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Lighting Equipment 101: Why to Invest and What to Buy


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Decide which continuous, speedlight, or strobe lighting equipment to buy in this helpful equipment guide.

Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, understanding that light is a vital part of the outcome of your images is crucial. Gaining extra light can be an easy fix, whether it be from a window, a lamp from your living room, or a professional lighting kit. In some cases, you will need the latter for it’s convenience and the ability to control the lighting in your situation.

It can be confusing to decipher which photography and lighting equipment might be best for you to utilize and potentially invest in for your business. To simplify things, ask yourself: what are your main needs? what is your purpose for using artificial lighting? These two questions can assist in shaping which lighting kit is best for you.

In this article, we will provide details about the various types of lighting equipment that you can purchase to create stunning images!

1. Continuous Lighting Kits

Continuous lighting is primarily useful in product and still life photography or video. A huge advantage to this type of lighting is that you can visualize how your light will appear in your image before you begin shooting, thus making it easier to adjust your lighting quickly. This type of lighting is great for beginners because it lets you manipulate your light more manually and is very cost efficient compared to other models of lighting kits.

There are three major types of continuous lighting bulbs: fluorescent, tungsten & LED. All types generate great results, so choosing which to use is mainly a matter of personal preference.

Fluorescent is generally easier to find in studio lighting and does not overheat, so that is what most studio photographers use. LED is a safer option to tungsten because they tend to not overheat as much. Regardless of which color balanced bulbs you use, remember to set your camera’s white balance to Auto or specifically according to the type of bulb you’re using to generate accurate colors.

A set of two lights will allow for more versatility in your lighting setups.

Here are a few great options for continuous lighting kits to photograph product images:

Take your continuous lighting kit one step further by purchasing an adjustable power kit. An advantage to these kits are that you have even more control over how much the light source exudes in your environment. This will allow you to manually manipulate your light even more than just a one bulb continuous lighting kit. Utilize these kits so you won’t have to remove bulbs to adjust the amount of light you want.

$200 3400W Triple 5 Socket Fluorescent Softbox Kit

$200 3400W Triple 5 Socket Fluorescent Softbox Kit

$700 Savage Variable Power Kit (cooled by fan)

$700 Savage Variable Power Kit (cooled by fan)

Take your continuous lighting kit one step further by purchasing an adjustable power kit.

2. Speedlight Lighting Kits

Speedlights are external flash units that can be used along with umbrellas and softboxes to disperse light. They are faster than normal flashes and can be very versatile. It is best to use speedlights for stills, product shots, or action shots at weddings and sporting events.

Speedlights are extremely lightweight and portable, making them great alternatives for setting up quick but effective on-the-go studios.

First, you will need to purchase a few speedlight flashes. Here are a two options:

Next, add an accessories kit with umbrellas or reflectors and stands to make your setup complete!

If you’re looking for a total package deal, these two options may be even more convenient for you, as they comes with everything you will need to successfully set up a versatile speedlight studio.

  • $1400 Canon Speedlight Portrait Kit
  • $1200 Nikon Speedlight Two-Flash Wireless Kit

3. Monolight Strobe Lighting Kits

Monolights are self-contained strobe units that include power sources, reflectors and stands.

The main advantage to monolights is that, with them, there is no need for an extra power generator because all of that is contained in the head of the lamp. Each strobe monolight should be 150+ watts so that they are powerful enough to light your subjects.

Strobe monolights are mainly used in studios, but are extremely versatile and can be portable if purchased with a case.

Strobe monolights are mainly used in studios, but are extremely versatile.

They are often used for model photography and also product photography and also generally come with a continuous lighting setting, which certainly adds to its allure.

Here are some great strobe options.

Although there are many different ways to use artificial lighting and a whole slew of starter and advanced-level kits for you to research and invest in, the starter kits mentioned in this article should get you well on your way to creating wonderful studio images in your home or on-the-go studio.

If you’re going to invest in a lighting kit, we recommend that you buy at least 2 light sources so that you have ample light when you need it. Having a set of two lights will allow for more versatility in your lighting setups and, by extension, more creativity and professionalism in your photography.

And don’t be afraid to shop around for better deals! Most camera stores or ecommerce sites like Amazon, Ebay or Adorama run frequent promotional sales to help lower costs, so utilize those deals and get to shooting!

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