Introduction to Flash photography Light
Photography is all about capturing light. For the camera to be able to “see” there has to be a certain amount of light. Different types of light cast different shadows and can also be different colors. Harsh shadows and color casts may be unwanted and can cause you to spend more time in post-production which is why a flash is so useful – it’s simply a device to modify the light that your camera “sees.”
What is a Studio Flash Light?
A flash is a common term for a Speedlight. These lights are either built into the camera body itself or can be attached to a small rectangular box or in a circle design that mounts around the lens. Flashes emit a very bright lighting flash to illuminate the subject and help the camera “see” in darker conditions. Flash units emit a hard light that has deep shadows and edges. It may be part of the studio lighting of a flash digital portrait studio, e.g., the one you’d find in the mall. Often strobe lights are mistakenly called flashes. These strobes are bigger and stronger than the humble Speedlight which makes them more commonly found in studios and for professionals.
When to Use a Flash Light?
Flashes are used to provide a variety of different light sources depending on where they are positioned in reference to the subject. They can be main light, secondary light, or separation lights. A flash can be used indoors or outdoors, any time that you have less than great light and you need to brighten the subject more than the ambient light. It’s also good for getting a close detail or to add fill light when the subject doesn’t have as much light as the background (backlit). You can also use it to play with colored lights and gels and to override an ambient light that gives incorrect white balance.
Best Photography Flashes
This isn’t a flash, it’s a strobe light, the flash’s bigger and better cousin. These lights are used in flash fashion photography and any photoshoot where a small flash unit isn’t going to be able to produce enough light. They’re powerful, heavy, and get very hot. At 600W this is a reasonably bright light. It uses a Bowens mount so it should fit onto most flash stands photography enthusiasts and pros have. It has a high-speed sync (up to 1/8000) which is essential for bright situations or fast motion and a wireless trigger. There’s also an option to use it as a low-level modeling continuous light.
2. Profoto B1
These are the dream lights of many photographers, small, powerful, and a huge range of control. They have high-speed sync (up to 1/8000), 9 stops of adjustment, a battery for on the go, and an optional remote. These are beautifully made, versatile, and come with a proper carrying case to keep them safe. It needs a separate transmitted to get full ETTL, and those are only available for Nikon and Canon. This is pretty comparable in lighting to the AS600 but several times the price which really makes little sense except for the fact that it’s tiny.
This is the portable version of the B1. It’s smaller and has less power with a similar 9 stop range. It also has high-speed sync but only works as long as the battery has more than 50% power. The transceiver is also extra. These are tiny and easily fit into a backpack, so if you’re on the go or need portable lighting literally anywhere, it’s perfect. The battery life is decent if you’re not using them in continuous mode. These are not powerful enough to be a studio light flash but are best as a portable flash setup. However, they’re even more expensive than the B1 set and still not that amazing.
Bowens is one of the bigger names in studio lighting. This is a very basic strobe light set which is good for beginners or amateur flashers. It’s a kit that comes with just about everything you need for a simple flash group – lights, stands, camera flash umbrella. It only has a maximum speed of 1/1000 and 250W so it’s nowhere near as powerful as the others and only a bit more powerful than a normal Speedlight. The benefit of these umbrellas though is that they can be opened up and used as a diffuser or as a softbox.
This is what you’d normally see for flash photography. This is a speed light or flash which can either be mounted to the camera or put on flash stands photography stores everywhere carry. It’s pretty cheap and turns 0-270 degrees horizontal or 0-90 vertical to help bounce the flash for diffusion. It has a tester button and a low battery indicator with 8 power levels. It can be used as a master or slave flash as a TTL unit. It has a cooldown mode that kicks in over 20 flashes which increases the charging time and stops it overheating.
One of the biggest “off brand” names out there that has a reputation for providing good quality equipment despite being an Asian brand. This gets you a lot of stuff for the price. It works as a wireless master flash, and a slave supports multiple synchronized triggers and custom settings. The controls are a bit confusing, and it has an additional LED that fires on the front for slave mode which can cause a light leak. It’s small and portable, and a useful piece of flash photography equipment if you’re looking for your first speed light.
7. FLASHPOINT ROVELIGHT RL-600
this is a similar design to the Godox AD600 and works well as a fashion photography flash or studio lighting flash or on the go because it’s battery powered. The whole lot fits easily into the carry bag, and it has a selection of modes including strobing and single. The 600W power and up to 0.3s recycle speed means these are fast, powerful and versatile. In fact, it’s one of the best of flash units around even though it’s not one of the bigger brands. There’s a newer model coming soon though! This has a Bowens mount which is compatible with most accessories like softboxes. It also got an LCD display on the back for precision adjustments, and so you can easily see your settings. Also, there’s 1-year warranty.
this kit has a softbox and umbrella that comes with the lights. The strobes aren’t very powerful at only 150W, and the dial allows you to adjust up to that. It also comes with an instructional DVD with tips. This is good for a photographer on a budget or a beginner. It’s cheaply made, and the stands are flimsy so it probably won’t last long. They work with a variety of triggers and are generally pretty basic. The controls are touch sensitive, so they’re very easy to adjust in minute amounts, and the mounts are suitable for umbrellas. These also have an infrared trigger built in, and a bayonet mount for other accessories. The softbox itself is pretty small (24”) so it’s really only good for products or if you position it a reasonable distance from the model.
A large professional speedlight that works well for portrait flash or any other indoor photography set up. It can be used as a monolight or modeling lamp as well and has up to 250W of power. It has high speed sync up to 1/2200 and has 3 power levels and 60 levels of adjustment. The bracket can also be mounted with an umbrella for a softbox. It’s not wireless, so you’ll need a wired trigger or wired adapter to make it so. The biggest reason to get this is that for what you’re getting it’s very cheap, cheap as a speedlight in fact, but offers studio level lighting.
If you’re doing makeup tutorials or close up portraits, a ring light is invaluable for creating even light and interesting catch lights. It’s a giant ring flash that is essentially a tube light that flashes to get the same effect. You can mount your camera onto the light itself or trigger it off camera. It’s 14” wide and dimmable from 50W, so it’s not hugely bright, but it’s meant for close-ups. The arm is reinforced to help keep the light upright and has a socket for standard flash stands. Photography enthusiasts and video enthusiast alike love ring lights, and this one is about an average price for a flash you can use as a simple flash, photo, video or other. It has a six feet cord and can be adjusted up to over 6 ft in height.
Hope you liked this list of Studio Flash Light, don’t forget to share which Flash Light you use for photography.