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The most important equipment for any home photography studio is undoubtedly the lighting kit. A softbox lighting kit softens, evenly diffuses, and strengthens the illumination of a smaller light source, recreating the quality of daylight in your indoor studio. Photographers can use a softbox to control the shape and direction of light, reduce shadow, and minimize glare.
What Are the Best Photography Softbox Lighting Kits?
The best softboxes and photo lighting kits come in a wide variety of styles and sizes, and can be used for everything from shooting portraits to still-life to product shots for your website or social media. We found sets for both aspiring pros and hobbyists alike.
For most purposes, you’ll only need kits with one or two boxes included — just make sure they have a wide rotation range, sturdy stands that can be adjusted for height, and bulbs with sufficient wattage. Here are some other things to look for.
Quality of Light: Check the light quality produced by the softbox for brightness and range, which should be evenly diffused across the entire area you’re photographing. You’re also looking for a light source that is constant and steady. This is especially important for shooting video.
Size: In general, the larger the box the softer the light will be. But likewise, the larger the box, the more energy and bulbs will be needed in order to be effective. For beginners, one or two square or rectangular boxes — around 24 by 24 inches in diameter or 20 by 27 inches — will suit most purposes.
Mobility: If you plan to keep your studio stationary at home, than how portable a kit is won’t matter much. That said, we find kits that are easy to quickly assemble and disassemble and include some kind of duffel carrying bag are extremely useful. Most of our picks are also pretty lightweight, which makes them less of a hassle to move around.
Sturdiness: A poorly-constructed stand or one made of weak materials will not reliably hold up the box without some wobble, never mind withstand outdoor winds or other conditions. Because a softbox needs to produce light that is constant and steady, a sturdy stand is essential.
Adjustments: In order to always get the correct shadow control or angles, the lightbox and stands should both include a wide range of height and rotation adjustments. Good softboxes rotate 210 degrees, and can be modified for heights between 27 and 80 inches.
1. MOUNTDOG Photography Continuous Softbox Lighting Kit
For a beginner working within a relatively contained space, we would highly recommend this softbox kit, which efficiently illuminates a 10 by 10 foot space. The set includes one, 20 by 28 inch rotating softbox and a tripod stand which can be modified for height between 27 and 80 inches. It also includes two large light bulbs instead of one, so you always have a spare.
This all-in-one kit is also great as a portable option. Assembly and tear-down are painless and uncomplicated, the equipment is lightweight, and everything fits neatly into the included carrying case.
2. HPUSN Softbox Professional Studio Photography Lighting Kit
We like that this kit comes with two softboxes (including lightbulbs) instead of one, which gives photographers a few more options when it comes to lighting design. The softboxes and tripods are also adjustable for angle and height to achieve the perfect shot.
Newbie and experienced photographers alike agree on this set’s superior light quality, which produces the soft, neutral illumination of daylight at an impressive range. The tripods are constructed from aluminum alloy, and though quite light in weight are still totally sturdy.
3. Neewer Professional Photography Softbox
In addition to two adjustable softboxes, tripods, lightbulbs, and carrying case, this kit includes removable external diffusers and white front covers which allow the photographer to adjust the softness level. We also approve of the lightbulbs’ low operating temperature to keep them from overheating, a common problem with other sets.
4. ESDDI Softbox Lighting Kit
Photographers point out the various practical details of this kit, including the LED light with diffuser built in, the heat synch function to keep bulbs from overheating, and the long power cord which makes positioning the boxes easier.
The manufacturer notes protective details intended to maximize the set’s durability, including a rubber sleeve protector for the softbox and strong silk fabric that is tear-resistant. This set will last you for years.