in there with your laptop taking up little to no space.
To find out more about the Lumiquest LTp, check out the Lumiquest LTp product page. You can now pick these up at your favorite photographic retailer.