Photographers can spend whole careers learning new things about studio lighting, so when you’re just starting out the learning curve can prove a bit daunting. Whether on location or in your home photo studio, studio flash kits can be the most important tool you have. Our quick layman’s guide below tells you what you should know before you get started.
Typically ranging in price from around £250 to £550, most studio flash kits include two flash heads complete with stands, cables and either brollies or softboxes, or a mix of the two. Most also come complete with carrying bags.
How do they work?
Studio flash heads are powered from mains electricity, but rechargeable battery packs are also sometimes available as optional extras. One flash head is synched to the camera and the second (and any subsequent heads) can be used in light-sensitive slave mode, so that they all fire simultaneously. The power of the flash is adjustable on each head.
Who makes them?
The most popular makes that offer quality as well as good value for money include Elinchrom, Interfit, Bowens and Lastolite.
When should I use them?
Studio flash kits are ideal for indoor portraiture and product photography, because they offer much softer and more controllable lighting than flashguns, for more professional results.
How do I attach them to my DSLR?
The easiest way to connect them to your camera is via the synch cable supplied in the kit. However, not all cameras have sync terminals, so you may need to buy a hotshoe adaptor for your camera or a wireless trigger set, where the transmitter attaches to the camera’s hotshoe and the receiver connects to the flash head’s sync socket.
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