Best Portable Lighting kits for photography on the market (Complete Guide)

best portable lighting kit for photography

If you want to bring your A-Game every time you are on a photo shoot, then you need to have the best portable lighting kit for photography with you. 

Lighting is the key component that can make or break your reputation as a good photographer. So it is imperative you select it carefully and get the piece that offers maximum value for money.

This guide is all about helping you do just that! We will discuss different types of studio and portable photography lights, which ones should you get and more useful things like Soft boxes and umbrellas to fully equip you with the knowledge you need for getting perfect photography lighting. That being said, let's start:

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Types of studio lights

There are three types of lights that photographers use to get their photography game up to the mark.

All of these lights come with their own sets of strengths and weaknesses, and we'll discuss the most common ones so you can know which one is better for you:

Continuous Lighting Kits:

Sometimes, you need to keep your portable photography light turned on with the same light levels you use when taking photographs.

This is to avoid the momentary flashes that occur in strobe lights. This one is the best portable lighting kit for photography if you are just starting out. 

You can easily adjust color temperature and white balance in real-time while checking how the subject looks under the light. 

Plus, it is perfect for video shoots as you must need the lights turned on to capture the video. The main drawback is that it produces a lot of heat, which makes sense because of continuous light production.

Speed-light Kit:

These are the external lights that produce faster flashes than the flash of a standard camera and mostly used along with softboxes and photography umbrellas. Speedlights are the best portable lighting kit for photography because of their excellent portability making them very versatile.

You can use them with remote control if you want the light to come from a different direction than you are taking the picture from or if you want the light to fall from a distance. 

Keep in mind that beginners will not find this portable photography light very convenient as they will have to continuously turn the flash on and off to see how the product will look in the light settings you are choosing.

Mono-light Strobe Lighting Kit:

These are the independent lights that come with a power source and a light stand. They need AC power to function, making them extremely portable and versatile in usability as you can use them both inside and outside the studio.

Due to the high powered light being thrown in one direction, monolights can be used for completely illuminating different types of subjects without the need for bulky lights. However, the bulbs in moonlights can easily be broken, and new ones can cost a lot, so you need to be very vigilant when using them.

Which lighting is best for photography?

Which lighting is best for photography

Now that you know which the best portable lighting kit for photography is, you must be wondering which lighting bulb I should go for. 

Well, we suggest LED light bulbs when you are not using the strobes because of several practical reasons.

Firstly, they come in an array of color temperatures so you can get the one as per your needs.

Secondly, they are extremely affordable; you can get 10 of them in under 100 bucks. This means you can get different color temperatures and brightness levels and use them for different types of shoots and their lighting requirements.

What lighting equipment is needed for portrait photography?

lighting equipment is needed for portrait photography

Since you are searching for the equipment for portrait photography, it is highly likely that you are just starting out. So if that's the case, we have some pretty awesome suggestions for you, let's see:

  • Lens : For beginners who want to enter into the portrait photography market, we suggest the 50mm lens because of its inexpensiveness and quality results.

  • Reflector : You will also need to have a reflector in your photography arsenal if you are planning on shooting outdoor portraits. A 5-in-1 reflector should work great for you.

  • Off-Camera Flash : Light is the backbone of photography, and you need a separate flash to ensure it is enough for perfect portraits. Plus, in outdoor environments where there is natural light coming in, your camera flash won't be enough to put the focus on the subject, another source is needed.

  • Tripod : You need a sturdy tripod, mostly for indoor purposes, where you need to capture the model at a specific place like in front of a green screen. Make sure to get the one that can hold at least double the weight of your camera.

  • Sturdy Camera Bag : This goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, you need a durable and comfortable camera bag. Since your camera and lens will be the most expensive equipment in your gear, you need to keep them someplace safe, and a bag will help you with that. It should also be comfortable to carry as your shoulder can become sore from hours of carrying it around.
  • Why do photographers use a softbox?

    The enclosure surrounding the light that you see in photo studios is the softbox – just pointing out in case you didn't know! The practical uses of these lightweight but essential lightboxes are endless. 

    Before their invention, photographers used and regarded the north-facing window as the best source of soft light.

    However, you cannot have a north-facing window everywhere, and even if you have, sunlight won't be there at night. So considering the beauty that soft light adds, soft-boxes were invented. They send out pretty much the same soft light without the photographers having to wait for daylight.

    What is the best portable photography lighting?

    Want to up your outdoor photography game with portable photography lighting? Or maybe you are just dipping your toes into it and want to get the best lighting for photography at affordable prices? 

    Well, whatever the reasons are, you are rest assured to get a bang for your buck with the products we have suggested below:

    Bestseller No. 1
    UBeesize LED Video Light Kit, 2Pcs...
    • Video Lighting Kit: The Small Led Panel Light Is...
    • Diversification Shooting Effects: Led Desktop...
    • 51" Adjustable Selfie Stick Tripod: The...
    • Usb-Powered Light: There Are More Powerful Options...
    Bestseller No. 2
    Amazon Basics Portable Foldable Photo...
    • No assembly required with set-up in less than a...
    • Measures 25'' x 30'' x 25'' to fit a variety of...
    • High output built-in LED lights for handheld...
    • A front 3-door system maximizes image angles while...
    SaleBestseller No. 3
    MOUNTDOG Softbox Lighting Kit...
    • 【2 Softbox】: 2pcs 20 x 28inch MountDog softbox...
    • 【Energy Efficient Bulbs】: 2 x 95W Energy...
    • 【210° Rotatable Head & Adjustable Light...
    • 【Suitable for Various Photography】: It is...
    Bestseller No. 4
    Neewer 2 Packs Dimmable Bi-Color 480 LED...
    • Kit Includes: (2)Bi-color LED Video Light with U...
    • Dimmable Bi-color LED Light: With 240 White and...
    • Durable Material: Made of excellent quality...
    • Useful Accessories: Comes with a white diffuser to...
    SaleBestseller No. 5
    GVM RGB LED Video Light, Photography...
    • Update Simulate Scene Modes:The video light...
    • Two output ways: The first mode is where the color...
    • App Intelligent Control System: the video light...
    • Rgb 800D support master and Slave control mode:...
    Bestseller No. 6
    EMART 8.5 x 10 ft Backdrop Support...
    • 8.5 x 10 ft Backdrop Support System with 6 x 9 ft...
    • 6 x 9 ft Muslin Backdrop(Black, White and Green),...
    • The Photography Umbrella Lighting Kit, soften...
    • 24" x 24" Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit, 5500K...
    SaleBestseller No. 7
    Neewer 2 Pieces Bi-color 660 LED Video...
    • Kit includes: (2)Bi-color LED Video Light with U...
    • With 330 White and 330 Yellow LED long lasting...
    • The video light is made of excellent quality...
    • The light is powered by AC Adapter (included) or...

    Are LED lights good for photography?

    YES, they are, and as discussed above, they hare several practical uses in the photography space.

    To give you a further idea of their benefits and why they are often part of the best photography lighting kit, we have mentioned some features below:

  • Very affordable; you can get up to 10 Led bulbs in under $100
  • Extremely long-lasting
  • Very minimal heating even after hours of use
  • Very small and lightweight making them highly portable
  • Extremely energy efficient
  • You can get up to 95 CRI (color rendering index) for a clean light
  • Due to the ample benefits you get from LEDs, they are considered one of the best portable photography lights.

    What is the black umbrella used for photography?

    If you have been doing photography for some time or even if you are new, you will often notice that there is more spread of light than you need. 

    Whether you use average or the best photography lighting kit, you can come across this problem, and that can decrease shadow detail or the contrast of the image.

    So to ensure that the light doesn't spread much and focuses more on the subject, black umbrellas are used. One of the many qualities of black color is that it absorbs light.

    By eating up the unnecessary light spread, it allows the subject to be the focus of light, adding more contrast and shadow detail. You can, of course, move the black umbrella close or away depending on how low or high you want these factors to be.

    Which is a better softbox or umbrella?

    There are differences between both the box and the umbrella, and we cannot say which one is better because both work great depending on your needs. However, we can provide you with a side by side comparison so you can decide on your own. With that said, let's get started:

    Light Control and Quality:

    Both of them will generate great light quality. However, the soft-box is best most of the time. The color of the room makes a difference in their qualities. If everything in the room from ceilings to roof is white, the umbrella will create the softest light.

    However, in colored rooms, the softbox is the best as its light won't pick the room's colors because it will come directly from the box. As for light control, you can expect more precise control from softboxes.

    Outdoor Shoots:

    One of the major issues you come across with umbrellas in outdoor areas is that the wind can carry it away. Even if you put something solid in its foundation, it will still move and cause disturbances in lighting.

    Softboxes, on the other hand, are less likely to move as they don't scoop up the wind inside like the umbrella does.

    Ease of Setup and Use:

    In small sizes, softboxes are more comfortable to carry around and weigh less. However, if you need large boxes, you might have less comfort in bringing them along, the umbrella is more comfortable to carry in large sizes.

    As for the setup, softboxes can easily open and close because of the Velcro attachment and umbrellas are not difficult either. In terms of ease of use, softbox and umbrella both are easy as you just need to point on the subject, and that's it. So it's a tie!


    Softboxes are a bit expensive, but they come in different options depending on the size, so it is hard to put the finger on any one price.

    Small softboxes have the same price as the umbrella, but larger ones can cost a lot more. It depends on what you are shooting and how close or far you need to be.


    Now you know about the best portable lighting kit for photography, we suggest that you should start with the more affordable options that we have suggested above.

    Once you get a good grip on equipment and become better at photography, then move to more professional equipment.

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    Last update on 2021-10-18 at 22:19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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