AmSnaps - Digital Photography Basics For Amateur Snappers

Which Photography Lighting Kit Should You Buy?

Photography lighting kit is made up of many different pieces of equipment. They mainly fall into these three areas. Grip, Modifiers and Light sources.

Grip is the name given to equipment such as, gaffer tape, stands, clamps, sandbags, etc. The name says it all really. It includes anything that is basically holding or stabilising the other photography lighting equipment.

Modifiers are pieces of kit which change the lighting in some shape or form. Most modifiers are attached to the lighting sources, but not all. A large reflector for example is mounted on a stand. These tutorial videos are courtesy of Mark Wallace from SnapFactory.

Photography Lighting Video
Part One - Grips & Modifiers

Some pieces of equipment that are covered by the modifiers category are: strobe reflectors, umbrellas, soft-boxes, snoots, barn-doors, flags, grids, etc. There are many different types of modifiers, but I hope this list gives you a better understanding of this general area.

Photography Lighting Video
Part Two - Modifiers (cont)

Light Sources are probably one of the most important pieces of photography lighting kit as they cost more and that makes it harder to replace them if they break.

There are two main types of light source: constant-source and flash systems. Our tutorial videos focus on flash systems. There are also two main types of flash systems: pack-and-head and mono-lights.

The pack and head system is made up of two parts...a flash head that emits the light and a pack that powers the head. You can connect more than one head to a power-pack.

The main advantage of pack and head systems is that more of the electronics and controls are housed in the pack. This leaves more room in the head, which means they can be made smaller and lighter.

The head is attached to the pack through an electronic cable and each head has its own control channel.

The mono-light system, as the name suggests, combines the two. The electronics and control are built into the head.

An advantage of the mono-light is that it should emit more light for the same input power as the pack-and-head system. This is because there isn’t a long cable causing resistance to the power.

A disadvantage of the mono-light system is that the light units are bigger and heavier because of all the extra electronics and controls.

The key aspects to consider when buying a lighting system are: reliability, consistency, power, features, weight and size, portability, expandability and overall cost. Most of these areas are explained in the video.

Photography Lighting Video
Part Three - Light Sources

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David Coote
Wedding Photographer
Northern Ireland