Softboxes or umbrellas?
Both of these modifiers will diffuse and soften the beam from a studio light, which is usually good for portraits. But there are subtle differences. In the shots below, see how the shadows change between the umbrella (left) and softbox (right). The shadow on the umbrella shot isn’t as deep as the one created by the softbox. The reason for this is that umbrellas throw light everywhere, and it bounces off nearby surfaces. Portrait photographers tend to prefer softboxes as the spread is narrower and there’s more control over the shadows. They also produce attractive square catchlights in the eyes.