Best Photography Continuous Lighting Kits: Softbox vs. Umbrella - Rolling Stone
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The Best Photography Continuous Lighting Kits

Jumpstart your photography career with these professional-grade kits

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No photography studio would be complete without continuous lighting equipment. However, if you’re just starting to bring your photography into the professional sphere, it can be difficult to determine which kits are best for your needs. But one thing is for certain: the right kit has the power to transform your still-life photoshoots and videography alike.

Continuous lighting operates much like a flashlight. The light’s power can be adjusted depending on what result you need, but as a light source itself, it is constant. Once you turn the lights on, they remain on until you power them off yourself. While the definition may seem self-explanatory, it is what makes this equipment different from other photography lighting equipment, such as strobe lighting, which operates much like a flash and must be triggered before it lights up (with the moment of illumination being the moment in which you should capture your shot).

One of the primary advantages of utilizing continuous lighting equipment is its “what you see is what you get” quality. The way the light looks to your naked eye is also the way it will look in your final image. Therefore, it’s extremely easy to manipulate the light manually in the studio to be exactly how you want it, with no surprises when the shoot is over and you’re looking back at your images. This quality is also what makes continuous lighting so suitable for beginners – there is far less uncertainty involved in the overall process.

When selecting a continuous lighting kit, there is an important choice to make between softbox or umbrella lighting modifiers. Softboxes transmit light through the use of a diffusion panel and offer you directional control over where the light goes. In turn, the emitted light closely gives the effect of natural light coming in from a window. On the other hand, the umbrella modifier is simple to use because it is designed to create a broad, unrestricted source of lighting. Giving up directional control leads to an easier shooting experience for beginners. However, some kits come with both structures, which makes for more fun and possibility in the studio.

  

1. LimoStudio Photography Continuous Lighting Kit

Complete with a translucent white umbrella reflector, an 82.3-inch adjustable light stand, a single-head light holder, an energy-saving 45W Photo CFL Bulb, plus a carrying case for easily transporting the equipment, this kit is the perfect introduction to continuous lighting for beginners. The equipment is easy to set up, and the umbrella light diffuser requires little adjustment once up and running thanks to its ability to broadly spread light.

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2. HPUSN Continuous Lighting Equipment

If you’re looking for a little more creative control than the standard umbrella diffuser set-up can give you, then this softbox-focused kit is your go-to source for continuous lighting. The kit comes with two rectangular softboxes, two reflectors, two lightbulbs ideal for portrait photography, and stands that can extend to be 79 inches tall. The softboxes and bulbs work together to create light that closely resembles daylight, and remains uniform throughout the entire shoot.

best continuous lighting kit photography

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3. Neewer Continuous Lighting Kit

If you have space and the curiosity to experiment with different types of light diffusers, then this is the kit that will complete your studio. It offers both umbrellas and softboxes, which means you’ll never have to choose between broad light and directional light. Plus, this kit includes a backdrop support system, three different color backgrounds, backdrop clamps, four seven-foot light stands, four daylight bulbs, and a single-head light holder.

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4. RALENO Professional Photography Continuous Lighting Equipment

If your shoot takes you out of the studio, perhaps to a business or your subject’s home, this softbox-based continuous lighting kit is portable and easy to set up. The light stand measures 85 inches when fully extended, but can be folded up to only 27 inches. The stand’s sturdy locking system offers both durability and a quick, reliable setup procedure. The soft light illuminated by the softboxes is suitable for both still-life photography and portraits, and the quality will make you want to take this kit everywhere.

 

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