Too many people who want to take better pictures make the mistake of focusing on the camera. What about what’s in front of the camera?
No matter what camera you have, if your subject isn’t well-lit, your images simply won’t be good. Also, cameras are expensive, especially ones that have significantly better image quality. For portraits, the difference between a $2,898 A7RII (Amazon) and a $499 Canon SL1 (Amazon) is noticeable, but the difference between those cameras with good lighting is much less, and for many users, it just won’t matter. In other words, if you light well, you can take extremely high quality images with even affordable or beginner DSLRs. In fact, if the lighting is right, one can even take great quality portraits with cell phones. It’s all about the light.
With that in mind, the easiest way to go from good to great quality is to invest in a high-quality light kit. These light kits have different features and advantages, but one thing they all have in common is their ability to improve photographs dramatically. For some, a robust lighting kit can make a huge difference in complex lighting situations with many elements, or for photographers with demanding expectations such as wanting to do less adjustment in post. For others, like vloggers and those with more simple demands, one or two lights, placed well, can make all of the difference. Also, some of these kits include backdrops. It all depends on your needs– but one thing you can be sure of, you can never have too much light.
Here are the top 10 best lighting kits for 2019:
1. Fovitec StudioPRO Lighting Kit
This is one pro kit that won’t let you down. Boasting solid build quality, powerful lights, and praised for its portability and versatility, the Fovitec StudioPRO lighting kit delivers on every level. One unique feature of this kit is that the lights have different brightness. For those looking to do less lighting adjustments in post, this is a huge advantage.
The only drawback with this kit is the high price. It will certainly be overkill for many users, but for the price, it is a great deal considering its excellent light quality and the overall sturdiness of the kit. It’s built to last.
- Massive kit with solid build quality
- Praised for its portability and versatility
- Energy efficent
- Silver lining allows maximum light reflection
- Some users had issues with the durability
- A few users struggled to put it together without instructions
- One users had issues with a hole in his bag
- Takes 30 minutes to set up
2. Neewer Background Lighting Kit
Boasting great quality for an affordable price, the Neewer Background Lighting Kit includes soft boxes, light umbrellas, and clips to make your shots look how you need them too. The backdrops also let one shoot with a variety of useful backgrounds: white, black, and green. This is a great kit for those looking to light on a budget, but who still want that professional look.
- Impressive overall quality for the price
- Backdrop isn’t high enough to use for very tall people
- Soft boxes give light an attractive look
- Kit includes a huge variety of lighting options
- Included backdrops need to be steamed before use; they come wrinkled
- Some users had issues with bad bulbs
- Light isn’t that strong
- Backdrop stand is on the flimsy side
3. Fancierstudio Chromakey Lighting Kit
This is the kit that one user said “There’s nothing better for the price.” With well-made soft boxes, great portability, and a carrying case that makes transportation simple, the FancierStudio Chromakey Lighting Studio offers one an easy way to get that great green screen look from the comfort of their own studio. One advantage this has over number two is its dimmable lights (seen below). It all comes down to what you need; in general, the Neewer Background Lighting Kit will allow for more versatility of the kinds of lighting while this kit will permit more brightness settings.
Price: $149.99 (50 percent off MSRP)
- Softboxes are well made
- Easy to assemble and put away
- Can deliver professional results
- Includes carrying case
- Carrying case isn’t rigid
- Lack of instructions made things difficult for some
- Kit is plastic
4. Ephoto Portrait Lighting Kit
With a few separating characteristics, the Ephoto portrait lighting kit offers users a curious alternative kit at a great price. With two black umbrellas and a very high backdrop, this is the kit to light one’s tall friends with. Black umbrellas can also be used to get more interesting light and looks from your subject. This kit is praised as being easy to set up and take down. At this price, it’s a great deal with plenty of lighting power.
Price: $129.99 (63 percent off MSRP)
- Easy set-up
- Offers different looks with its two types of umbrellas
- High backdrop (10 feet) means it should be more than tall enough for most use cases
- Some users had issues with durability
- Bulbs aren’t very bright compared to other products
- User had to buy second backdrop
- Some users had issues with height of backdrop
5. Excelvan Photography Lighting Kit
Right off the bat, the Excelvan Photography Lighting Kit is an appealing offer because it’s guaranteed; the kit includes a 100% satisfaction warranty, energy saving bulbs, and easy set up and take down. With three different backgrounds colors (white, green, and black) it should be able to accomodate most users’ needs. That said, the backdrop is slightly smaller than some of the other ones, and definitely on the narrow side at six feet. Still, for users looking for a tight, bright set-up this is a very affordable, high-quality choice. It’s perfect for any one trying to shoot a one-person vlog on green screen.
- One year 100% satisfaction warranty
- Energy saving bulbs
- Easy to set up and take down
- Some users had issues with the white backdrop
- A few users had issues with the bulbs upon delivery
- Stands need weights for stability
- Backdrops aren’t very thick
6. FancierStudio Lighting Kit DV
For those who don’t need a backdrop or a third point, the FancierStudio lighting kit offers a great solution: two extremely high-quality softbox lights. This is perfect for someone looking to set up areas of their home or studio with sets (or even outdoors) who doesn’t want that overly clinical look that studio backdrops can often produce. Each light is easy to setup and they cast very soft light. Many users praise them as not casting shadows. They may not be adjustable as some dimmers, but these lights create stunning, shadow-less looks at a very reasonable price. For those who don’t need a backdrop, this is the way to go.
Price: $99.99 (9 percent off MSRP)
- Easy to set up
- Bulbs have different modes for adjustable brightness
- Soft light has an attractive look
- Lights don’t cast shadows
- Stands are a bit cheap
- Clamps are OK
- Not as much light intensity control as some dimmers
- Kit only includes lights
7. Limostudio Softbox Lighting Kit
This Limostudio kit is very similar to the above kit with a few caveats. It isn’t quite as soft and the stand aren’t as high quality. Those minor things out of the way, it offers users great lighting capability. While the lights may lack dimmers, they are praised by users as having an excellent ability to flatter their subjects. For the more budget-minded person who doesn’t need a backdrop, these are an excellent deal. Though, one other annoyance is their short power cords; be sure you can accommodate them with a power strip or extender.
- Light quality is flattering; ideal for beauty or fashion work
- Includes carrying bag
- Lights are bright, soft, and even
- Short power cords
- Light stands are on the cheap side
- Carrying bag isn’t very durable
- One will need extra weight to stabilize stands
8. LimoStudio Continuous Lighting Kit
For those who need a three point kit with no backdrop, LimoStudio is at your rescue. This simple lighting kits offers users a solution for those who are looking light portraits au naturale or who already have a green screen or similar background solution. Unlike other kits, it has cords that are a good length and boasts a solid brightness (though some users found it insufficient, most were more than pleased). This kit offers a lot of lighting versatility at a very low price.
- Great lights for shooting portraits
- Described as a bargain
- Cords are a good length
- Includes three lights
- Stands are on the flimsy side
- Some users had issues with the brightness
- Carrying case isn’t very durable
9. FancierStudio Three Point Kit
For an affordable lighting kit, the FancierStudio Three Point Kit covers all of the bases. It has long cables, it’s easy to set up and break down, and should work for most situations. That said, some users found the lights to be a bit dim. For some, this may be a good kit try out and then replace the bulbs, as many have found it useful for. Still, for the price, it offers a durable setup with very decent capability at an awesome price.
- Stands are praised as high quality
- Easy to set up and break down
- Not as bulky as some other kits
- Cables are long
- Lights are on the dim side but can be replaced
- Umbrellas aren’t very durable
- One user had an issue with a lightbulb not working
10. Limostudio Continuous Softbox Light
For those who need one, simple powerful light, this LimoStudio light is the one for you. Not only is it more affordable than the other options, it boasts a huge lighting punch. Many users are shocked to see the size of the bulb and its lighting power. This is ideal to add to a kit or for those who don’t need a lot of balance or elegance. If you simply need to see a lot, this is the light for you. Some say it’s a bit much for vlogging and will therefore require a fill light of some kind, but one can just use a lamp or even a room light to help make up for the brightness in these cases. This is a great light and a great bargain.
- Stand is good quality
- Easy set up with short break down time
- Praised for being an extremely bright, single light
- Cord is on the short side
- Light can get very hot after long, continuous use
- Angle adjustment can be a bit glitchy on the stand
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