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How to Use a Tube Light as an Invisible Softbox


Want to try out product photography but can’t afford a softbox? They can be expensive pieces of kit, but invisible ones cost a lot less. In this 6-minute video by Leo Rosas, learn how to use a cheap tube light as a makeshift softbox.

Sounds strange? Just shoot a long exposure and move the tube light along, light painting your subject, in the same plane the surface of a softbox would be.

The result? Well, see for yourself:

Even trickier-to-photograph wine bottles work too, and you get the same white reflection that you would from a soft box:

“This video aims to inspire and motivate you to go a learn more about light and its effect on subjects,” Rosas tells Petapixel. “Especially if you are a beginner or simply you still don’t own studio lighting and modifiers such as the very popular soft box.”

With this trick, you are light painting the subject. Think about the direction you’re moving, and even add a transparent sheet in front of the tube light to diffuse the light.

“Besides this being a resourceful option, it only intends to show a cheap option and I’m not suggesting that this can offer the same results that professional photographic gear can,” continued Rosas. “If you are serious about your photography you should definitely invest on good quality tools and flash systems are no exception to this.”