The 7 Best Studio Light Kits for Photographers in 2022

Our experts tested the best kits to help you light up your photos like a pro

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Your camera is only one component of producing photos and videos. Perhaps even more important than the camera you use is how you light your scene. In many cases, natural light from the sun may be all you need, but if you’re shooting indoors and need to capture sharp photos of products, or if you’re producing professional looking videos for Youtube, then it might be worth investing in lighting equipment.

You could do this on your own, but a lot of components go into a well rounded lighting setup. If you buy it piece by piece, you’ve got to put the time into researching and selecting which individual components to buy, and it’s likely going to be fairly expensive. The time and cost saving alternative is to buy a light kit.

Which kit you get will depend on what you intend to shoot: portraits, products, still life, macro images of insects, or even green screen video that allows you to get really creative and add different backgrounds when you’re editing the footage on your PC. We’ve compiled an extensive and varied range of the best lighting kits that will allow you to capture stunning photos and video across a variety of genres.

The Rundown
Runner-Up, Best Overall:
Weifeng Studio Lighting Kit at Amazon
Stocked with gear, it's the best option for photographers just starting out that want a premium setup.
Best for product photography:
OrangeMonkey Foldio3 at Amazon
The perfect starter pack for your home studio or a nice secondary rig.
This kit from StudioFX is compact and has just about everything you need in the bag.

Best Overall: Godox SL-60 2x LED Video Lighting Kit

What we like
  • Professional grade lighting

  • Great value for money

  • Rock-solid build quality

What we don't like
  • Somewhat barebones

I personally use a Godox SL-60 light as part of my home photography studio, and I find it to be absolutely indispensable. This kit includes two of them, plus stands, softboxes (big translucent hoods used to diffuse light), and a carrying case, for a shockingly low price. These lights are perfect for just about any photo or video project, and if you some day decide to expand or upgrade your photography setup, they are good enough to integrate into almost any high end lighting setup.

The SL-60 is called such because it is equipped with 60 watt bulbs, which are more than bright enough for beginning photographers. They are dimmable from 10-100%, and are set to an optimal 5600 kelvin temperature (the color of light typically seen during normal daylight hours). The continuous light lends itself to both photo and video work, and the light has a large heatsink to prevent overheating. 

This is the lighting kit I would personally recommend to my friends and family. It’s truly top-notch.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Weifeng Premium Portrait Photography Studio Lighting Kit

Weifeng Premium Portrait Photography Studio Lighting Kit
What We Like
  • Solid quality for the price

  • Includes backdrop setup

  • Portable full setup

What We Don't Like
  • Quality isn't as great as the Godox

If you’re looking for a more complete kit than the barebones Godox kit, the Premium Photography Studio Lighting Kit from Weifeng comes with a lot more useful studio equipment than the Godox. 

It includes four adjustable lighting stands with two white and two black umbrellas, four 45W light bulbs, and an 8-by-10-foot backdrop frame with three backdrops (black, white, and green). If you don’t have any equipment yet, or if you’re a professional photographer looking for a lightweight and flexible travel kit, this is a great option. The whole thing weighs only 26 pounds and is quick to set up and break down. The downside is that the lights in this kit aren’t nearly as high quality as those in the Godox kit.

Best for product photography: OrangeMonkey Foldio3

What we like
  • Foldable and compact for travel and storage

  • Makes it easy to capture professional product shots

  • Perfect for home businesses

What we don't like
  • Size limits what can be photographed

If you’re selling products from your home or small business online, it’s vitally important to have clean, high quality images of them for your website or other online store fronts. The Foldio3 from OrangeMonkie takes much of the challenge and steep learning curve out of product photography by offering an all-in-one solution that includes everything you need to start taking images that will have your wares flying off the virtual shelves in no time.

The Foldio3 uses a magnetic clip system so that it can be assembled or taken down in mere seconds, and it stows into a highly compact and portable package for travel or storage in locations where space is at a premium. 

Non-reflective black and white backdrops are included, which are made of plastic and are easy to clean. Its built-in multi-light system is designed to minimize harsh shadows on your subject. The one downside is that you are limited by the size of the enclosure in what products you can photograph, since the largest version is only 25 inches wide.

Even if you can’t afford to invest in a fancy camera, the Foldio3 allows you to capture professional looking images just with your phone.

Best for versatility: Lume Cube 2.0 Pro Lighting Kit

What we like
  • Compact and portable

  • Rugged and waterproof

  • Battery powered

What we don't like
  • A bit pricey

  • Not effective in bright conditions

If you’re unsure of exactly what you need from a lighting kit, then the Lume Cube 2.0 Pro Lighting Kit is a great option. These diminutive little lights produce a surprising amount of light despite their tiny size, and have a wealth of talents hidden inside their unassuming exteriors. The Cube 2.0 is designed to be paired with just about any camera, from a high end pro-mirrorless camera to your smartphone, or even strapped to your drone.

The lights themselves are dimmable, and can be used both as continuous lights or as flashes for still photography, and can be controlled via Bluetooth connection. The kit includes a bunch of modifiers with which to alter the characteristics of the light. The only downsides are that the kit is somewhat expensive, and the lights, though remarkably bright, aren't very useful in sunlit conditions. 

For photographers and videographers on the go who need to shoot in a variety of scenarios, the Lume Cube 2.0 Pro Lighting Kit is easily one of the most versatile on the market.

Best Budget: Julius Studio Umbrella Kit

Julius Studio Umbrella Kit
What We Like
  • Very versatile

  • Includes a tabletop stand

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Budget build quality

If you’re looking for a solid starter kit without investing too much up front, this budget option from Julius Studio is the way to go. It’s super lightweight at only ten pounds and comes with its own carrying bag, making it usable for travel. 

This kit includes two 86-inch adjustable stands and one 28-inch tabletop stand that allows for a range of setups. It also comes with two 33-inch umbrellas and three 45W fluorescent light bulbs, so it’s ready to use out of the bag. As a budget kit for indoor photography, this is an excellent value.

Best Value: StudioFX 2400W Softbox Lighting Kit with Backdrop

StudioFX 2400 Watt Softbox Continuous Photo Lighting Kit
What We Like
  • Full setup

  • Includes overhead boom

  • Bright

What We Don't Like
  • Softboxes are on the small side

If you’re looking to set up a complete indoor studio space but don’t want it to take up too much room, this kit from StudioFX is compact and has just about everything you need in the bag. It includes two seven-foot stands with four-socket heads, one overhead boom with a single-socket head, an adjustable backdrop stand, and three backdrops (black, white, and green). 

The pair of four-socket heads come with 45W bulbs and puts out a good amount of light, but some of the included softboxes are on the small side at 16 x 24 inches each. The overhead softbox is larger at 20 x 28 inches. The two vertical stands are adjustable up to seven feet and the boom arm is adjustable to nearly six feet. This isn’t the largest kit, but that’s actually an advantage if you’re working in a smaller space. For the money, this kit provides excellent value. 

Best for outdoors: Broncolor Siros 800 L Battery-Powered 2-Light Outdoor Kit

What We Like
  • Serious pro-grade gear

  • Battery powered

  • High speed flash sync

  • Brighter than the sun

What we don't like
  • More expensive than most cameras

  • Requires an extra transmitter sold separately for flash sync

  • Stands not included

If you want to freeze motion outside in locations without an available power source, be prepared to shell out the big bucks. There’s no getting around the fact that the Broncolor Siros 800 L Battery-Powered 2-light Outdoor Kit is super expensive. However, if you need a lighting kit that can overpower the sun and sync with your camera to freeze action no matter how fast your scene is moving, then you’ve got to be willing to invest as much or more in your lighting kit as in your camera.

The Siros 800L can fire up to 220 shots on a charge at maximum power, and at speeds up to 1/18000th of a second at minimum power, or up to 1/7400 at maximum power. The downside, aside from the price, is that you’ll have to provide your own light stands and the Broncolor RFS2.2 transmitter for flash sync. The kit includes the lights, batteries and charger, flash tubes, a silver/black umbrella, softbox, speed ring, sync cable, and backpack with wheels and extending handle.

Final Verdict

You really can’t go wrong with the Godox SL60 2x LED Video Lighting Kit regardless of what subject you intend to photograph. With it you can start off with professional grade lights at an affordable price point, but with gear that won’t gather dust as you upgrade and expand your home studio.

FAQ
  • Who needs a light kit?

    Anyone from beginner hobbyists to professional photographers can benefit from a quality lighting kit. Proper lighting can dramatically improve any image, from product to glamor shots, and a great lighting kit is the best shortcut to quickly and easily establishing the conditions you need.

  • How many watts do I need for my studio/shooting space?

    Your needs will vary greatly depending on factors like ISO, exposure, and other modifiers, but generally 2000W of combined light will be sufficient for continuous shooting in a smaller studio, while a larger space may require up to double (or more) that wattage.

  • Do I need a softbox?

    A softbox reduces the appearance of harsh, jarring shadows by diffusing light in an even way that pleases the eye. While they're not a prerequisite, they can definitely lend your photos a professional air of quality that traditional light doesn't impart.

What to Look for in a Studio Light Kit

Flash vs. constant lighting - An important choice to make when choosing a lighting kit is whether you want a momentary light for individual images, or a light that constantly illuminates your subject. 

For beginners, a constant light is going to be much easier to use as you don’t have to worry about syncing your camera with the flash and can compose your shot more easily. However, a typical flash produces brighter light than a constant light, particularly in entry level gear.

Portability - Lighting kits vary wildly in size from about the size of a laptop computer to ones that fill enormous duffle bags when folded down. Also critical to consider is how difficult the kit is to take down and reassemble. If you need to take your lighting with you to different locations, then size when stowed, weight, and ease of assembly are vital factors to consider.

Light control - Many lighting kits come with built in controls to adjust the color and brightness of the light. For beginners, such controls may not be strictly necessary, but as you learn and progress they will become more helpful.

About Our Trusted Experts

Andy Zahn has been writing for lifewire since 2019 on a variety of topics, but specializes in photography related products. Andy is a professional photographer who captures everything from product photos to landscapes and wildlife images. Andy utilizes studio lights both for photos, and in video production.

Emmeline Kaser is a former editor for Lifewire’s product round-ups and reviews. She is an experienced product researcher specializing in consumer tech.

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