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Lighting Kits

Lighting kits will vary immensely, but most photographers choose to shoot primarily with either a strobe lighting setup or a continuous lighting setup. With a strobe lighting setup, photographers can trigger their lights to flash through a remote system, such as pocket wizards—or some other remote trigger source. When I first started shooting about ten years ago, I was still using a long cord that connected from my camera to my lighting system. I can tell you from experience, after many trips and falls, that it was quite a relief for me to move to a wireless system.

With a continuous lighting setup, what you see is what you get. You are able to light your subject, see with your naked eye how it looks, and then shoot it accordingly. You may lose a bit of power moving away from strobes, but you may be trading that in for the option to light more broadly and consistently.

Rachel Garrison


Down Low or Up Top

Regardless of which types of lights you choose to use, you will need to determine where to place them. Lighting can take up a lot of space, especially if you have a multiple-light system, and most photographers will own at least three separate lights—a main light, a fill light, and a hair light. I’ll talk more about that in Chapter 11, “Lighting the Frame.”

If you use floor-based lights, you’ll need light stands and possibly additional light modifiers, which take up room and can be easily knocked over. Every time you move a light, you may need to move sandbags as well—or whatever weighting system you use to secure your lights.

If you use ceiling-mounted lights, you’ll have some flexibility in positioning them in an easier manner via a rail or scissor system. They also take up virtually no room in your studio, which allows for more open space to shoot and create. Although it sounds like a ceiling-mounted lighting kit is the way to go, you need to factor in cost, commitment, and restriction: Plan to spend more to set up and secure your lighting, and you may want to stay in your studio space for a while after spending that time, money, and effort. In addition, if you choose to use the same lights in a different location, for instance, it isn’t as simple as grabbing your light and heading out the door.

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