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Best Lighting and Studio

Lighting and Studio Reviews

Lighting and Studio Reviews

Back in the day, an elaborate photography studio, equipped with diffusers, sync cables, and flash heads, was really only accessible to the professional photographer. Today, anyone can create their own home studio, or build their professional one from scratch, by purchasing pre-packaged studio kits from almost any electronics store. Like with most photography equipment, you’re really getting what you pay for when it comes to studio kits. There’s anything from the most basic, to kits that are so elaborate and expensive that it’s considered more of a business investment. You must begin by deciding between strobe lighting or continuous lighting. Continuous lighting can come in either tungsten or fluorescent. Strobe lighting is basically flash lighting, and there are advantages or downsides to either choice. The main benefit of continuous lighting is that it allows you to see exactly how your photos are coming out, and make adjustments while you work. Strobes pop in bursts of light, and you can only determine how this light is working when you see the photos.

Most Popular Lighting and Studio

Fancierstudio

5/5 Product Rating

This softbox lighting kit from Fancierstudio is powered by 2000 watts of gorgeous light for your home photography or video studio. Included is a backdrop stand, 3 muslin backdrops in green, black, and white, which work wonderfully for almost any photo shoot. The lovely, compact design of this kit makes it a great choice for a more modest studios, or those who take their studio equipment with them on the go. And despite its portability, you’re getting two amazing 16″x24″ softboxes. You can also convert these to two 4 light heads. With this kind of versatility, it’s a fantastic kit for all different kinds of studios. It’s also a fact that this is currently one of the most affordable kits on the market. Not only that, but the FancierStudio is compatible with almost any camera on the market. All that being said, this is a great choice for those who just want the essentials of studio equipment. If you’re looking to have a more heavy-duty professional studio, then you should consider spending more money, and finding something with some added light sources.

  • 2 backdrop support stands
  • 2000 watt softbox lighting with hairlight
  • 2 stands, one boom
  • 3 muslin backdrops in black, white and green
  • Great carrying case

Best Overall Lighting and Studio

CowboyStudio Complete

4.8/5 Product Rating

This is a massive and comprehensive kit if you’re looking to build an entire photo studio that is based upon flash photography. The 2 lightweight MonoLights are the centerpieces of this kit, and come with a powerful 50 watt modeling lamp. The size is compact, but the effect of this light is really spectacular. You’re also getting a strobe flash light that has a great power of 40 watts. All the synchronization here is done by cords, or triggered by Flash. The light stand is lightweight and made of anodized aluminum. It’s very stable and easy to assemble, and it’s also quite versatile and durable. The softbox has a great neutral color temperature, and the innovative fabric is far less susceptible to heat. You’re also getting a muslin backdrop with your kit made with the exceptional quality of 100% cotton, to help absorb light and diffuse reflection. All in all, this kit is budget friendly and really does provide everything you need to get your studio running.

  • 3 excellent tripod/light stands with case
  • 2 160 watt Monolights
  • 40 watt Master strobe
  • 2 soft boxes
  • Umbrella, Barndoor, and color gels


Best Budget Lighting and Studio

CowboyStudio

4.7/5 Product Rating

This softbox lighting kit from Fancierstudio is powered by 2000 watts of gorgeous light for your home photography or video studio. Included is a backdrop stand, 3 muslin backdrops in green, black, and white, which work wonderfully for almost any photo shoot. The lovely, compact design of this kit makes it a great choice for a more modest studios, or those who take their studio equipment with them on the go. And despite its portability, you’re getting two amazing 16″x24″ softboxes. You can also convert these to two 4 light heads. With this kind of versatility, it’s a fantastic kit for all different kinds of studios. It’s also a fact that this is currently one of the most affordable kits on the market. Not only that, but the FancierStudio is compatible with almost any camera on the market. All that being said, this is a great choice for those who just want the essentials of studio equipment. If you’re looking to have a more heavy-duty professional studio, then you should consider spending more money, and finding something with some added light sources.

  • 2 backdrop support stands
  • 2000 watt softbox lighting with hairlight
  • 2 stands, one boom
  • 3 muslin backdrops in black, white and green
  • Great carrying case

Lighting and Studio Buying Guide

Lighting and Studio Home

Working under artificial light can help to enhance the ability of a photographer to use their talent and creativity to produce high quality end products. Whether you are a beginner or skilled in the use of lighting and atmosphere, finding the right setup can mean the difference in mediocre photographs or those that stand out above the crowd. There are many different choices available for lighting and studio gear and this can help to make the choices seem overwhelming or at least very difficult. In order to cut down on any confusion, wasted time, and worse yet, making the wrong selections, we’ve prepared this easy to use guide to selecting lighting and studio equipment. It will give you the information that will help you to narrow the choices from the sea of options, to what you actually need to choose studio lighting.

Determining Your Studio Light Needs

To begin, examine how much you are willing to spend on a studio and lighting setup. Next, what are your studio and lighting needs? Begin with an inventory of what you already have and then figure out what is needed to expand your capabilities. For example, there are simple setups such as portrait setup which require perhaps just one, two, three or four lights.

More advanced studios may require up to 12 to achieve the desired effects. You must first determine your legitimate needs in line with your budget. Then, instead of purchasing the lights and equipment separately, you can save money by choosing pre-made kits.

What Is The Purpose You Will Use The Studio Lighting For?

This determines the kinds of lights needed. Is this for portrait work, still photography or video work? What size will the scenes be? Will you require electrical or more portable power? Once you have figured out what you will be doing it will be easier to match your needs with the best products.

Different Types of Lighting

There are multiple types of lighting. Some are multipurpose and others intended for specific uses only. For example, flash lighting is best for still shots, but not appropriate for videos. Constant lighting sources are required for video but can also be used for stills and other types of photography. You get the picture here.

Off Camera Flash

A shoe mount off camera flash can be purchased with a variety of features including remote power adjusting, TTL flash metering and extra battery options. These are best used to enhance still shots.

Hot Lighting/Steady Lighting

The more expensive and hot burning tungsten lights provide good steady lighting but for a price. More affordable alternatives are the cooler running LED and fluorescent bulbs which achieve the same effect for less money and heat produced from the bulbs. This type of light can be used to shoot videos or any type of photography period. It is a versatile form of lighting and can be adjusted through the use of light modifiers and stands for positioning for different angles of light production.

Lighting and Studio

Hot Lighting Kits

These kits are recommended for beginners who want to experiment with different types of studio lighting. They come in a variety of setups that can include smaller camera mounted LED lights or a combination of several larger fluorescent lights, including the popular tungsten kits. The price range for hot lighting kits depends upon the brand and number of lights included and starts at $100 and gois up to $500 for the more complete kits. The smaller kits include three lights consisting of the main light, hair and fill with optional background lights. The more complete kits run just over $1000 which also contain an extensive collection of stands, frames, heads, gels and all of the gear required, housed within a handy case for storage. This deluxe type of hotlight kit is recommended for photographers who are more experienced in working with differential lighting.

If you are into experimenting with different colors, you may want to consider a kit that contains CT gels which come in a variety of colors. They are used to set the tone and mood and project the sense of daytime, sunlight, coolness or softness.

The beginner’s fluorescent lighting kits include the main light, reflector umbrella, fill, hair and background lights, light stands, extension cords, gaffers tape, seamless paper backgrounds, gloves for tungsten lights and an assortment of gels for light diffusion. This type of kit is recommended for the more advanced photographer and can be purchased in a variety of configurations and brands.

What to Look For In Lighting and Studio Kits

Look for the kits that include lighting and accessory gear that will help to take you to the next level in your photography. Purchasing advanced kits or equipment is best done after you have mastered the basics of lighting.

If you are experienced with different lighting effects, you may be most satisfied with the larger more deluxe offerings that offer a variety of lighting and enhancement options. The key is to stay within your budget and keep yourself challenged with regard to skill development. Don’t buy more than you need or more than you can afford at one time because this can interfere with your enjoyment of the purchase. This is why determining your actual needs and budget allowance is one of the most important steps in preparing to purchase new lighting and studio gear.

Determine how many lights are needed in accordance with the size of your studio. Smaller areas will require less intense lighting than other larger areas. The amount of lighting needed is also determined by the location, whether indoors, or outdoors.

Conclusion

There are lighting and studio kits and equipment designed to meet the needs of any photographer or videographer who is ready to take the next step in creative expression. Knowing where you want to start is the first step. For beginners, the smaller kits are recommended as more gear can be added as you master new techniques and advance in your photography skills. Some of the best photographs and videos can be created by the use of a few new and simple lighting techniques.

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