Whether you are a professional photographer or you are just enjoy taking photos as your pastime, a photography lighting kit is an essential tool that you are going to want to have on hand. In order to take a great picture, you have to have the right lighting. A photography lighting kit will allow you to achieve the right lighting so that you can take the best photos possible.
When you are shopping for a photography lighting kit, you are going to find that there are a lot of options to choose from. With so many options, it can be difficult to determine which photography lighting kit is the best one for your needs. To help you on your quest for finding the best photography lighting kit, we have put together this hand buyer’s guide. This guide highlights the different types of photography lighting kits, the factors to consider when shopping for a kit, the features that these lighting kits can offer and the best photography lighting kit brands. With the information in this guide, you will be able to find the best photography lighting kit for your specific needs.
Types of Photography Lighting Kits
There are several types of photography lighting kits, and each one offers different benefits. In order to find the best kit for your specific needs, you first need to understand the different types of kits that are available. Once you know about the different kits, you can start shopping for one.
Here is a breakdown of the different types of photography lighting kits that are available.
Continuous Photography Lighting Kits
This type of photography lighting kit provides a continuous supply of steady, warm, high quality lighting. All you have to do is turn on the light and you will have the lighting that you need. Continuous photography lighting kits are often used by professionals to take portraits and product shots, and they can also be used for video production, too. The majority of continuous lighting kits come with the following pieces of equipment:
- Light modifiers, such as umbrellas and soft boxes
- Barn doors
- Light stands
- Carrying cases
Continuous photography lighting kits are easy to use, they do not require a camera connection and they are the most affordable of all photography lighting kits. On the downside, they generate a lot of heat, they need extra white balance and their bulbs can run out quickly.
Flash and Strobe Photography Lighting Kits
Flash and strobe photography lighting kits are usually used by professional photographers. They provide a light that is similar to the light that the flash of a camera produces. They are ideal for creating bursts of timed lighting that can freeze and action shot. In order to optimize the flash or strobe timing, you need to make sure that you synchronize the digital camera with the flash or the strobe. You can do this with a synch chord or a wireless transmitter. The majority of flash or strobe photography lighting kits come with the following items:
- Flash heads
- Light stands
- Soft boxes
- Barn doors
Strobe and flash photography lighting kits have a long life span, they do not generate heat and they offer true color temperature. On the downside, they are complex and can be difficult to learn how to use, they have to be activated by a camera and they can be difficult to transport.
Basic Photography Lighting Kits
If you are a novice photographer, a basic photography lighting kit is the ideal kit to purchase. These kits come with the basics that you will need to create proper lighting to take basic pictures. They are easy to set up and operate and generally don’t cost a lot. They can come with various components, such as a camera mounted LED lights, large fluorescent kits, light heads, frames and carrying cases.
Speed Light Photography Lighting Kits
A speed light is a flash unit that uses a xenon filled gas tube. Speed lights are much faster than traditional flashes. Because they create a quick light output duration, speed light photography kits have the ability to freeze motion. This type of photography lighting kit is idea for someone who is just getting started taking photographs or someone who plans to shoot still photos or high speed photos.
A small speed lighting photography kit can come with various components, which may include:
- Light stands
- Reflector umbrellas
- Eye triggers
Monolight Photography Lighting Kits
Monolights are small, self contained strobe lights. The primary benefit of a moonlight photography lighting kit is that there is no need to use a separate power generator. It also includes a built-in photo eye. Monolight photography lighting kits are usually used in studios. Most monolight photography lighting kits come with the following components:
- A reflector
- A power supply
- An umbrella
- A light stand holder
- An AC power cord
Things to Consider When Choosing a Photography Lighting Kit
There are a number of factors that you should take into consideration before you purchase a photography lighting kit. By taking these factors into consideration, you will be able to choose the best lighting kit for your specific needs. Some of the most important factors to consider include the type of photographs you will be taking and your budget, among other things. To learn more about the factors that we think are the most important when choosing a photography lighting kit, please keep on reading.
What type of photos will you be taking?
The first and most important factor that you need to consider when choosing a photography lighting kit is the type of photos you will be taking. Different types of photos require different types of lighting. Will you be taking still portraits in a studio? Will you be shooting people or products? Will you be taking photographs at different locations? The type of photos you will be taking will determine the type of photography lighting kit you will need.
How many watts does the photography lighting kit have?
The wattage of a lighting system is another important factor that you should take into consideration when choosing the lighting kit that will work best for you. The higher the wattage, the brighter the light the set will create. You should also know that as wattage increases, the heat that it the light creates will increase.
Portability of the photography lighting kit
Another important factor to consider is the portability of the photography lighting kit. If you plan on using it at different locations, you are going to want to make sure that it is easy to take apart and set up, and that you can easily transport it to the different locations you will be working at. The weight of the kit will impact the portability, too. Look for one that is lightweight if you want it to be easy to move around.
How many lights do you need?
You should also consider the number of lights that you need. The more light you need to create, the more lights you are going to want your photography lighting kit to come with.
The type of lighting
There are three main types of lights used in photography lighting kits, which include the following:
- Halogen, which can be used in commercial, studio and outdoor settings. Halogen lights are available in continuous lighting and flash lighting kits. Halogen lights burn brightly, but they can produce a lot of heat, especially when they are used in a confined area. They also use a lot of electricity.
- Fluorescent lights are easy to set up quickly, making them an ideal choice for amateur photographers, and professionals alike. These lights remain cool and use less energy; however, they don’t create lighting that is as brilliant as a halogen bulb does.
- Tungsten, which is relatively inexpensive; however, they usually don’t last very long. Also, if you are going to use this type of light, you are going to have to use special tungsten film or a tungsten filter on the light or camera lens to ensure that you get the most natural color in your photographs.
Ease of use
The easier the photography lighting kit is, the easier it will be to use, which means that you will spend less time setting up and more time taking photos. A photography lighting kit that contains elements that are easy to set up and take down.
The cost of the lighting kit
You also want to consider the price of the lighting kit. Photography lighting kits vary widely in price. Generally, basic kits that offer minimal features and accessories have lower price tags, while larger, more advanced kits that come with several features will have a higher price tag. Make sure you know how much you want to spend before you start shopping so that you can avoid spending more than you are comfortable with.
Photography Lighting Kit Features
Photography lighting sets can come with various features. These features are intended to improve the lighting that the set produces, make it easier to use, and provide excellent light for different types of applications. As mentioned above, the more features the photography lighting kit offers, the more expensive it will be. It is important to understand the different features so that you can determine whether you want or need them, and if spending the extra money is worth your while.
Here is a look at some of the most common features that photography lighting kits can offer.
Barn doors are a system of two or four metal doors that control the spill of the light. You can open the doors or close them to prevent light from spilling out of the side of the tool. You can also use barn doors to create shafts of light, focus the light on smaller areas, or to flag light off of a background.
A scrim is a metal screen that is placed on the front of the lighting tool to decrease the intensity of the light. If you need to light a scene, but you can’t get the light far enough away from the subject to create the desired intensity, you can use a scrim to reduce the intensity. Scrims come in various densities, which enables you to control how much you can decrease the intensity of the light. Half scrims are also available, which only cover have of the opening in the front of the light.
Gels allow you to reduce the intensity of the light coming from the lighting tool, and they can also be used to add color to the background or the surface of objects in the scene you are shooting.
An umbrella can turn a small, intense reflector spot into a soft light. When you shine the light through the umbrella, it will bounce off of it, spreading the light and decreasing its intensity.
A softbox, like an umbrella, can turn a small intense spot of light into a large, soft light. A softbox produces a light that is more even and softer than an umbrella, making ideal for lighting faces.
Mounts will allow you to get the instrument where you need it, which often means putting the light somewhere that you can’t use a light stand. Mounts can clamp to tables, chairs or countertops, which will allow you to put the light where you need it.
The Best Photography Lighting Kit Brands
There are several photography lighting kits on the market, which can make it difficult to determine which brands are the best. Here are our picks for the best brands of photography lighting kits.
Safstar produces high quality photography lighting kits in a variety of types, and that come equipped with various features. They are easy to use and offer exceptional light.
Limo Studio manufactures several different types of photography lighting kits, and they come equipped with various features. Their lighting kits are high quality and are very reliable.
Neewer is another top producer of high quality photography lighting kits. Their products offer various features and are extremely reliable, producing excellent light when you need it.