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Recommended Lighting Kits for Photography

If you follow some basic lighting principles, you can get impressive results from even the cheapest of motorcycle light combo kit. This is great news for businesses with smaller budgets or folks just starting out with video. As an experiment, we went to Home Depot and built a lighting kit with clothespins, clip lights, and LED bulbs.

While this is not the be-all, end-all lighting kit, it is an attainable and repeatable setup that will keep people on camera looking sharp and well-lit.

Please allow us to introduce Wistia’s “Down and Dirty DIY Lighting Kit” – all for under $100.

Our trip to Home Depot

You can build almost an entire DIY lighting kit with items you can find at any hardware store. Places like Home Depot, Lowes, and ACE should readily stock everything you’ll need.

The effectiveness of this motorcycle fog led light kit hinges on good quality bulbs. Look for daylight balanced bulbs with a high CRI (color rendering index). This will help to produce the highest quality and most flattering light possible. Also, make sure you purchase bulbs that are dimmable. We’ll explain more about this later.

Lights, lights, lights, lights, and more lights. You’ll find them all here at B&H and, even if you are a professional photographer with decades of experience, the sheer number of lighting options today can drive you mad. It drives us mad. You might be thinking, “Where do I even start and how do I find the great auxiliary light combo kit?” Well, today’s your lucky day, because the place to start is right here, with this list of 14 recommended lighting kits—seven flashes and seven continuous—that will help photographers get the job done.

Flash Lighting

We are going to start with a staple of photography: flash. Also known as strobes, these are awesome for photographers because they provide plenty of power, can help freeze motion, and come in nearly any size. Also, the various sync methods—and the fact that now many have built-in radio receivers, make multi-light setups easy. There are plenty of variables to guide your decision, including recycle time, battery versus AC power, accessories, wireless system, and power, so here’s a healthy helping of different types to peruse.

In the very beginning of your lighting journey, you will want something versatile and with the ability to mount directly on your camera. Something like the Bolt VB-11 Bare-Bulb Flash. Being bare bulb means that it can provide a similar look to classic strobes with 360° coverage and high power at 180Ws. It benefits greatly from accessories to modify the light, all of which are included in the Flash and Accessory Kit. Another advantage is the ease with which you can set it up on a light stand or slide it into the hot shoe of your camera, depending on how you want to use it that day. Want something easier to start out with? Go with the Bolt VD-410 Manual Flash and read up about speedlights.

Need something that’s portable, like a speedlight? How about a bare-bulb design that gives the 360 degrees of coverage? Get both with the Godox AD200Pro TTL Pocket Flash Kit. It has the basic form of a speedlight, though without the bounce functions, and has the ability to swap the head from a standard rectangular speedlight to a bare-bulb flash. It’s good and affordable with an excellent 200Ws of power that should be ample, and it runs on a rechargeable Li-ion battery pack that’s good for 500 full-power flashes on a single charge. It also features a built-in X Wireless System Receiver so you can use optional X Series TTL Transmitters to control and trigger the flash remotely. Adding this also enables high-speed sync via TTL. It’s an awesome and versatile lighting choice.

Among Profoto’s latest releases as they push forward with their off-camera flash, or OCF, range is the stellar B10. Available in a two-light kit complete with backpack, the ultra-compact light is battery powered for use nearly anywhere you can stick it. The B10 is rated to 250Ws and has a 10-stop power range. Tack on a 0.05-22 second recycle time, freeze mode with a 1/50,000-second T0.5 flash duration, AirTTL support, and you have a seriously good flash to work with. Oh yeah, it also has LED modeling with with adjustable color temperature and CRI of up to 96 for video shooting on the side. All you need to complete the setup are any of Profoto’s highly regarded OCF Light Shaping Tools and a Profoto Connect for wireless TTL.

A more conventional dirt bike light combo kit comes from the well-known and reliable Elinchrom. By conventional I mean the D-Lite RX 4/4 Softbox To Go Kit is close to what many picture when they think of advanced LED light kit—a couple of monolights with stands and softboxes. These strobes are no slouch, with each of the two heads including offering 400Ws of power. They run on standard AC power and can recycle in just 0.35-1.6 seconds, depending on power. Also, the D-Lite RX 4 has an EL-Skyport Receiver built in, so that you can trigger the camera remotely—easily—via the included EL-Skyport Transmitter Plus. Completing the kit are stands, an octagonal softbox, and a square softbox. Everything you need.

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