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Guide to photography studio lighting equipment

Understanding that light is an important aspect of the outcome of your photographs is critical whether you're a novice or a seasoned photographer. Adding light might be as simple as opening a window, using a lamp from your living room, or purchasing photography studio lighting equipment. In some cases, the latter will be required for convenience and the ability to have control over the lighting to create the target mood. In this article, we will discuss the following topics:

  1. The types of studio lighting equipment that you can use for photography
  2. How to choose the best equipment that suits your needs?
  3. How to use lighting equipment for photography?

COLBOR CL220 portable lighting equipment for photography is used for still life photograohy.

Basic studio lighting equipment: Three types to use in photography studios

Typically, there are 3 types of equipment that you can choose from. We will introduce them in the following part and make a comparison table.

Continuous lights

Contrary to the intense pulses of strobe speedlights and monolights, continuous lighting operates as it sounds: your light remains on constantly.

Although continuous illumination is less powerful than strobe lighting, it is better for novices since you get exactly what you see. This makes it considerably simpler and typically less expensive to change the lighting as needed.

It works well for still photography and is also a good choice for studio light for video, which is ideal for product photography as well. It can also be used with models to provide eye comfort.

Photography LED lighting equipment gains increasing popularity today. It is affordable and allows you to mount various modifiers on it to have more lighting control. It is usually adjustable at color temperature and brightness, and RGB types are even changeable in color to help create dramatic scenes.

Strobes

This lighting equipment for photography studio is usually used by professionals. A studio strobe, often known as a monobloc or monolight, is a specialized flash unit. Strobes are typically powered by cables, while more battery-powered options are being introduced to the market. Power output varies widely between models; cheaper strobes have roughly the same power as inexpensive third-party flashguns, whilst class-leading strobes are among the most powerful lights on the market.

Flashgun/speedlight

Flashgun is compact photography studio lighting equipment that is attached to the top of your camera. It is extremely portable, and some have rather high power outputs. Although its adaptability is ultimately limited by size and power output, it is a very valuable tool for any photographer interested in off-camera illumination. It is also less costly than studio strobes.

Table: Differences among continuous lights, strobes & flashguns

This table states the differences in pros & cons and targeted users.

Pros

Cons

Who it is for

Continuous

  • What you see is what you get
  • Can be used for photography and videography
  • Long lifespan(LED)
  • Affordable
  • Lower power output
  • Create much heat(tungsten)

For beginners on a budget working with models in-studio.

Strobes

  • Wide range of power outputs
  • Fire remotely
  • Built-in power supply, stands, fans, umbrellas
  • Need time to recycle power between shots
  • Less portable than flash
  • More expensive

For uncluttered professional studios.

Flashgun

  • Adjustable power out
  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Fire remotely
  • Need time to recycle power between shots
  • Need power source
  • Can’t see a preview of lighting effect

For a highly portable setup.

How to choose the best photography studio lighting equipment?

You can take the following factors into consideration to ensure that it is suitable for your needs.

Budget - Find a balance between price and quality.

Determine what you want in lighting equipment and what your budget is. Choose one that meets your requirements while remaining within your budget. Choosing the ideal selection requires striking a balance between price and quality.

Color temperature - Photography studio lighting equipment with variable color temperatures is recommended.

When recording videos, it's crucial to make sure the lighting is steady. Most lights will have settings ranging from extremely cool to very warm (2700K to 6500K). Utilizing a light source with adjustable color temperature is the ideal approach. If your lighting isn't set up properly, the photograph may appear odd or strange, which may blight the setting.

Brightness - It depends on the size of the scene you want it to illuminate.

It's crucial to have the proper wattage and brightness. When looking for studio lighting equipment for portrait photography or product photography, you don’t need the one with a relatively high power output. But you most likely require a bright light if you film large scenes either indoors or outdoors. Additionally, most lights can be adjusted at brightness from 0% to 100%.

Power source - Multiple power options ensure adaptability in studios and outdoors.

Consider lighting that is compatible with both AC adapters and DC power sources. This means that you may use these lights both indoors in a studio setting when you have access to an AC connection and outdoors using battery power. Therefore, you can make it outdoor photography lighting equipment. Some lights are portable with the help of V-Mount batteries, which is fantastic if you need the extra brightness for vlogging.

COLBOR CL330 LED lights for photography studio have buttons for lighting control.

How to use lighting equipment for photography in studios?

Photography studio lighting equipment can be used to create the following lighting types. Read on to learn about their uses and placement.

  • Key light: The key light is used to produce the overall lighting effect. It is often the brightest and most visible light in the photograph.
  • Fill: It is placed in reaction to the key one. It decreases the shadow intensity caused by key illumination, lowering the overall contrast in your setting.
  • Rim/back light: It illuminates the subject from behind, with the aim of distinguishing the subject from the backdrop. It is frequently placed such that only a sliver of light is visible on the sides of your subject.
  • Background: It points away from subjects to illuminate the background and is an ideal method to provide subject-background separation.
  • Hair: In portrait photography, it is used to draw attention to the subject's hair. If your subject's head is merging into the backdrop, you may also use it to aid increase exposure.

If you build your home studio and want to know how to set up studio lighting at home, check the article What is studio lighting at home and how to set it up?