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Lighting for home studio photography: What to use and how to set up

Taking home studio photography allows you to avoid carrying large and heavy photography equipment to a rental studio. It also means you can have full control of the shooting place. Portraits, food, and product photography are all great for home setup since they don’t need a lot of space. And getting lighting for home studio photography is the key to taking your photography business to new heights. In this article, we will talk about what lighting equipment is needed for your home photography studio, and offer some novice tips for you to start.

COLBOR CL220 is a good choice to light your home studio photography.

What lighting equipment do you need for home studio photography?

You need to prepare a professional setup if you want to take up home studio photography. The essential equipment includes light sources for illuminating the subject and the scene, modifiers for shaping and directing the illumination, and stands for holding the fixture in place. Read on to get more details.

Light sources

Natural and artificial studio lights are two common types that you can use for your home studio photography. Here we will talk about what they are and their pros and cons.

Natural light

The sun offers natural light. If you have a window that lets in sufficient sunlight, this is an excellent location to begin learning about the role of light in photography.


  • Less gear
  • Less cost
  • Offers beautiful light


  • It will change as the time of day and the weather change
  • Requires frequent adjustments of camera settings to ensure good white balance
  • Restricted by daylight hours

Artificial light

Artificial lights are studio lights, which exclude the overhead lamps in your home. They may consist of strobes, continuous lights, and speed lights. When it comes to lighting home studio photography, artificial lighting is far more versatile than natural sunshine.


  • Can be set up anywhere you want
  • Won’t be restricted by time of day and weather
  • Convenient to be moved around
  • Adjustable at power output, color temperatures, colors, etc.
  • Can be modified by light accessories


  • More tools involved
  • Need some knowledge about lighting arrangement
  • More cost

Types of artificial lighting include speedlites, studio lights, and continuous light. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Speedlites: If you're new to studio flash lighting, speedlites might be your top choice. These little flashes can be used on or off the camera. They are fantastic for freezing motion and are quite affordable. They do not, however, have a high power output and are not as simply adjusted as studio lights.

Continuous lighting: LED constant light provides a consistent source of light that is ideal for both photography and video. It allows you to preview the lighting effects in real time. Therefore, many novice photographers find them to be easier to use and comprehend than studio flash. This lighting for at home photography studio, on the other hand, does not have the same power output as studio flash and is not well adapted to freezing fast-moving subjects.

Studio flash lighting: While the debate over continuous lighting VS studio flash is now raging, the fact is that many studio photographers still choose to employ studio flash. The reason is that studio flash lighting has a far higher power output and hence more creative versatility. They also provide a far higher degree of control, with some lights allowing you to vary the brightness by as little as one-tenth of a stop. Another advantage is the short duration of the flash, which is useful for photographers who want to freeze motion and capture fast-moving subjects.

You can consider the following questions to choose the best lighting for home studio photography:

  • What is the type of photography that you want to shoot in the long run?
  • How many light fixtures are needed?
  • How often will you take up on-location photography?
  • What’s your budget?
  • What modifiers can be used with the studio light you choose?

Light modifiers

Light modifiers in your home studio will give you more control over the photography lighting, no matter whether you use natural or artificial light. Here are some modifiers you can choose from and each is noted whether it is helpful for natural light or studio light or both.

  • Softbox (artificial)
  • Umbrella (artificial)
  • Grid (artificial)
  • Gels (artificial)
  • Black & white foam board (both)
  • Diffuser (both)
  • Reflector (both)

Lighting stands

Light stands are needed to hold the lights for home studio photography. Consider the amount of floor area they take up, as well as their strength and height. It is advised to invest in some durable and heavy-duty stands for your home studio photography setup.

COLBOR CL220 light for home studio photography has a cover for protecting the LED beads.

How to set up photography lighting for a home studio?

Setting up lighting for home studio photography properly can take your image quality to the next level. Here are some steps that you can follow if you are first starting:

Choose a proper space at home: Find a place in your home that is large enough to fit your equipment and allow for optimum lighting setup. It is ideal to set up your home studio in a place with white or light-colored walls to reduce undesired color casts.

Decide the lighting needs: Consider the photography type you are going to take and the intended lighting effect. Consider if you'll be capturing portraits, still life, or other genres, since this may affect the type and quantity of lighting you'll want.

Make an investment in lighting equipment: Buy at least two light sources based on your budget and needs. Continuous lights and strobes are two common types used in home studio photography. However, if you just start, speedlights or LED panels are affordable choices that also work well.

Set up the key light: This is the main source of illumination to light up the subject. Position it at a 45° angle to the subject to provide depth and dimension. Move it around to get the desired result. Softboxes, umbrellas, or diffusers can help to soften the light and minimize sharp shadows.

Add fill light: It is positioned on the opposite side of key light to balance the harsh shadow. You can also use a reflector to bounce the light back. It works to decrease contrast and offer even lighting.

Add a backlight if needed: This isolate the subject from the backdrop and create a feeling of depth. It should be placed behind and slightly above the subject to accentuate its outlines while avoiding unwanted glare.

Use light modifiers: Diffusers, reflectors, and grids are common light modifiers to help you modify the intensity, direction, and quality of lighting for home studio photography. Experiment with different modifiers to get the right lighting effects for your photographic style.

Set up a background: Select an appropriate backdrop for your home studio photography. You may use seamless paper, cloth, or even a wall with unique textures. Make sure the background is evenly illuminated and devoid of any distracting items.

Take test shots and make adjustments: After you've set up your lighting, take several test photos and assess the results. Adjust the location, intensity, and modifiers as needed to create the desired effect. Pay close attention to the overall exposure, highlights, and shadows.