How to Transform Your Bathroom Into a Softbox for Portrait Lighting

Are you hesitant to buy more gear for your photography endeavors? There are tricks you can follow to work around the upfront cost of buying equipment for a studio. Jay P. Morgan wants to show you how to turn your bathroom into a softbox! Ready? Here’s how to get started:

First, put a piece of black paper, duvetyne, foamcore, or cardboard over the door. Stand so that the window is directly behind you. The light coming over your head as you’re shooting will create a soft glow on your subject when they are positioned in front of your black backdrop.

bathroom softbox custom photography gear and equipment tutorial

What if your window has a different texture? It could be clear or frosted. In this case, Morgan puts tracing paper over his window to create a flat, attractive light streaming in from outside.

For camera settings, he suggests at least 800 or 1600 ISO, 1/40 or 1/30 second shutter speed, and f/2.8–f/3.5 with your camera set up on a tripod. The tracing paper helps create a soft light, but also reduces the exposure, which explains the higher ISO. Your lighting will depend on the position of the sun and the amount of cloud coverage.

Here’s Morgan’s example of bathroom softbox portraits:

use bathroom as a softbox studio

Try this out at different times of day to see what you come up with! The important thing to remember is that you don’t necessarily have to use your bathroom to create a custom softbox. Any room will work as long as the lit window is behind you, casting light on the subject in front of you. Good luck!

“A softbox is a controlled area of light that goes through one controlled opening.”

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