I’m here to make a case for the strip box, because a PetaPixel article was not so kind to it. In fact, listing it as number 1 in “8 Pieces of Photo Gear I Wish I Hadn’t Purchased.” I don’t think that’s fair especially as they are coming to be my favorite lighting modifier. So here’s 6 reasons on why the strip box is totally worth it.
1. They’re great for hair-lights, rim-lights, and kickers. They’re small they’re easy to control and are relatively hard due to their small size, all good things for these “accent” lights.
2. They’re two modifiers in one. The difference in the height to the width is so great that depending on which orientation you use them in you have two options. You don’t have to pack or carry or changeout soft boxes in the middle of a shoot–just rotate that strip box. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you do get two looks out of the box based on orientation.
3. They’re portable. I hate assembling soft boxes, even the Paul C. Buff ones that have a convenient umbrella-type mechanism. They narrow dimension on the one side means I can cart them around, fully assembled, wherever I may need.
4. They are a relatively large source that won’t spill all over the scene. One place I think these really shine is the environmental portrait. If positioned vertically, they are large enough to light a person from head to mid knee (depending on your lighting variables) but small enough side to side to not light your entire scene. I think this is their strongest attribute.
5. They are the champions of the edgy portrait. While they certainly are more variable than this, it can’t be ignored how these modifiers have defined the “edgy” portrait. With Joel Grimes incorporating them into his signature three light look strip boxes have come to dominate the dramatic portrait scene.
6. They’re great for reflective objects. For product and beverage photography this modifier is a go to, but it’s also great for shiny objects in a scene because the reflections won’t be a point source like a bare bulb or even some umbrellas, and they’ll almost always look like windows.
Now i’m not saying they’re essential. I’m not even saying you should go out and buy one. I am saying that I love mine and don’t think they deserve a bad rap. A tool is only as good as what you use it for and for strip boxes that’s quite a lot.