Are you a beginner or a student looking to start your photography lighting kit? Photography Lighting can be tough to get started with, especially if you're teaching yourself. Here's a handy blog of top tips and info on some of the most important pieces of lighting equipment you will need, plus some recommendations on kits.
Flash VS Continuous LED Lighting
While most new photographers being introduced to off camera lighting still use flash and strobe lighting, many more have found getting to grips with lighting much easier when using continuous LED lights instead. Why not check for a local studio for hire near you and see what lighting equipment they have to try out? Many studios also run group shooting events which allow you to try out some equipment plus shoot a fun theme. Check out our Try Before You Buy studios to see if there are any studios that use PiXAPRO equipment near you!
There are a lot of benefits to both strobe and continuous lighting, so it depends what you personally prefer to use.
- Generally outputs brighter than LED lighting does, which helps when shooting outdoors when you need to overpower the sun.
- Often battery-powered, whereas LEDs are more often mains powered as they need more power to stay on continuously.
- Strobes will often be much more compact than continuous LED heads also, making them much better on location.
Similar Article: Using Continuous Lighting over Flash as a Beginner by James Marson
- Although strobes often have modelling lamps, its much easier to get a vision of the lighting effect in your image when you can see it in real time. Photography LED lighting kit offers that option, which can be helpful for beginners unsure of how lighting will work in practice.
- You don't need a trigger to shoot with LED lighting.
- LED heads are useful to have to hand if you are aiming to shoot lots of video content too - rather than buying separate strobes and LED, LED might be enough for you!
- Some photographers, such as wedding photographers, will prefer to use LED heads at events as this makes any video content smoother, and reduces the likelihood of flashing strobes being a distraction to guests.
With the strobes and LEDs we stock at EssentialPhoto, many of them are also built with Bowens S-Type modifier fittings, meaning your softboxes will be compatible either way, so you won't have to purchase more modifiers if you need to use different lighting options. Check this information in the "Specifications" tab on the product listing.
Lighting modifiers are essential tools in photography and videography that help control and manipulate light. Depending on the type, they can be used to create soft, diffused lighting, or even to create a harsh, crisp spotlight effect, or with the use of gels for example, can make your light a different colour.
Types of popular Light modifiers / Accessories include:
- Photography Softboxes
- Umbrellas Photography
- Snoots/Optical Snoots
- Colour Gels Photography
- Barndoor Lighting Sets
- Photography Beauty Dishes
- Scrims and Flags
- Light Reflector Photography
Umbrellas photography are always a great place to start, as they're affordable and offer straightforward lighting effects, as well as softboxes and barndoors, which are versatile light modifiers that you can use to completely change up your lighting.
Once you've mastered modifiers such as these, you'll find it a lot easier to then move on to things like snoots and gels!
We also always recommend to pick up a handy 5-in-1 reflector, as these can be a huge asset in terms of filling in shadows and bouncing light in the right direction without having to add extra lights to your setup.
See our YouTube Video on the 5-in-1 Reflector: 3 Tips for Using 5-in-1 Reflectors for Portraits | with Mark Willshire
Our 5 Best Photography Lighting Kit Recommendations
Here for the kit recs? Scroll no further.
Our PiXAPRO LUMI400 II Heads are a great introduction to flash photography lighting kit for beginners and students, with their built-in receivers, slave mode, fast recycling times and flash durations. These handy mains flashes are great if you're working on building up a studio space of your own, and they're affordable too! At 400w each, this photography lighting kit of LUMI400s offers a total of 1200w of light to your setup.
This lighting kit comes with three LUMI400 II heads, 2 softboxes and a white translucent umbrella, as well as light stands, a Pro AC trigger (universal and will fit any brand of camera with a hotshoe!), plus reflectors and a handy case to pack everything away into.
See similar: the LUMI200 II Triple Complete Student Kit with a selection of different modifiers including a strip softbox, octagonal softbox, and snoot and barndoor kit!
Consisting of two 200w PIKA200 Pro battery flash units, alongside two collapsible 48cm Mini Octagonal Bare Bulb softboxes, this photography lighting kit is great for beginners looking for battery powered portable flash options! The compact 200w PIKA200 Pros are small enough to fit in your pocket, and yet can still pack up to 500 full-powered flashes per full charge.
The PIKA200 PRO flashes feature HSS (High Speed Sync), which is great for times when you want to use your shutter speed to bring down the ambient exposure and using the flash to illuminate your subject, so the sky doesn’t get blown out. TTL is ideal for fast-paced situations where you don’t have the time to meter and adjust your flash settings. This is one of the best photography lighting kits, which comes with two strong and durable air-cushioned light stands, and a sturdy roller case to transport and store everything.
A great high-end introduction kit, the Daylite60D Triple kit is perfect for beginners and students with using continuous lighting by allowing you to create a versatile three light point set-up with ease. These 60W 5600K Daylight-balanced mains-powered COB LED lights have high colour ratings for accurate colour reproduction, and are energy efficient, all at 5,400lux brightness at 1m distance, which is equivalent to a traditional 600W tungsten light.
Paired with 3x 60x90cm softboxes, with the rectangular shape helping to emulate a natural window light to give a more uniform effect, great for portraits and commercial photography and useful when used as a fill light. The 2 extra layers of diffusion helps to reduce any unwanted reflections or shadows from the shot.
Looking for something a bit more straightforward? The Twin Daylite60D kit features two heads with two white translucent shoot-though umbrellas rather than softboxes.
Great as an add-on to other equipment you may already own or as a standalone kit to get started with, the CITI600 offers more power than the PIKA200 Pro at 600w, and this kit comes with a Rice Bowl softbox, designed to produce soft, yet focused lighting that replicates a round catchlight in your model's eye.
The CITI600 and Rice Bowl softbox pairing is often used by pet photographers such as Jess from ThatPhotographySpot, who uses the CITI600 Pro for dog photography!
The CITI600 PRO is a Battery-Powered portable TTL Monolight Strobe, that features a self-contained rechargeable battery. It also has Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) Technology to achieve short flash durations, as well as fast recycle times.
A powerful kit, this duo of two STORM400 MKIII studio lights adds up to 800w between the two units, with 40" White Translucent umbrellas paired with the lights. These mains powered lights are suitable for the studio, with extremely short flash durations of up to 1/29,600 of a second, as well as ultra-fast recycle times enabling you to shoot at up to 20 Frames Per Second. This makes this kit the best photography lighting for shoots such as action photography, sports and dance photography or shoots where you have to freeze motion, such as dynamic product photography.
This kit also includes two light stands, as well as a roller case for easy transporting in case you need to travel to other studios!
Still after some more advice? Why not drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and our Product Advisors would be happy to help out!
EssentialPhoto is an Official Godox Partner and trusted UK Distributor and Repair Centre, stocking the widest range of Godox photography lighting kit in the UK. Having worked with Godox for over 10 years, we’ve developed a long-term, trusted partnership, and we continue to work closely to ensure we deliver the best products and solutions to clients.