Studio Lighting Gear Essentials
Learning to use studio strobes or any off-camera flash can be an overwhelming job. Understanding what type of gear is required can be just as confusing. If you're new to shooting with off-camera flash, we always recommend keeping things simple. In this article, we cover the essential tools you'll need to get started!
CAMERA AND LENS
We'll start with the bare minimum tools you'll need which are a camera and lens. Without these items, you won't get far on this journey. There are many different brands available, but the most critical feature your camera will need to have is manual mode. This option allows you to manually control the ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed of your camera. Manual mode is typically a standard feature for most DSLR and mirrorless cameras. For the lens, we suggest a standard zoom lens as it provides excellent versatility in the studio. Your lens preference will undoubtedly change as your knowledge grows.
LIGHTING AND MODIFIERS
An off-camera light source such as a studio strobe or speed light is required to learn the technical aspects of studio lighting. A speed light is a portable flash that can be fired on the hot shoe of your camera or wirelessly, with the proper triggers. They tend to be less expensive than studio strobes and more portable. Studio strobes are larger and powered by AC power. They have to be plugged into the wall or a battery pack. They tend to be more powerful than speed lights. We use strobes here at Blok Studio, but either type will be sufficient to learn with. A light modifier isn't required but helps shape the light. If you're unfamiliar with light modifiers, you can read our previous post about it here.
Light stands are one of the most ignored studio elements, but with the proper stand, you will become more efficient when setting up your off-camera flash. Stand types vary from general purpose to c-stand, boom stand, rolling stand, and the list goes on. C-stands provide great flexibility and last a long time because they're built like a tank but aren't the most portable stands. If you're just starting out and on a budget, then a general purpose light stand will work just as well.
Wireless and wired are the two methods to trigger your off-camera flash. A transmitter (connects to camera's hot shoe) and receiver (connects to studio strobe or speed light) are both needed to fire your flash wirelessly so regardless of the brand, be sure you have those. If you're triggering your flash with the wired method, then a sync cable specific to your camera brand is required.
Our lighting 101 class covers this topic more in-depth. If you're interested in learning more go sign up!