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The best studio light kits make a photographer's life easier, whether they're just starting out or are seasoned pros. Ideally, a kit should provide high-quality pro studio lighting and backdrops, be easy to set up and break down, and a breeze to transport. They should also pack all the gear you need to start taking perfectly lit photos right out of the box, so you're not scrambling on online retailers looking for the pieces you need to fill gaps in your setup.
Our top pick, the Fovitec SPK10-037 at Amazon, ticks all those boxes and more. It's versatile, easy to use, durable, and comes with a ton of stuff. It's like packing an entire photography studio into one bag. It's the best lighting kit available right now, and the perfect accompaniment to any of the best DSLR cameras under $2,000 from our list.
Celebrated for its solid build quality, versatility and powerful lighting, the Fovitec StudioPRO softbox lighting kit is an outstanding option. Included are two stands, three softboxes, two five-socket heads, one one-socket head, one boom stand with standbag, 11 45-watt light bulbs and one transportation bag. Essentially, the StudioPRO is full of everything you need to create the perfectly lit studio. The entire package weighs 26.1 pounds, which makes for easy transportation from studio to studio. Ideally, the Fovitec is best used for portraits, art and product photography since the medium-sized softbox and two lights are arguably the bare minimum for a professional-grade setup. The five-socket head is a powerful source of artificial light and with another softbox added to it (plus the 5-inch boom arm), the result is a great lighting setup for portrait photography.
The Julius Studio umbrella-based kit packs a lot of gear for a low price. The two 33-inch diameter umbrellas make up your standard reflector diffusion system that will let you redirect light perfectly for studio purposes. There are three different lighting systems that accommodate the three included CFL, 45-watt lightbulbs, so you won’t have to purchase additional bulbs to get your studio off the ground.
There are two included 86-inch floor-oriented stands and one 28-inch tabletop light stand that will allow you more versatility for setting up an array of lighting, particularly for formations that diffuse through the umbrella system. The bulbs are fluorescent and offer an energy savings up to 80 percent, according to the manufacturer. The whole bundle weighs just over 10 pounds and it comes in a sturdy carrying case, so you can leave it as a studio setup or make it a more on-the-go system.
For photographers starting from scratch (or even more experienced pros who just want to add to their setup), the Weifeng kit is a fantastic bundle. It comes with two white umbrellas, a pair of black umbrellas, three backdrops, and four 45 watt bulbs. The backdrops are the standard array of green, white, and black, and everything's easy to transport with the included carrying cases.
For an inexpensive kit, the Weifeng has professional-grade touches and is reportedly extremely durable. At its low price point, its a great value for anyone assembling their first studio, or for any photog looking for a great portable solution so they don't need to break down their primary setup everytime they have a remote or location shoot.
For the best overall kit, Fovitec's StudioPRO is an obvious choice, a great complete package of gear that's rightfully renowned for its portability and durability. If you're looking for something less expensive, the Julius Studio Umbrella Kit is an awesome alternative, everything you need to start taking amazing pics but for significantly less.
Experience level - How advanced of a photographer are you? And more importantly, how far do you want to take this hobby? If you’re a pretty experienced photographer who wants to earn some extra cash on the side, you’ll want to purchase a higher-end kit than a beginner.
Portability - Are you planning on shooting mostly at home, or will you be visiting the homes of friends, family, and perhaps even clients with your lighting rig? It’s important to take the weight of the kit into account. Some can weigh over 50 pounds, while others are designed as 10-pound portable systems. If you’d like a kit that’s easy to transport and stow, consider both weight and portability.
Light control - If you’re an experienced photographer, you know how important it is to have precise control of your lighting. But if you’re new to all of it, constant, always-on lighting (that you can easily test) is likely a better fit. Different setups allow for different levels of control — some let you control the lights individually and others are always on or have a strobe setup. If you’re not sure what you need, then going with a kit that has a more basic setup is probably best.