Lighting Tips for Your Next Photoshoot

Choosing The Best Studio Lighting Kit For Beginners

In a perfect world, every photography you took would be awe inspiring. The shadows would be flattering, the light would hit your subject in all the right ways, and your photo shoots would go off without a hitch. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. When you are trying to take beautiful photographs indoors, you’re going to want to find the best studio lighting kit that your money can afford so you can make those lovely photographs.

As someone who may be just starting out in the business or if you are looking to upgrade to something a little more professional, you might be overwhelmed by the countless options that are available on the market today.

Preparing For Photo Shooting

Fortunately for you, you came to us, and we can give you some information about how to choose the best studio lighting kit for beginners. As you read, we are going to touch on some things you’ll want to consider before you make your purchase. Then, we are going to give you a few options of some of the top rated studio lighting kits.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Things To Consider When Buying The Best Studio Lighting Kit

Before you start looking for the best photography lighting set for your needs, you first need to pinpoint what those needs are and what you’re willing to spend. There are so many different lighting options to choose from, and they all give you different results. The very first thing you need to ask yourself is what you will be photographing the most?

Are you going to be doing still life, portraits, product photography? Maybe you’re going to be photographing the insides of abandoned buildings, and you want the right type of lighting that will capture the spookiness of the decaying environment. Or, maybe you are going to be completely mobile and won’t have access to electricity except for battery-powered strobe lights.

Young Woman on Photo Session

Then, once you’ve considered the intended use of your kit, you’re going to want to figure out how much money you’re willing (or able) to spend. You don’t want to go into debt for a hobby that you aren’t totally passionate about, but you also don’t want to go for the least expensive kit that is going to give you shoddy results, either.

After you figure out your needs and how much you’re willing to spend, you can then start looking at other aspects of studio lighting that you will want to consider before purchasing the best photo studio kit that will suit all of your needs and expectations. Some of these considerations include:

  • Is the flash on your camera or off? If you want to have more versatility and control with your lighting, you’ll probably want to purchase a shoe-mount flash.
  • Are you going to be taking stills? Video? Maybe you’re able to do both. If you’re doing both, you’re going to want to find a kit that offers you enough wattage to illuminate your subject appropriately.
  • How many lights are you going to need? What kind of accessories like softboxes are you going to need?

With these questions, you can create the perfect set up. Some kits may not have everything you need, but you can always purchase items separately if you have to.

Lighting Kit For Photo Shoot

With those things to consider, here are 12 lighting kit reviews that we think are worth your consideration!

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Under $100 Lighting Kit 

If you’re on a tight budget, we have 7 kits that are priced under $100 (although two of them are listed at a sale price):

LimoStudio Photography Studio Light Kit 

If you’re looking for a basic light kit to get you started, this continuous Softbox lighting kit by LimoStudio is a great option. At just under $40, it is cost effective for beginners. You may have to purchase a second kit, but even still, that isn’t going to be more than $100. With this product, you are going to receive:

  • 1 86-inch light stand
  • 1 Full Spectrum 105W, daylight balanced, pure white light bulb
  • 1 Octagon Softbox light perfect for video, portraits, and other studio work

A great thing about this kit is the light that it puts out is even and bright. You can adjust the light angle so you can get light exactly where you want it. If you’re going to be photographing for a while, you don’t have to worry about hot spots or concentric circles, thanks to the energy saving, fluorescent 105W bulb.

LED Bulb For Light Stand Kit

Of the people who purchased this kit, 84% left 4 or 5-star reviews. These people felt that this was an incredible product for the price. The remaining 16% who left 3-star or lower reviews, a common complaint was that it was more for amateurs rather than professional studio work.

Some said the bulb broke shortly after they received the kit, while others said the construction of the kit left a lot to be desired. One customer even said the bulb fell out multiple times while it was in use!

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FancierStudio 2 Light Lighting Kit 

This is another fantastic starter kit and at a very affordable price. Like the LimoStudio kit, it is priced at just under $40, but with this set, you receive two lights, making it a better option price wise. Who could turn down the option of getting two items for the price of one? With this kit, you will receive:

  • 2 7-foot light stands
  • 2 AC adapters for the lights
  • 2 45W, 5500K daylight fluorescent bulbs
  • 2 33-inch shoot through umbrellas

You know how everything comes in pairs? With this kit, you’ll be able to shower your subject in bright, 5500K daylight balanced fluorescent light. With these bulbs, you’re going to be saving up to 80% energy when compared to incandescent bulbs. Also, with the kit, you’re going to receive two 33-inch white translucent umbrellas, which is perfect for diffusing the light, so your scene is evenly lit.

FancierStudio 2 Light Lighting Kit on White Background

Of the people who purchased this kit, 80% left 4 or 5-star reviews. The folks who purchased this kit enjoyed using the products. One customer said that they were very bright, easy to install, and they felt they were the best lighting for YouTube videos that they have tried so far.

The remaining 20% who left 3-star or lower reviews felt that the construction wasn’t the greatest on these lights. Some said they felt flimsy and they didn’t feel comfortable repositioning them once they were set. One customer said they would keep the kit for studio work only.

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LimoStudio Photo Portrait Studio Lighting Kit 

Unlike the other LimoStudio lighting kit we previously mentioned, this one is priced a little higher at just under $60, but it definitely is still very affordable. With this kit, you are going to receive:

  • 2 86-inch tall studio high output umbrella flash strobe light stands
  • 1 28-inch tall studio quality high output accent light tabletop light stand
  • 3 single head photo lighting fluorescent light holders
  • 3 full spectrum 45W Photo CFL 6500K, Daylight Balanced, pure white light bulbs
  • 1 Umbrella carry case and 1 bulb carrying case

If you compare this kit to the other one we mentioned, you are getting more light sources for your money, making it a better value.

LimoStudio Photo Portrait Studio Lighting Kit  on White Background

Of the people who purchased this kit, 86% left 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, the customers felt that the lights were able to create bright and beautiful lighting to make their photographs and videos pop. Several budding YouTubers have purchased this kit and felt they make their videos much better.

The remaining 14% of customers who purchased this kit left 3-star reviews or below. A common theme among these less than stellar ratings is that the kit was a horrible choice. Some said that the lights sparked when turned on, one even caught on fire! Other less alarming comments include flimsy construction, broken bulbs, and shoddy customer service.

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Emart 600W Continuous Lighting Kit 

As another affordable option at just under $60, the Emart 600W photo kit is a set up that can appeal to videographers, vloggers, and professional photographers alike. With this kit, you’re going to get a lot:

  • 3 45W, 5500K fluorescent energy saving bulbs
  • 2 83-inch light stands
  • 1 30-inch light stand
  • 3 lamp holders
  • 2 translucent umbrellas
  • 2 black/silver reflector umbrellas
  • 1 carrying case for light bulbs
  • 1 carrying case for equipment

This kit features heavyweight stands that are made of high impact plastic and aluminum. The stands are able to support heavy weight and are able to take tough working conditions (although we don’t really recommend it, just for safety sake).

Emart Continuous Lighting Kit on White Background

The two sets of umbrellas are a great addition because you can achieve the look you’re hoping to get without making any additional purchases. Also, the kit is perfect for traveling because it comes with two carrying cases.

Of the people who purchased this kit, 91% of people left 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, people were impressed by the overall light quality that came from the setup. A couple people have said that the stands are lightweight, which could be a problem for some, but they can be the best lighting for painting studios where you don’t have to worry about moving them around too much.

Of the remaining 9% who left 3-star or below reviews, the common complaint was about the bulbs and not so much the construction of the set. The reviewers said the bulbs tend to flicker after so many uses, which isn’t a good thing. Thankfully, you can easily replace these bulbs with another 45W brand.

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LimoStudio 700W Softbox Lighting Kit 

Another LimoStudio lighting kit on our list, this kit, priced at just under $75, is a bit more expensive than the other two options. With this kit, you will receive:

  • 2 Light holders with Softbox reflectors
  • 2 86” studio quality output umbrella flash strobe light stands
  • 2 85W, 6500K daylight balanced, pure white light bulbs
  • 1 carrying case

If you notice, this particular kit is going to give you brighter light which you can control with either the black/silver softbox, which minimizes loss of light and light spread, or the white covered Softbox to provide you with diffused lighting.

LimoStudio 700W Softbox Lighting Kit on White Background

Of the people who purchased this kit, 82% left 4 or 5-star reviews. Folks felt that this is the best softbox lighting kit, especially for the affordable price. They feel that the light is incredibly bright and the overall construction of the stands is quite good. With that said, the remaining 18% of consumers felt that the product deserved a 3-star or below rating.

Of these reviewers, the main complaint was in regards to the quality of the Softbox. One stated the stitching could have been better because one of the seams came undone on the edge of the box. Another consumer said that the product was defective and when they tried to contact the seller, they had poor customer service.

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Neewer 700W Photography Softbox Lighting Kit

If you’re looking for a professional light kit at the reasonable price of just under $80, you may be interested in the Neewer Photography kit. With this kit, you will receive:

  • 2 24”x24” (60x60cm) softboxes
  • 2 85W 5500K CFL light bulbs
  • 2 88-inch (224cm) light stands

Because the kit comes with bulbs that can emit a total output of 700W, you can illuminate your scene and control the light wonderfully with the softboxes. Also, another really nice thing about this kit is that the stands are able to support other major photo equipment that you may acquire later down the road. Plus, since the kit comes with a carrying case, you can travel from set to set with ease.

Neewer Photography Softbox Lighting Kit

Of the people who purchased this kit, 80% gave the product 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, customers feel that the product is worth every penny. Some have said that they are pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail that shows up, thanks to the brilliant lighting this set provides.

On the other hand, the remaining 20% felt that this kit deserved a 3-star or below rating because it did not live up to their expectations. They felt that you get what you paid for, which in most situations, it isn’t very good. Some folks have said that the lights are bad, the construction is shoddy, and even an instance of sparking at the on/off toggle switch!

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Fancierstudio 2000W Video Lighting Kit 

This Fancierstudio lighting kit sneaks in just under $100 when it’s on sale, which it is right now. When it is listed at full price, it will be just under $110. With this kit, you are going to receive:

  • 10 45W CFL daylight balanced light bulbs
  • 2 20x28-inch professional quality softboxes
  • 2 premium quality light socket and power cords
  • 2 high-quality 7-foot light stands
  • 1 carrying case

When you use this kit, you will be able to provide you with soft and even lighting, regardless if you are taking video or doing a photo shoot. The softboxes aren’t as high quality as others available, but they get the job done wonderfully. Perhaps the most notable feature of this particular kit is that you’re able to control power to each light bulb, meaning you could work with just one bulb or all five per setup, thus giving you a variety of lighting scenarios.

Fancierstudio Professional Digital Video Studio on White Background

Of the people who purchased this kit, 74% left 4 or 5-star reviews. Of these reviews, people have said that the kit was easy to put together and it provided great lighting that suited their needs.

Of the remaining, 26% gave the kit 3-star or below reviews. Of these reviews, they feel like the product is great on paper, but the quality of the products is what brings the whole kit down. They feel the stands could be sturdier, the mounting heads do not have a locking bolt, and the softboxes are difficult to assemble—to name a few general complaints.

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Under $200 Lighting Kit

If you’re on a tight budget, we have 4 kits that are priced under $200 (although two of them are listed at a sale price:

FancierStudio 2400W Professional Lighting Kit 

Boasting to be a “professional” lighting kit, this FancierStudio lighting kit is priced slightly more than the previous kit at the sale price of just under $120 (regularly under $180). With this kit, you will receive:

  • 3 16x24-inche Softbox lights
  • 3 6-foot light stands
  • 1 boom arm with sandbag
  • 3 light heads that can hold 4 bulbs each
  • 12 45W 5500K CFL light bulbs
  • A deluxe carrying case for all pieces of equipment

For those who are looking for a professional quality kit, this particular one may be a great option, especially if you’re looking for a well-rounded kit that will make your portraits stand out, thanks to the 16x16-inch Softbox that you can use to light your subject from behind. The kit is great for studio photography or videography, but you can also take it with you in a convenient carrying case.

FancierStudio 2400W Professional Lighting Kit on White Background

Of the people who purchased this kit, 70% felt that this kit deserved a 4 or 5-star rating, citing the kit was well worth the money. One customer said they purchased this kit to make their vlogs look amazing. Other reviewers weren’t so kind, 30% left 3-star or below reviews, citing that you are getting what you paid for.

They feel that despite being labeled as a professional quality kit, the construction and the materials are far from professional grade. Some felt that they couldn’t even use the kit because there weren't any instructions on how to assemble anything. For a novice who has never assembled lighting kits, this is a huge problem!

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StudioFX 2400W Large Photography Softbox Kit

Another decently priced kit at just under $130, the StudioFX kit is worth considering. With this kit, you will receive:

  • 3 16x24-inch softboxes
  • 3 7-foot light stands (1 boom arm with sandbag)
  • 3 light heads that are able to hold 4 bulbs each
  • 12 45W 5500K CFL bulbs
  • 1 Carrying Case

This kit seems to have same products as the previous item, except the stands are one foot taller. If you’re looking for higher stands than this is your kit.

StudioFX 2400W Large Photography Softbox Kit on White Background

Of the people who purchased this kit, 87% of consumers left 4 or 5-star reviews. These people adore this light set up. They feel the lights are incredibly bright, the build of the stands was solidly built, although it took about an hour for assembly.

The remaining 13% of reviewers who left 3-star or below reviews felt that the kit was a bit “clunky” to take with them on location. Others felt that the softboxes were flimsy and the kit took too long to set up.

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FancierStudio Professional Digital Lighting Kit

Another FancierStudio lighting kit makes our list! Priced at just under $130 when it’s on sale (under $200 regular price), you are going to receive:

  • 15 45W 5500K CFL light bulbs
  • 3 22x28-inch professional quality softbox lights
  • 3 premium quality light sockets and cords that hold up to 5 bulbs each
  • 3 7-foot light stands

The softboxes you receive in this kit are going to allow you to gently focus the light on your subject, bathing them in a shadow-free light that is soft and forgiving. You’ll be able to look like a professional with this set!

Fancierstudio Professional Digital Video Studio on White Background

Of the people who purchased this kit, 80% felt the product deserved 4 or 5-star reviews. These reviewers felt that the light the kit provided was bright and sufficient. One reviewer said that while the kit doesn’t compare to those that cost over $1,000, it is definitely worth the under $200 price point.

The remaining 20% of reviewers who left 3-star or below reviews, these customers felt that the quality left much to be desired. One customer even said they had to throw the kit away after five months because the softboxes weren’t made well, the heads that held the lights weren’t sturdy, and the stands came apart after a few months.

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Neewer 800W Lighting Kit 

The second Neewer photography kit on our list, this is kit is priced a little higher than $140. When you purchase this kit, you will receive:

  • 4 7-foot light stands
  • 2 single head light holder
  • 4 45W 5500K CFL light bulbs
  • 2 33-inch white umbrellas
  • 2 24x24-inch softboxes
  • 6x9-foot Muslin Backdrop in three colors (black, white, and green)
  • 1 background support
  • 1 carrying case for background
  • 1 carrying case for lighting kit

Needless to say, looking at this kit, you are definitely getting a lot of gear for the price. If you’ve ever wanted to try green screen work, this is definitely a kit to try. With four lights, you can get the perfect lighting to make you look your best on camera.

Neewer 800W Lighting Kit on White Background

Of the people who purchased this kit, 86% felt that this kit deserved 4 or 5-star reviews. These folks felt that the kit was complete and they had everything they needed to create beautifully lit photographs and professional looking video.

Of the remaining 14% who left 3-star or lower reviews, they felt that the kit took way too long to assemble. Also, they cited that some of the parts were badly damaged and they couldn’t be used.

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Under $250 Lighting Kit

Linco LincoStore 2000 Watt Photo Studio Lighting Kit

We wanted to include another product that is definitely worth mentioning. This product is priced slightly higher than $245. The Linco LincoStore 2000 watt photo studio lighting kit comes with:

  • High Designed Flora X 4-socket light head with ceramic base protector and cap
  • Auto pop-up Softbox with diffuse and flat bag
  • Revolutionary set-up: clockwise lock, counterclockwise unlock
  • 3 different muslin backgrounds (green, white, black)
  • 84” long boom arm with boom clamp and counterweight bag
  • 6.5-foot high Zenith light stand

Now that is a lot of bang for your buck! This kit not only gives you 1 background, but it gives you three. You can create lovely photographs with a seamless background, and direct any of the three lights to get the desired look.

Linco Lincostore 2000 Watt Photo Studio Lighting Kit on White Background

Of the people who purchased this product, an impressive 90% left 4 or 5-star reviews. The common feel of this light kit is that it is worth the money—some even stated that they felt this particular kit was one of those “too good to be true” type deals. All in all, the customers felt the kit was easy to set up, provided excellent lighting, and they got a lot of use out of the included backgrounds.

However, the remaining 10% who left 3-star or below reviews, it appears the most concerning issue is not with the product itself—only a few complaints about the plastic fittings had broken—the main complaint is with the company itself.

According to one customer, they were approached by Linco with an offer to give them a partial refund if they changed their 4-star review to a 5-star one. Consequently, the customer called the company out on this and changed their review to a 1-star.

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Wrap Up 

As you can see, there are many different lighting kits available on the market that you could choose from. Some of them being incredibly affordable—less than $100! These kits are great for people who are on a tight budget, and they cannot afford more expensive rigs.

Of these affordable options, we feel that the Emart 600W Continuous Lighting Kit is a great set for the money you’re paying. It includes all that you need to set up for a great shoot.

Young Woman Woman Taking Pictures

The next category, items that are priced under $200, we feel that the Neewer 800W Lighting Kit is the best bet. While it may be more expensive than the StudioFX 2400W Large Photography Softbox Kit, it has more features and is a more complete kit.

One product we recommend you use caution when buying is the Linco LincoStore 2000 watt photo studio lighting kit. While the kit is complete, there is no real way of knowing about the quality because it appears that Linco had a habit of paying for positive reviews.

For that reason, we feel that you should use your best judgment when trying to decide if this is a kit you want to take a chance on.

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