/sites/default/files/No 0578 - Cannonball.jpg/sites/default/files/No 0576 - Softbox Nudes Apartment.jpg/sites/default/files/No 0573 - Softbox Nudes Apartment.jpg/sites/default/files/No 0577 - Governance Cat A.jpg/sites/default/files/No 0580 - Softbox Nudes Apartment.jpg
Glamour Lighting SetupsSubmitted by Michael on Thu, 2010-03-11 06:22

How To Use A Shower Curtain As A Softbox For Bodyscape Photography

How many large, body sized softboxes do you usually have with you, when you are on a trip in a foreign country? 5? Two? One? … None? Not a single softbox in your check in luggage? OK, no problem.

In the video below you will learn how you can use a cupboard, a shower curtain and one or two speedlight in order to build a first grade softbox in just about 30 seconds. That’s what you need to photograph smooth and soft bodyscapes right in a hotel room. But also if your home studio is more of a home and less of a studio, meaning – you don’t have striplights and softboxes – then this trick can come extremely handy.

Go ahead, watch it, and please leave a comment below!

BTW: I made a 2nd part of this video revealing an additional trick:  Shower Curtain Softbox II








Diagram for the shower curtain softbox photo lighting for bodyscapes

(1) Model
(2) 2x Speedlight, GN58, 1/8 power
(3) Translucent, white shower curtain
(4) Reflector, black, 4ft. x 6 ft. /120 cm x 180cm
(5) DSLR, Zoom 28-300, 1/125s, f/8, ISO200 + Speedlight GN58, 1/32 Power


Model: Linxi
Location: Hotelroom in Beijing
Photos: Michael Zelbel
Postproduction: Gina Hernandez

I wish you good light!
-- Michael


Related links:


Clever! The results look like they were shot with a much more expensive studio setup - great job.

thank you Matthew

Love this idea. Learned something new I can put to use in my studio. Thanks...

> I can put to use in my studio.
Did you already give it a try? If so, how about you share a link to your results with us over here?
I wish you good light!

Great pictures and Nice tips!!.

Great technique!

I travel a lot and will use this idea on my next trip. Thanks.

Hi Ray!
Awesome! Then please share some of your photos with us one day!

I do not understand the censor bars. If you are ashamed of your work you should find another subject. If your are afraid your work will offend, you should find another subject. I hate censorship, regardless of the reason.

I add the censor bars because from the statistics I see that people arrive on this website from all sorts of links on other websites, on twitter, facebook and on google. I know that a lot of people are offended by nudity for cultural, religious or whatever reasons. I do respect that and consequently I don't confront them with nudity right upfront.

Part of why I do this blog is that I would like to show my readers that nude photography is a really awesome hobby. It's a lot of fun and it makes a lot of people happy. Not only the viewers and the photographers, if done right, then it also makes models proud. However, even though I've got an even much more hedonistic background, I'm not about "hammering" that into anybodies head. I rather give a little taste of what it is all about.I want to let them decide themselves wether they like to see more or not.

My photography portfolio is a different story. That's usually not found in search. People who surf there usually expect to see nudity. That's why I don't censor any images on that website.

Hi Michael,
First let me say that though I'm new to your page and videos, I've enjoyed just about everything I've seen. The only thing that bothers me is your decision to censor your work in these tutorials. I understand that you don't want to force your beliefs on someone that might be offended by nudity but there is an inherent flaw in your argument of protecting visitors from themselves: people coming to your site WANT to learn what you're teaching; the only people that will be offended are people that shouldn't be here in the first place. It would make much more sense to have a link with an official U.S. government warning stating "Nudity Lies Ahead Enter at Your Own Peril and Risk of Losing Your Soul." Not only will visitors be taking responsibility for their own actions but I'll bet ten to one you will see hits to your web page increase dramatically. : )

Take Care and Thank You for Sharing your techniques and contagious enthusiasm.


Thanks a lot for your feedback. It shows me one more time that this is an important topic and that we need a solution here. I am not planning on putting a pop-up with a government warning in front of all pages - it would drive me nuts. But I am looking into other ways to solve it.

After just finding your site the other day I find your work an inspiration.

I hope to be able to one day shot like you. Keep up the awesome work.

Great idea Michael! Seriously great idea. Now I'll have to go and buy a shower curtain just to try this! Thanks for your videos.

Hi there Michael, I have watched several of your videos and must say I love the work your doing with such a minimum amount of gear!!

It clearly shows your creative ming and knowledge of light and how to use it to create your vision!!

I only wish I had this form of artistic sense. I am hoping that, to a degree, I can develop any hidden artist skill by watching people like yourself and kick start ideas of my own.

I thank you for sharing your work and lighting the way!!

Fantastic, your ideas and imagination and so easy to follow approach to photography, i am an amature and started a small business and hope to be as good as yourself in mastering the art of photography, you have given me a new way of looking at the way i photograph my models. Fantastic web site and i would like to add a link from my site to yours from my link page,

thanks and keep up the good work



Brilliant idea for lighting on the fly!

WOW! This is incredible! I love that you improvise with common household items. Please keep the videos coming...I'm officially hooked!

Hallo, ich habe dich bereits vor ein paar Tagen beim Suchen nach Fototipps auf youtube gesehen. Du bist ja überall im Netz ;-). Danke für die nützlichen Anregungen!
Viele Grüße, Michael

Thanks a lot, cousin. I'm glad that I can help you.

Im getting high def in this information. Very interesting and useful information. It will be great help for me. Im glad to come across this site. Very informative!

Tifanny Swift
Cyber News

nice job michael

Thanks a lot Jagath!


How true is this? Well, in reality, it has facts on it. But I am the kind of person who really purge on further findings and validity. Anyhow, I respect this blog and thumbs up on you! Kudos! :)

Document Megasearch

Inspirational that you seem able light any location perfectly. I am learning loads.

looking great....i like this..:D keep continue..

I love the practicality you employ while creating your images I certainly will be using some of your methods!


Thanks a lot, cousin Ian! Let us know how well the methods are working for you. I am curious!

I will apply your advice with my next photos.
My baby wants me to take her some exciting photos, and you are posting exactly what I need (and she too, of course!)
Thanks for all you teach me!

I wish you success. Let us know how it turned out for you.

Great use of a strategically placed shower curtain!

Hi, very clever cheap and portable I defenitely will steal you this great light mod idea !
Read some comments about censorship : your reasons are definetely comprehensible i.e. the narrow minded are a majority. The ones that are offended by black bars covering women jewels are the same ones that are offended by seeing them displayed. I for one didn't come here to see tits so I don't care whether you light pastas, trees or tits and sausages, I came came here to see LIGHT SHAPING CARFT for X sake, and I got it so let me thank you sir. Will definetrly follow you on twitter. Cheers !

my wife and I love your work! Very simple set up with beautiful results. If you are ever in Chicago, USA let us know.


Jose & Sonia

Hard to get my thick German accent? Here's the transcript:

Dear photography friend, hi! I'm Michael Zelbel.

I'm over here in Beijing, in an apartment hotel in the center of the city.

With me I've got my friend Linxi and we will shoot some cool photos.

I will show you exactly how we are going to do that, so keep on watching!

This is our bathroom.

I will take a shower now and

I am going to film, how I take a shower.

I'm just kidding. Is still anybody watching?

OK, if you are still watching: I am not going to shower.

I just wanted to show you the bathroom,

not because it is a good bathroom,

actually, it is tiny, it is not very posh,

but that's OK, given the fact that this here

is pretty much the most affordable apartment hotel I found in Beijing.

But it has got one very valuable thing:

It is this little sucker, it's a shower curtain.

A white shower curtain, a bit translucent,

which acts as a great diffuser for flashlight.

I am going to detach it from over here.

I am going to attache it somewhere else in front of a cupboard.

I am going to simulate something like a softbox,

just using my speedlights and this shower curtain.

I hope I can make some really cool photos with that.

Ha! Mine!

There we are!

This is the cupboard I am going to use to simulate a softbox.

It got a number of compartments so we can put speedlights into them,

so that the softbox will be powered by two speedlights.

Canon EX580, both set to 50mm and to slave.

I will trigger them with an on-camera flash.

To put the diffuser material in front,

I just use a heavy water bottle and

place it ontop of the shower curtain over here and another one over here.

I have to get a little bit tricky but that's OK.

That already looks like it is going to work.

The camera I set to f/8, which is not a lot of depth of field,

but it should be enough for me.

I choose ISO200.

The slaves I will set 1/8th of power and

the on-camera-flash I set to 1/32nd of power.

The on-camera-flash I will just use to fill in the shadows a little bit,

It is on 1/32nd but it's from like 4 meters away.

I will shoot from somewhere over there.

At the same time this is from just 1 meter away.

The model will stand pretty much over here where I am standing right now.

The slaves over here go through the shower curtain,

which may swallow 2 f-stops or something,

but still they are much, much closer,

so there should come a lot of light from over here and

just a little bit of light from on-top of the camera.

Let's try out the slaves, if they are working properly.

Yes, that's already cool.

For all practical purposes this is a softbox.

I will do one more thing,

because the model is posing over here and

I am shooting from over there and

I've got the bright windows in the background.

I don't want that. I want a black background.

To achieve that I will use my reflector,

which got a black side.

I've got lightstands to stabilize my reflector somewhere over here.

Yes, that should be good.

If I now let the model pose over here and

shoot from over there, then in the end

I will hit the black reflector in the background.

Light is coming from over here.

It is not falling to over there because of this door.

So the background should be really black.

Ok, let's try it out!

Ok, the trick with the little shower curtain softbox worked quite well for me.

I'm very happy with the photos that we did.

I hope it is also useful for you.

I hope this gives you some inspiration for something which you can do one day,

with something like this shower curtain, but also with other material.

If you find it useful, please give me feedback!

I am always so happy about feedback.

Anyway, I wish you a lot of fun with your shootings and

Good light! Bye!

Subscribe here and don't miss any video!

Simply subscribe to "Photo Talk" and be the first one to receive a notification whenever a new video is added here. No spam. Every eMail features an unsubscribe link in it's footer in case you don't want notifications anymore.