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In the past, studio lighting was for professional photographers and videographers. Now, photography lighting kits are used by content creators, product photography, online conferencing, and, of course, taking pictures and videos.
Lighting equipment can get very expensive, but you can get good quality lights or lighting kits for a reasonable price. Plus, lighting equipment is an investment, and with proper use and care, your photography lighting kit will pay for itself in the quality and clarity of your photos and videos and will last as long as you need it to.
Benefits of Using Studio Lighting for Photography
Good photography lighting can really elevate your photos or videos. The best photography lighting kits will provide you with everything you need to create beautiful photos and stunning videos.
- Get Creative – Good studio lighting can let you be a lot more creative. Studio flash heads are very powerful, allowing you to manipulate the light in different ways, and use other light modifiers.
- Day or Night – Using a studio light kit means you aren’t limited by the time of day when shooting photos or videos. You have total control over the strength, direction, and shape of your lighting, allowing you to get great shots in artificial lighting or natural lighting.
- Get Amazing Shots – Seriously, using professional studio lighting can turn your photos and videos into true masterpieces. That is why they are becoming increasingly popular with retailers, content creators, streamers, and both amateur and professional videographers and photographers.
Types of Lighting for Studio Photography
There are four general kinds of studio lighting that are always used. Studio lights will always either be continuous lighting, where the subject is always lit, or strobe lighting, which is controlled by an on/off button.
- Key Light: The Key Light is the “main” light. It provides continuous lighting – any other lights will simply enhance or compliment the light given by the key light.
- Fill Light: The fill light is used along with the key light to brighten shadows and show dimension.
- Hair Light: The hair light provides a very narrow beam and is only meant to fall on a small part of your subject.
- Background Light: The background light is used to eliminate shadows and brighten up the background of the video or photo, especially if several other lights are being used.
Best Photography Lighting Kit for Business
There are a considerable amount of lighting kits available, and a lot of factors to consider when searching for the best studio lighting kit. We’ve scoured through the listings to come up with the best studio lighting kit and lights for your photography studio, retail store, YouTube videos, etc. Take a look at our 12 picks for the best studio lighting kit for your business.
- Top Pick: Elgato Key Light Air + Stream Deck Mini Bundle
- Runner Up: Lume Cube RGB Panel Pro Full Color Mountable LED Light
- Best Value: RALENO Softbox Photography Lighting Kit
Elgato Key Light Air + Stream Deck Mini Bundle
Top Pick: Our number one pick for the best photography lighting kit is this bundle by Elgato. The kit includes an Elgato Key Light Air, a professional 1400-lumen desk light, and the Stream Deck Mini – a live content creation controller. The light is wifi enabled, allowing you to control the settings on the Elgato app. The color can be adjusted from sunset amber to arctic blue.
The Stream Deck is fully customizable and has 6 LED tap keys that witch scenes, launch media, adjust audio, and more. Customers have high praise for this set, proclaiming it to be a professional lighting kit that has the added bonus of being controlled via the app.
Lume Cube RGB Panel Pro Full Color Mountable LED Light
Runner Up: The Lume Cube Panel Pro is said to be one of the most powerful LED panel lights available, with 263 LED lights to keep your space lit, as well as soften, add effects, and more. The light is as thin as a smartphone and features a 4+ hour battery life, making it a great portable option.
This light has a full-color LCD display for easy customization and adjustment, and can easily be mounted to a camera or computer. You get the Lume Cube Panel PRO, softening diffuser, DSLR Mount, USB-C to USB-A cable, and a convenient travel pouch.
RALENO Softbox Photography Continuous Lighting Kit
Best Value: For a budget lighting kit, Raleno sells this studio lighting kit that includes a high-quality soft 5070 Nylon cloth for smooth light flow, a foldable light stand, and 2 85W E27 socket bulbs, with a power output equivalent to 800W incandescent bulbs.
This softbox lighting kit sells for under $100 – a much lower price than other studio lighting kits or lighting equipment. It is ideal for use by novices and professionals alike and can be used for multiple applications.
StudioFX Softbox Lighting Kit
This studio lighting kit by StudioFX is a 3pc continuous softbox lighting system that comes with 2 softbox flash heads and 1 overhead hairlight boom softbox.
The boom overhead light provides inobtrusive home studio lighting, and the 4-light bank holder provides superior performance by eliminating glare and distributing even lighting. Control the brightness with multiple on/off switches. Also included are 12 45-watt photo video fluorescent 5500k Daylight Balance Bulbs.
Dazzne LED Studio Light Kit with Wireless Remote
ith wireless capability, the Dazzne LED portable lighting kit lets you remotely access brightness/color temperature settings and channel/group selection, and other functions. The bi-color temperature of the light varies from warm to cool, and the brightness can be adjusted from 0% – 100%.
This light kit has a plug-in power mode for indoor photography and a battery-powered mode for outdoor photography. The kit includes 2 LED light panels, 2 foldable light stands, 2 power cords, 1 carrying bag and wireless remote control.
NEEWER Bi-color 660 LED Video and Photography Lighting Kit
With 330 warm white and 330 cool white LEDs, this light features a maximum illuminance of 3300 lux, adjustable color temperature and brightness, and a color rendering index of 96+. The aluminum alloy construction of the barn door eliminates the need for a fan. Dual power options are available for indoor or outdoor use.
This lighting kit includes 2 660 LED video lights, 2 light stands, 2 power adapters, 2 power cables, and 2 carrying bags. This photography lighting kit receives rave reviews for being well-made and cost-effective.
GVM RGB LED 60W Photography Studio Lighting Kit
This light kit includes two LED lights with U brackets and diffuser boxes, 2 light stands, 2 power cables, 2 power adaptors, and a carrying case. The 880RS RGB lights can be controlled wirelessly through GVM’s app, and the heat dissipation design allows for continuous use.
The bulbs have a variable white balance from tungsten-daylight 3200-5600K color temperature. Reviewers say this studio lighting kit is particularly great for product photography and can be used by beginner photographers, professional photographers, and everyone in between.
Logitech Litra Glow Premium LED Streaming Light
For streamers and content creators who use their computers, the Logitech Litra light is a great option. Instead of messing with multiple lights or lighting setups, the Litra gives you all the features you need in one compact design.
The Litra attaches to your monitor with a 3-way mount, allowing you to adjust the angle, height, etc to your preference. Logitech’s TrueSoft technology promises full-spectrum LED light with cinematic color accuracy and the Litra Glow’s frameless diffuser radiates soft, flattering light.
Neewer 60W Continuous LED Lighting with Bowens Mount and Remote
If you need lights that can be mounted on a wall or ceiling, Neewer produces this 60W LED light with an 80°-tilt light mounting bracket.
This light produces 60W of continuous lighting for photography and videography. Its 5600K daylight temperature will keep your shots in uniform temperature. You can turn the light on and off and adjust the brightness with the included 2.4GHz remote.
GVM RGB LED Video Light with Bluetooth Control
GVM’s LED light kit offers RGB full-color light output, a built-in LCD display, and a unique LED bead design, which the company states make them brighter than other SMD RGB panel lights. The U bracket allows for 360° free rotation, and the GVM app allows you to control the lights, use scenes and effects, and save light preferences.
This professional photography kit includes 2 RGB led panel lights, each with a light stand, 2 soft diffusers, and a carrying case. It can be used indoors for studio lighting or outdoors using a battery.
Godox Bi-Color LED Video Light
Godox’s lighting kit features a color rendering index of over 95, illumination of up to 32100 lux, and an intuitive user interface. There are 11 built-in lighting effect modes, as well as a built-in umbrella mount and a Bowens mount for compatibility with light modifiers and other equipment.
This LED light is big in brightness but compact in size – great for use in smaller spaces. You receive the light body, reflector, protection cover, and power cord – a great value for a quality studio light.
GODOX Strobe Flash Photography Lighting Kit
This photography lighting kit is a bit pricey, but it has everything you could possibly want in a home studio lighting kit. The 150W modeling lamp adjusts from 5% to 100%, while the Bowens mount design allows it to be compatible with all the accessories used by photographers.
The built-in Godox 2.4G wireless X system allows for remote control and adjustment of the light. This light kit includes 3 Godox moonlight flash heads, 3 light stands, 2 soft boxes with grids, a black silver umbrella, a transparent umbrella, a reflector, a carrying bag, and more. This is said to be one of the best lighting kits for product photography, and portrait/lifestyle photography.
What to Look for In Studio Lights and Studio Lighting Kits
Several different components are part of a studio lighting system. At the same time, you can always add more pieces to achieve the lighting you desire.
- Type of Lights: Studio lighting kits have 3 types of lights – continuous lighting, flash strobe lighting, and monolight strobe lighting. More on that below.
- Type of Bulbs: Halogen bulbs create bright white light that is dimmable, and are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. However, they can get very hot. LED bulbs are also energy efficient and have a longer life span than halogen bulbs, but they can be expensive. There are also tungsten bulbs, which are used for outdoor photography lighting.
- Light stands: Light stands are essential since lights can get heavy and hot. A good light stand should be durable, adjustable, and compatible with other camera gear.
- Filters: Some kits will come with filters that allow you to further customize the lighting.
- Power supply: Power can be an issue depending on the type of light you purchase. This is especially the case if you are working outdoors. Look for lights and kits that can support your lighting needs with its power supply source.
- Wired and wireless systems: With a wired system, the signals from the camera to the lights are sent through cables for all the lights simultaneously. A wireless system uses infrared, WiFi, and Bluetooth technology to send the signal from the camera to the lights.
- Color Temperature: The color temperature of light is measured by the Kelvin scale which ranges from 2700K to 6500K. Using the Kelvin scale will help you determine the hue a specific light source emits, and understanding the Kelvin scale will help you customize the look and feel of your photo shoot.
- Color Rendering Index: CRI is a rating index commonly used to represent how well a light source renders the colors of objects that it illuminates. CRI is measured on a scale from 1-100; the lower the number, the less accurate color will be portrayed.
What kinds of light modifiers can be used with a studio light kit?
Modifiers can be added to your lighting setup for even more customization. There are different kinds of light modifiers and they do different functions. The most common are the umbrella, softbox, and skrim.
- Umbrella – Umbrellas create soft, flattering, and abundant light. This is the best light modifier for beginning photographers.
- Softbox – Softboxes also create soft, flattering light, but allow for more control over the light. Softbox lighting most accurately recreates soft, natural light.
- Skrim – A scrim is a square or rectangular frame with fabric stretched across. They create large areas of soft, diffused light and diffusing flash, continuous light, and sunlight.
How many lumens do you need for studio photography?
Many experts claim a good studio lighting kit should be about 200-300 watts, or 3000-4000 lumen for a small commercial photographic shoot. For a larger photography studio and multiple subjects, lights around 400-500 watts, or 5000-6000 lumens will do the job. However, the number of watts you require varies according to what you shoot and the setting.
What lights are used in a studio?
As we discussed above, studio lights will either be continuous light, flash strobe, or monolight strobe. Each has its purpose and is a matter of preference and lighting needs:
- Continuous Light – Continuous lighting uses fluorescent, LED or tungsten lights to keep the subject lit until the light is turned off. This allows the user to see the lighting effects in real-time, is easy to manipulate, and is usually the most cost-effective option.
- Flash Strobe – A flash strobe acts like a camera flash – a burst of high-intensity light that allows you to freeze a moving subject. They need to be attached to a digital camera, either wirelessly or with a cord. For them to work at their best, you can’t use faster shutter speeds than your camera’s high-speed sync speed. Unfortunately, these kinds of lights are only meant for photography lighting.
- Monolight Strobe Lighting – Monolights are self-contained studio strobe lights that contain flash heads, power controls, and electronics in a single unit. They also usually include modifiers and tripods, plus they tend to be among the cheaper kits. They connect directly to a power source and are meant to deliver a short, powerful burst of light.
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