We get asked a lot about using soft boxes ... why and when. A soft box is used when you want to have diffused light ... light that is even and softly transitions. It's the best way to recreate the look of daylight coming through a window within the studio environment. I pull out my soft boxes quite a bit when I am in my studio ... for portraits and object photography. I tend to use them less on location, as they can be pretty unwieldy. Since I am a natural light shooter, I like the quality of light the provide. My umbrellas can be a bit harder than I like in some situations. When you acquire your first set of studio strobes (or "hot" lights), that will be when you'll want to invest in at least one good soft box. Make sure it is rated to handle the heat for your wattage of lamps, is sturdy, and the setup/breakdown/storage is as simple as possible. They are not all made the same, invest in the best quality you can afford. I've been using mine for almost a decade and they are still going strong.