Studio Lighting Equipment Is An Investment

Studio Lighting Equipment Is An Investment

The single most important investment you will make in your photography studio after your cameras is your studio lighting equipment.  The best camera cannot compensate for bad lighting.  You will need a variety of lighting to get the most from your camera.  In particular, if you are using a film rather than a digital camera, you will need studio flash equipment.


Studio flash equipment consists of strobe lights, which give out triggered pulses of very intense light.  In black and white art photography, they create strong contrast with pronounced shadows.  If you are seeking a film noir feeling in a photograph, nothing will create it as well as a flash.  It also works well for geometric subjects. 


There are a number of sizes for studio flash lighting.  You may want several which can be set at different distances from your subjects to create different effects.  One effect uses a hollow subject with a small flash set inside, so that the subject is also the light source.  For this effect it is necessary to use the concentrated light of a flash.  It’s especially effect when set against a dark backdrop.


Studio lighting equipment should also include a selection of hot and cool continuous lighting.  Cool continuous lighting once presented a problem with color, since fluorescent bulbs tend to cast a greenish light.  Newer cool lights have compensated for this greenish cast so it is no longer a problem.  Cool lights work well with living subjects since hot lights can cause people to perspire and flowers to wilt.


Hot lights usually use incandescent halogen or tungsten bulbs.  These bulbs are not as energy efficient as fluorescent bulbs and emit considerably more heat.  They do, however, emit a very pure white light. They can be used with living subjects if they are placed sufficiently far away (more than four feet), or if the subject will only be under the lights for a short time. 


Diffusers, reflectors and soft boxes can be used with studio flash equipment or with continuous lighting.  These devices soften the light or change its direction.  Background colors can be altered by using colored gel films on some of the lights.  These items should be considered a part of studio lighting equipment.  Umbrellas are also a necessary part of the studio lighting arsenal.


Most studio lighting equipment is available in kits.  You will want to buy your kits carefully as you won’t want duplicate equipment you if you only need one of a given item.  A boom stand and light stands of varying heights will be required along with continuous lights of varying intensities and studio flash lighting in different sizes.  Some kits may contain umbrellas, but diffusers, reflectors and colored gel films are usually purchased separately.


If this is the first time you have outfitted a studio, you may want to discuss your studio lighting equipment needs with other photographers.  There are many Internet forums and chat rooms devoted to both amateur and professional photography where you can find advice.

Smick specializes in Studio Flash Equipment. Visit their website for more information on all kinds of studio flash equipment and Studio Lighting Equipment.

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