What to Know about Choosing Photography Lighting Kits

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Photography lighting kits can be an important addition to your photography gear.  Ask yourself this question - do your latest pictures indicate you need more options for changing, adding, and controlling lighting to get the results you want? Just looking at the variety of equipment for amateur or professional camera buffs is overwhelming. Selecting one of the prepackaged photography lighting kits is an excellent way to learn how to eliminate shadows, create shading, and adjust lighting by balancing the light.[fsbProduct asin='B00B8JRPXC']

One advantage of picking a kit is that you become familiar with the names and uses of the typical gear used by the pros, including stands, softboxes, and umbrellas. The equipment and price vary dramatically. If you are just starting out, consider an inexpensive basic package to experiment with. Additional equipment can be purchased later to supplement the gear already in your inventory. You can learn to control and get the most out of lighting to make your photos pop! Here are some things to know about choosing photography lighting kits.

Continuous Lighting Kits

Just as the name implies, continuous lighting is constant light, including the brilliance from a household bulb. The light remains on during the entire shoot. Kits for continuous lighting are available with fluorescent or tungsten lights. Both are excellent sources of light, so the choice really depends on the type of photography you do. Results are good from either light as long as you pick the right one for the shoot you are doing.

Typically selected for product photography and still life, continuous lighting lets you instantly see how the lighting will appear in the exposed image. Get the results you want by adjusting the intensity and angle of the lighting, checking the display until it is right.

Hot lights wilt and wither live subjects such as vegetables, pets, and humans. Fluorescent lights are not as intense as tungsten, but both lights radiate heat and are better used with inanimate shoots. When shooting both still and video, the best option is continuous lighting.

Flash and Strobe Lighting Kits

Diversity, flexibility, and control are the three most descriptive words for strobe lighting. Flash and strobe are two different terms for the same kind of lighting. You can sync at faster shutter speeds and adjust light intensity to its precise level. This is the lighting designed especially for subjects in motion!

Strobe lights are daylight balanced. Check the specifications of each flash/strobe kit you consider purchasing to be sure it will handle your photo op requirements.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each

In a nutshell, there are some distinct advantages and disadvantages of continuous lighting and strobe/flash lighting that may affect your decision of which kit to buy.

Continuous Lighting

Advantages:

  • Ideal for still life, videos, and product photography.
  • Helps beginner and amateur photographers understand the methods and value of controlling light.

Disadvantages:

  • Not good for shoots of living things because of the heat produced by the bulbs.
  • Significant color corrections needed in film or digital shoots, regardless of bulb type, particularly the green from cooler fluorescent bulbs.
  • Produces less output than comparable strobe lighting when shooting moving subjects, resulting in slower shutter speed that can't capture the action.
  • Less powerful lighting requires a large bank of bulbs or standing close to what is being photographed.

Strobe/Flash Lighting

Advantages:

  • Built-in modeling light in modern studio strobes shows how the lighting will look so strobes can be set up precisely.
  • A single strobe produces a lot of light, making it easier to choose and rearrange the display.
  • Monolights are a less expensive way to get great digital studio lighting when demand for lighting is not extensive (part-time or beginning photographer).

Disadvantages:

  • Typically do not produce a product photo as good as those of continuous lighting.
  • Monolight strobe units require strong, sturdy light stands to hold their weight.
  • Battery packs for heavy jobs are expensive.

Photography lighting kits for any purpose or budget are readily available, making it easier to practice with different techniques and pieces of equipment. The result is getting the perfect picture. In the end, you may decide to get one of the continuous lighting kits and flash/strobe lighting kits, spending a bit more on the one that will be used the most.

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