Putting a Softbox on a Boom

by | Dec 13, 2018

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

“Black and white are the colors of photography.”—Robert Frank

Photogenic has been making studio equipment for more than a hundred years. Their 640 WS Soft Box Portrait kit is a two-light system that includes a two softboxes, including one that can be mounted on a boom, something beginning portrait photographers overlook as because they think is too expensive or complex to use. My experience with this kit demonstrated that nothing could be further from the truth.

The 640 WS Soft Box Portrait kit contains two AKC320 StudioMax III monolights, each rated at 320 Watt-seconds. Twisting a knob on the monolight’s back adjusts output power over a six-stop range. At three pounds, each AKC320 is lightweight and compact making them ideal for location work or for hanging from the boom arm included in the kit. My first shooting session with Amber and the AKC55K 640 WS Soft Box Portrait kit went smoother and faster than any lighting kit I’d previously tested.


How I made this shot: For this portrait of Amber shot in my in-home studio, I placed the main light at camera right with the other 320 Watt-second StudioMax III monolight on the boom at camera left and slightly over her head. Power on the second light was at three-quarters power.

Camera was a Canon EOS 5D Mark I with with EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens (at 135mm) with an exposure of 1/125 sec at f/13 and ISO 100. Image was converted to black and white with Silver Efex Pro and tweaked using the Glamour Glow filter in Color Efex Pro.

Tip: With the StudioMax III eight feet in the air I thought making power output changes would involve lowering the boom, changing the setting, raising and then shooting but I ended up just lowering the lightstand to make adjustments.


If you’re interested in learning how I shoot portraits and use cameras, lenses and lighting in my in-home studio and on location, please pick up a copy of Studio Lighting Anywhere which is available new from Amazon.com for $21.02 or used for the affordable price of $13.75, as I write this. If you’re interested in learning how to shoot better portraits and would like some hands-on training, check out my one-on-one workshops.