A lot goes into creating the perfect mise-en-scene, but lighting is undoubtedly one of the key parameters. However, finding the right equipment isn’t easy.
Firstly, you must have the technical know-how to understand how to use the lighting systems. Even after you have covered that area, purchasing the most suitable kit could be challenging, especially if you’re a beginner.
That’s why we have taken it upon ourselves to make things much simpler, so you can start off on the right foot. After a lot of research, trial, and error, we have come up with a list of the 7 best continuous lighting kits for photography.
Without further ado, let’s shoot.
1. LimoStudio Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit – Best for Beginners and Professionals
Reigning in position number 1, the LimoStudio Lighting Kit is a favorite among professionals of all skill levels. Therefore, whether you’re a beginner in this line of work or an expert, we suggest keeping this kit handy for creating the right kind of setup. Plus, it comes with an attractive price tag, which is a win-win.
First things first, this kit includes all the necessary equipment for a professional photoshoot, so you can create the perfect light set-up in any indoor environment. For instance, it comes with a pair of 82” tall flash strobe light stands that form the foundation of the entire apparatus.
Other than that, the package also has a 29.8” light stand to complete the set. What impressed us the most is a couple of white umbrella reflectors that can perfectly diffuse the light so that you can effortlessly capture a full spectrum of color.
The umbrellas soften the light and cast gentle shadows on the subject, which is essential for flash photography. Even though you get a 45W CFL in the kit, you may replace it with a more powerful light source for a high-key effect. That’s the beauty of this set – it’s not a rigid system, and there’s enough room for experimentation and customization.
While our top recommendation is the complete package, our only gripe is that it does not come with a user guide. It’s pretty easy to put together and, as such, does not require a lot of guesswork. However, if you’re a photography novice, we suggest looking up a few videos online to use the kit in the best way possible.
What We Like
- Includes a pair of 82″ tall flash strobe light stands
- White umbrella reflectors perfectly diffuse the light
- Captures a full spectrum of color
- Flexible set-up; can be paired with lights of higher wattage
What We Don’t Like
- Does not come with a user guide
2. Julius Studio Photography Continuous Lighting Kit – Best for Easy Transportation
As professionals, we constantly look for equipment that’s easy to set up and does the job without needing much oversight. That’s why we recommend investing in the Julius Studio Photography Continuous Lighting Kit as it offers you all the convenience and more. Besides, its budget-friendly price tag makes it a great choice for users of all skill levels.
First off, the kit features two softboxes measuring 20″ x 28″ with their individual light stand tripods. With this, you can cast light on your subject from two directions and set the scene with optimum brightness.
The two adjustable light stands can be extended up to 78″, with the shortest height being 28.5″. Plus, they come with screw mounting on top with a reliable locking system that secures the lights. The softboxes have a silver internal face, which ensures maximum light dissipation while preventing loss.
Meanwhile, the pair of 85W daylight-balanced bulbs perfectly illuminates the shooting space in any indoor location. Besides, you also have the advantage of angular adjustment, meaning you can change the lighting path by using this feature and position them anywhere between 0° to 180°.
Other than that, it’s a cinch to transport, thanks to the all-in-one carry bag. So, if you often have to travel with your equipment, give this item a shot.
We do not have any complaints about the performance or quality of this kit. However, you may find other brands that also provide a tabletop light stand in the same price range. Therefore, apparently, it is one tool short, but if this setup serves your purpose, it’s still a good buy.
What We Like
- Kit includes two softboxes measuring 20″ x 28″
- Adjustable light stands come with a reliable locking system
- Adjustable angle lets you position lights between 0° to 180°
- All-in-one carry bag ensures easy transport and storage
What We Don’t Like
- Kit does not include a tabletop light stand
3. Neewer 700W Professional Photography Lighting Kit
For our 3rd spot, we’ve picked the Neewer 700W Lighting Kit, another reliable unit for professionals out there. Whether you’re keen on portrait photography or need lights for shooting vlogs, this kit will provide sufficient illumination to set the mood. Therefore, if you want to capture images with high clarity, this is your best bet.
Most budget lighting systems do not offer enough coverage to space out and fit in multiple subjects. However, that won’t be a concern with this high-performance unit. For starters, the kit features a pair of 24″ x 24″ softboxes with aluminized inner fabric acting as efficient reflectors.
Therefore, you can achieve the ultimate softened light effect while removing the shadows. It’s also quite versatile in terms of application. Long story short, you may use the equipment for shooting portraits, glamor, and product photography.
As far as the light stands are concerned, we are very impressed with the durable aluminum alloy construction, ensuring stability and high functionality. Plus, the duo features quick single-action locks for precise height adjustments. Also, thanks to the adjustable knob, you can even change the direction of the lights.
Meanwhile, the 85W CFL bulbs are ideal for creating the right amount of brightness, without overheating or burnout issues.
We could hardly find any serious flaws with this high-utility kit; however, we are not too thrilled about the assembly process. For the uninitiated, setting up the softboxes can be a real pain. While it does come with instructions, we advise you not to rush as you could risk breaking some parts.
What We Like
- Includes two 24″ x 24″ softboxes with aluminized inner fabric
- Light stands feature durable aluminum alloy construction
- 85W CFL bulbs create the right level of brightness without overheating
- Light stands come with single action locks and adjustable knobs
What We Don’t Like
- Softboxes are challenging to assemble
4. MOUNTDOG Photography Studio Softbox Lighting Kit
If you plan on expanding your portfolio, it’s essential to have the right equipment for the task. The MOUNTDOG Photography Studio Softbox Lighting Kit is an excellent acquisition that’ll help you enhance your skills while providing room for creativity and refinement. So, If you want to transition from your entry-level kit, check out this option.
The biggest USP of this lighting kit is the 54″ long boom arm. This piece of equipment alone provides users with a lot of flexibility as it lets you hold the key light precisely in position. Together with the sandbag and the holder arm grip, this contraption gives you more freedom in terms of lighting angles and position.
However, the good things don’t end here. The kit comprises 3 x 95W CFL bulbs that produce a muted glow, allowing you to shoot subjects in action or still. Other than that, the package includes 3 light stands, which makes the deal even more attractive.
If you’re worried about their quality, let’s just say that they are made of aluminum alloy, thereby ensuring durability and ease of transport. Furthermore, to add to your convenience, the angle of the softboxes when mounted can be adjusted up to 210°. Therefore, you have enough opportunity to go completely avant-garde with this handy set.
Hands down, Mountdog offers a superb deal at an unbeatable price, and we recommend buying this if you’re a no-frills person. However, the brand has cut corners, and that’s evident in the poor-quality storage case. It may not last multiple trips or any form of misuse, so be careful while transporting the equipment.
What We Like
- Kit includes a 54″ long boom, allowing more flexibility
- Comes with 3 durable and lightweight aluminum light stands
- Softboxes, when mounted, can be adjusted up to 210°
- Enables users to choose from a wide range of positions and angles
What We Don’t Like
- Poor quality storage case
5. Linco Lincostore Photo Video Studio Light Kit AM169
The Linco Studio Light Kit has been recently creating a stir among photography enthusiasts, and we decided to find out if it’s actually worth the hype. After due diligence, we must say, we’re delighted with the overall performance of this product. So, if you’re interested in something with all the bells and whistles, take a look at our 11th pick.
First off, this high-utility product includes four 23W bulbs that power 4 individual lighting systems. To explain further, the AM169 comes with 2 square silver umbrella softboxes that work as reflectors and diffusers. Other than that, you also get 2 white translucent umbrellas that evenly disperse light, eliminating glares and hotspots.
As far as the light stands go, the 4 units boast superior die-cast steel construction, extending up to 77″. Furthermore, these beams can support a load of 15 lbs and feature a zinc stud head. However, what takes the cake is the 77″ x 78″ background support system that works with 3 muslin backdrops (green, black and white).
Unlike other kits, it also has 3 background holders that help you secure the screens in place. Additionally, we’re very impressed with the premium quality carry bag with a water-resistant interior, ensuring safety during storage and transport. Lastly, the kit includes a selfie stick set so you can shoot with your phone.
We are, for the most part, satisfied with the quality and performance of all the accessories. That said, we would have preferred it if the bulbs were a little brighter, as a combined output of 400W may not be sufficient for all forms of photography. Nevertheless, it’s a good choice and worth considering.
What We Like
- 2 square silver umbrella softboxes work as reflectors and diffusers
- Die-cast steel light stands with a zinc stud head can hold up to 15 lbs
- Includes a 77″ x 78″ background support system and 3 muslin backdrops
- Comes with a premium quality carry bag with water-resistant properties
What We Don’t Like
- Low light output may not be suitable for all forms of photography
6. MOUNTDOG Photography Continuous Softbox Lighting Kit
We may seem a little partial towards this brand, but a list of best continuous lighting kits is incomplete with the MOUNTDOG Photography Continuous Softbox Lighting Kit. Our 6th pick is a basic set of accessories that makes a perfect choice for beginners and enthusiasts. So, if you’re on a budget, just starting out, get this stat.
This kit features a pair of 95W light bulbs, powerful enough to illuminate any scene, whether you’re shooting portraits, fashion photography, or other indoor forms. It comes with one 20” x 28” softbox that perfectly softens the hard light and eliminates object shadows.
Thanks to the adjustable lamp holder, the lighting angle can be modified up to 210°, to meet your individual shooting needs. Therefore, you can cast the light from multiple angles and create the desired moods and effects. Besides, the softbox is quite lightweight and easy to assemble, which is a lifesaver for amateurs.
Other than that, we are very impressed with the sturdy, aluminum tripod light stand, with an adjustable height ranging from 27” to 80”. All of it comes in a reliable carrying case, enabling you to safely store and transport all the accessories. So, if you have to hit the road too often in your line of work, this is the best fit.
There are hardly any significant flaws worth mentioning. However, it’s a little difficult to adjust the brightness level while shooting. You may move the light closer or farther away from the subject, but then again, the illumination may be insufficient in certain places. Also, the area closest to the lights could develop hot spots.
What We Like
- 20″ x 28″ softbox softens the hard light and eliminates object shadows
- Adjustable lamp holder allows users to change lighting angle up to 210°
- Sturdy, aluminum tripod light stand extends up to 80″
- Reliable carrying case ensures safe storage and transport
What We Don’t Like
- Difficult to adjust the brightness level; risk of hotspots
7. Emart Photography Continuous Lighting Kit
Now that we’ve reached the end of our list, we would like to finish off with a flash. That’s why we want to introduce the Emart Photography Continuous Lighting Kit. However, its bottom position is not a comment on its overall performance as we simply consider it to be the last of the best 7 options.
First off, we are absolutely stoked about the 86″ light stands, which are much taller than the average stands available on the market. Other than that, you have the option of pairing them with either the translucent white umbrellas or the black reflector umbrellas.
Therefore, depending on the results you want to achieve, you can use either of the duos to set the scene. While the white umbrellas can soften and diffuse the light cast by any tungsten or studio flash source, the black ones reflect the light sources, extending coverage.
Furthermore, the kit includes a background support system, ideal for all your chroma key shenanigans. Nevertheless, one of the most striking things about this kit is the vinyl plastic backdrop.
It’s more durable than paper and cloth screens and has a white wood floor digital print that can be used to incorporate graphics and effects.
Nothing except the carry bag. We are not sure why the manufacturers would provide something that can only accommodate either the light stands or the background crossbar. It cannot fit all the accessories, so you’ll have to make a separate arrangement for the rest of the parts.
What We Like
- Comes a pair of white translucent umbrellas that diffuse the light
- Black reflective umbrellas increase the light spread and coverage
- Background support system works with white wood floor print screen
- Vinyl backdrop is more durable than paper and cloth screens
What We Don’t Like
- Carry bag cannot accommodate all the accessories
What Is the Best Continuous Lighting Kit for Photography?
This table provides a comprehensive comparison of top continuous lighting kits, detailing specifications such as output power (measured in watts), light bulb types, softbox dimensions (in inches), presence of background support systems, available backdrop colors, and included accessories.
|Product||Output Power||Light Bulbs||Softbox Size||Background Support System||Backdrop Colors||Other Accessories|
|LimoStudio Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit||700W||2 x 85W 6500K CFL||Umbrella Reflector||No||None||None|
|Julius Studio Photography Continuous Lighting Kit||800W||2 x 85W 6500K CFL||20″ X 28″ Softbox||No||None||None|
|Neewer 700W Professional Photography Lighting Kit||700W||2 x 85W 5500K CFL||24×24″ Softbox||No||None||None|
|MOUNTDOG Photography Studio Softbox Lighting Kit||190W||2 x 95W 5500K CFL||20×28″ Softbox||No||None||None|
|Linco Lincostore Photo Video Studio Light Kit AM169||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Black, White, Green||None|
|MOUNTDOG Photography Continuous Softbox Lighting Kit||N/A||2 x 85W 5700K LED||19.7″x27.5″ Softbox||No||None||Remote Control|
|Emart Photography Continuous Lighting Kit||400W||2 x 45W CFL||Umbrella||N/A||Black, White||None|
Buying Guide for the Best Continuous Lighting Kit
Knowing all about the 7 best continuous lighting kits may seem enough to go – lights, camera, action! But you still need to figure out what equipment will serve you best in the long run.
That’s why we’ve listed some key factors that you must consider before purchasing any of these options. Take a look at the now.
1. Power Output
The total power output of a kit obviously depends on the number of bulbs and their wattage. Therefore, if you’re looking to create a 3-point lighting set-up, it’s essential to have powerful lights that’ll diminish shadows and illuminate the subject.
We suggest opting for high-powered equipment for the best results. At the same time, make sure that the bulbs are energy-efficient.
The versatility of a kit depends on the type of accessories it offers and its features. That said, the kits that come with a background support system allow you to shoot in front of a screen so that you can add graphics and effects while editing.
Also, some kits come with a boom arm, allowing users to explore different lighting angles and positions. So, it all depends on the project and the results you want to achieve.
Not all professionals have their own studios. Portability is a critical factor that cannot be ignored. Ideally, the kit bag should facilitate safe storage and transport. However several manufacturers skimp on the build material, which renders the bag unusable after a while.
Make sure that the carry bag accommodates all the accessories as you do not want to carry other parts separately.
Lastly, you should invest in a kit with good-quality stands and reflectors/diffusers. Some stands are too flimsy and get knocked over easily. Therefore, check for stability and durability as you’d want the lighting unit to work on all types of flooring.
What are the most common modifiers used with continuous lighting kits?
The most common modifiers used with continuous lighting kits are softboxes, umbrellas, and reflectors. Softboxes provide a diffused, even light that is ideal for portraits and product photography. Umbrellas offer a softer, more indirect light that is well-suited for video production. Reflectors are used to bounce and redirect light for more control over the direction and intensity of the light.
How many lights do I need in a continuous lighting kit?
The number of lights you need in a continuous lighting kit depends on the size of your shooting area, the type of subjects you are shooting, and your desired lighting setup. In general, a two-light kit is a good starting point for most photography and video production needs.
What types of bulbs are used in continuous lighting kits?
Continuous lighting kits use different types of bulbs, including incandescent, fluorescent, and LED bulbs. Each type of bulb has its own advantages and disadvantages, such as color temperature, energy efficiency, and lifespan.
Can continuous lighting kits be used for outdoor photography?
Yes, continuous lighting kits can be used for outdoor photography, but they may not be as powerful as strobe lights or flashes. Additionally, they may be affected by natural light sources such as the sun and may require additional modifiers such as reflectors to control the direction and intensity of the light.
What is the difference between a softbox and an umbrella?
A softbox and an umbrella are both types of light modifiers used with continuous lighting kits. A softbox provides a more diffused, even light that is ideal for portraits and product photography. An umbrella offers a softer, more indirect light that is well-suited for video production. The choice between the two depends on the specific photography or video production needs and the desired lighting setup.
We’re so glad you made it to the end of this article! By now, you should have a deeper understanding of what the best continuous lighting kits offer and how they can massively improve the quality of your photography. Venture into indoor photography or video shoots with confidence, knowing that you can create the perfect setup every time.
In any case, you’re now equipped to take the next step in your creative journey, whether it’s a professional shoot or a personal project. It’s amazing what a difference the perfect lighting can make in elevating your work to new heights. So, take a deep dive into the world of continuous lighting kits and start creating stunning, visually captivating masterpieces. Happy shooting!