Traveling light is becoming a priority for me with my camera gear, particularly once you realize how much difference good equipment makes to an image. With the Westcott Rapid Box Softbox, I was able to get the best of both worlds: a soft fill light for portraits which is lightweight and easy to carry.
First, a bit about the need for a softbox for travel. People love shots of beautiful sunsets and gorgeous beaches, and love photos of themselves, friends or family experiencing them. However, they oftentimes find that they are in darkness as they find it difficult to expose both the backgrounds and the subjects properly. To properly expose both the foreground and the background properly, sometimes you need to add a little fill light. Take for example, these portraits taken on Rendezvous Bay in Anguilla.
The portrait on the left was taken without any flash. Actually, I meant for it to have flash, but I was trigger happy and my flash didn’t have time to recycle, so it didn’t fire. Compare this to the photo on the right, where the flash fired. The background is properly exposed on both, but the subjects are properly illuminated in the second photo.
The Westcott Rapid Box makes accomplishing travel beautiful portraits easy. I purchased this softbox in May of 2013 and so I have used it for almost a year now. It has worked flawlessly. The construction is solid and it assembles in just a few minutes. Included is the softbox umbrella, the bracket to attach it to your lightstand, the diffuser and a carrying case. The beauty dish accessory is also pictured below.
The bracket is adjustable vertically and horizontally so that you can use it for a variety of speedlights, with or without accessories. You will see here that I have adjusted it for use with my Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash and the PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver on top of my camera.
Assembly and disassembly is a snap. The softbox opens like an umbrella and pushes into the open position easily.
To add the beauty dish accessory, simply screw it into the end of the umbrella. If you would like the diffuser, simply pull it over the perimeter of the umbrella.
To attach the bracket, slide the metal bracket attachment to the open position. It will snap into place.
Here you can see it in the open position. To disassemble, you simply push that silver button, and the bracket attachment can be closed.
The whole package disassembles and packs into the carrying case which is included with the softbox. There is also room in the bag if you want to store other items there, such as your flash or radio triggers.
I don’t just use this for travel. I have used it for family events and senior portraits. It’s lightweight and easy assembly means that it’s easy to take it, and use it, anywhere.
The Rapid Box is also affordable, currently priced at $169.90, with the beauty dish accessory at an additional $19.90. Westcott also offers a smaller 20″ Octabox, a 10″x 24″ Stripbox, and a 36″ Rapid Octa Box for AlienBees and lights from other manufacturers including Balcar, Bowens, and SkyLux.
Interested in more information about the photography gear we use for travel? Read What’s in My Bag?
All words and images ©2006-2017 Wendy G. Gunderson. Any use without written permission is prohibited. For licensing information, please send inquiries via the Contact page.