If you’re just getting started in studio photography, it can be overwhelming to put together a full studio lighting kit. Understanding the pros and cons of a variety of different types of studio lights will help you evaluate the best equipment to acquire for your own personal lighting collection.
What Are Studio Lights?
Studio lights are any form of lighting equipment used by photographers, often when working in a photography studio, to enhance their photography. Most professional photographers have different light kits they use depending on the situation they find themselves shooting in.
These types of studio lights work just like a regular house lamp: when you turn on the switch, the light comes on. Then it stays on until you turn off the switch, or the bulb burns out.
There are three types of continuous lighting in photography: fluorescent, LED and tungsten.
An important thing to consider when you’re buying them as studio lights is the CRI (color rendering index).
This number indicates how ‘realistically’ it will reproduce an object’s color compared to a neutral light. In general, incandescent bulbs have a very high CRI.
You can find fluorescent bulbs in different hues: white, green, yellow, and red. They are energy efficient, and they don’t overheat, which makes them a popular choice.
Fluorescent lights are often used in portrait and product photography. To brighten larger areas, you can buy socket stands with multiple sockets.
As a continuous lighting source, these are extremely affordable and can be bought in full kits, single lights with accessories or single sockets.
LED lights are a very popular type of continuous lighting. They don’t overheat, and they’re not very expensive. However, they’re not as energy-efficient as fluorescent bulbs.
On the plus side, you can change the colour of the light in most LED lamps, making them very flexible for creating different atmospheres, adding creative effects, or matching the white balance when combined with other light sources.
You can buy single LED lights, LED lighting kits and even light sticks suitable for light painting photography.