Getting The Soft Light Look With “Book Lighting”

Getting the perfectly lit shot using a soft light source doesn’t mean you should get the most expensive equipment available to your disposal. On the contrary, with the following book lighting technique you can get quick and excellent results by using even the modest and cheapest source of light.

Below is a real-life example of how you can leverage the production value of your projects utilising this simple, yet super effective lightening technique. In the following video tutorial produced by Video Gear, Dominique demonstrates a book light as an easy and inexpensive way to set up a soft light source.

Creating a Soft Light Using a Book Light from Video Gear on Vimeo.

In essence, you need to take your light source and bounce it off of a white surface or reflector into another diffuser that creates very soft light. The bounce surface and diffuser form a partially opened book, and this is where the name of the technique comes from. A book light is simply a bounced source of light, that is diffused with another layer of diffusion producing the softest light possible. Many would ask, why they should use this certain technique rather than utilising a simple softbox. Well, mainly for two reasons.


In the first place, this technique provides a unique soft look that can hardly be replicated by using only a regular softbox. The other reason is scalability. You can use book light to emulate natural light coming from windows, for instance, in much larger spaces which are also another advantage in various situations.

Furthermore, you can make your light softer by increasing the distance between the source and your diffusion layer. You can also experiment further by tweaking the angle of the main light source which generally should be set at 45 degrees. Just for reference, make sure that you are going to use a hard light source ranging from 100 to 500 Watts depending on the scale of your setup and the area you want to cover.


On top of that, this combo is extremely inexpensive and easy to set up, plus you can utilise this technique in both small and large spaces without affecting the quality of the light. You can use the most inexpensive light modifiers to achieve the desired effect.

Everything from Foam Core, Bleached Muslin, White Bed Sheet or even a White Towel can be used as a reflector and will help you in getting the maximum control over the quality of light which is an extremely important asset when you work with lighting sources on set. Ultimately, it’s a fantastic technique that you can implement in your daily workflow or whenever you need to create a beautiful, ultra-soft light. It’s just as simple as that.

[source: Video Gear]

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  • great setup!

  • Matthew Ryan

    I did some research and found lees diffuser sheets but I would like to know how to go about getting the metal enforced holes along the edges for mounting?

    • Good questions, custom job maybe. Will see if I can find out something that may help and post it here. Cheers

      • Any movement on this, would love to know as well.

  • Matthew Ryan

    Thank you Ogy! After looking at some photos I’m wondering if it just comes that way on a full roll of grid cloth.