Pocket Softbox is an Android app (available from Google Play) that turns your smartphone or tablet into a nice low level lighting source when photographing at night. In the photograph shown above, I used Pocket Softbox for two purposes. First, I used the app to light the trees during the course of several long exposures by walking up and down the roadway, holding my phone in a manner that cast light up into the treetops. Second, whenever the ubiquitous fireflies settled down and ceased their display, I found that by walking around for a minute or two with the Pocket Softbox app set to 3200°K, the fireflies would resume their flashing display.
Simply clicking on the Pocket Softbox icon (above) instantly brings up the app in the last mode that was used.
This is what the app look like in use. I have selected a lime green color by sliding my finger in a vertical direction on the screen, and the brightness was selected by sliding my finger horizontally on the screen. The settings can be locked, which prevents inadvertent changes in color or intensity.
In RGB color wheel mode, any possible color in the RGB color space can be selected, so if you want to light paint with color, this is the mode to use.
If you select the Kelvin Color Scale mode, the app produces white light at the selected color temperature.
The app comes with 7 commonly used Kelvin presets, as shown above, but you can save any number of your own commonly used settings as a preset. As an example, I named and saved two – Pinkish Red and Bluey Blue.
Saving a preset is as easy as selecting Save Preset from the menu and entering the name you want to use in the dialog box.
You can choose to use Eye Light mode from the menu, which produces a round shape as seen above. I have not found anything useful about Eye Light mode for my photography, with the exception that it is also used in Strobo mode.
When Strobo mode is selected from the main menu, you are presented with the screen above, where you choose the duration of the light and dark cycles. The app will then flash your chosen color on and off through the Eye Light circle, using the parameters you have set on the screen above. This is useful for helping control the amount of light being added to the exposure by counting the number of times the light flashes. Not enough fill light? Up the number of flashes. Too much fill light? Reduce the number of flashes. This makes your light painting controllable and repeatable.
I recommend this app without reservation. It is free, has no advertising, is small, and requires no special permissions. A very nice simple light painting tool to have in your bag of tricks!