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.
Lighting and Studio Buying Guide
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.
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.
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.