Read and Write: Introduction to Using Strobes

A camera is capable of many things in itself, but the presence of a light source can really make results look more professional. When searching for studio light equipment, it is important to specifically look out for an appropriate light source, modifiers, and support stands/grips. These objects come in many different forms and provide many different results, so it is important to understand the intentions of each item and decipher the most suitable pick for your shooting preference. Remember, however, that renting second-hand equipment is always an option. Settling on an expensive piece of equipment without understanding its overall use is not doing yourself a favor. 

When considering light sources, reflect on the settings and/or subjects you normally focus on while shooting. This is because light source equipment can either be in the form of a flash head and power pack, or a monolight kit. Although monolight kits are popular, due to their portable sizes, they do prove less beneficial when shooting in outside settings. In such cases, a flash head and power pack are much handier, as they are capable of providing enough power when competing against harsh, natural sunlight.

Next on the list are light modifiers. Coming in the form of umbrellas and softboxes, these pieces of equipment are used to reflect and diffuse the light of your light source. Umbrellas allow the light to reflect and bounce of the surface, splashing bright light onto the subject. Coming in tints of gold, silver, and white, these umbrellas are helpful when aiming for that soft lighting. Despite an umbrella’s benefits, however, softboxes definitely provide more control over the light’s direction. Rectangular shaped, softboxes contain the light better, allowing the subject to receive a full, studio lighting effect.

Lastly, grips and stands are extremely useful when considering your overall studio setup. Especially when adding extra accessories onto your light sources, a weak grip/stand will not provide any support. Lightweight stands and C-stands are the two types of grips/stands, but C-stands are thought to be more sturdy and stable. Despite the extra few dollars put into investing a C-stand, it’s durability will last a photographer for years to come.


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