There are two different types of light for photography.  The first is the umbrella light, which looks just like it sounds.  The second is the softbox light.  This is a light that is encased in fabric.  The light is inside a box with black sides and back and a white front.  The front allows the light to escape the box and provides a softer lighting that a naked bulb.

Why would I use a Softbox Light?

The main reason to use a softbox light is to eliminate the shadows you get with bare lighting.  The light is diffused through the white cover on the box, which gives you an indirect lighting source.  Unlike sunlight, this light does not cause dark shadows and can be used to offset the shadows caused by brighter lights.  They are also used to simulate twilight and other times of the day by moving the light to another position and adjusting the brightness of the glow.

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