Shopping for lighting solutions can be overwhelming, even if you are a professional photographer with decades of experience. Sometimes it’s easier to cut right to the chase with a kit that has everything you need―whether that’s multiple fixtures, bundled accessories, or even just a good carrying case. We have compiled our top flash and continuous lighting kits you should consider for your own creative workflow.
Flash lighting, also known as strobe lighting, is a keystone of good photography. Strobes provide plenty of power and are available in many sizes. With the advent of built-in radio receivers, among a variety of alternate sync methods, these lights are especially flexible in a multi-light setup. Keeping this in mind, there are plenty of variables to guide your decision, including recycle time, battery versus AC power, accessories, wireless system, and power. We have considered all these factors in our choices below.
1. Bolt VB-22 Bare-Bulb Flash Photography Lighting Kit
A versatile and user-friendly light like the Bolt VB-22 Bare-Bulb Flash is a great place for a new photographer to start. With the ability to mount directly on your camera, this strobe is a bare bulb, meaning that it can provide a comparable look to classic strobes. With 360° coverage and flash durations ranging from 1/300 to 1/10,000 a second, the Bolt VB-22 potential expands with its subsequent accessories to modify the light, as well as the option to either put it on a light stand or keep it snugly in the hot shoe of your camera. If this flash is too involved, the pared-down Bolt VD-420 Manual Flash is a solid alternative to check out.
2. Godox AD200Pro TTL Pocket Flash Kit
Likewise, the Godox AD200Pro TTL Pocket Flash Kit is another easy-to-use option that resembles and produces a modifiable speedlight flash. What makes this product unique is its swappable bare-bulb inclusion, which enables its user to toggle between two distinct qualities of light. This is an affordable and portable strobe with a robust 200Ws of power, not including the companion Li-ion rechargeable battery that tacks on an additional 500 full-power flashes when completely charged. The AD200Pro also sports a built-in X Wireless System Receiver to control and trigger the flash remotely. Overall, this is a solid, convenient, and highly versatile lighting choice.
3. Profoto B10X OCF Flash Head
As Profoto pushes the range of its off-camera flash, or OCF, the B10X is a stand-out option for users seeking a high-end lighting experience. Available in a backpack kit, a double case kit, and Sal Cincotta deluxe/standard location kits, this ultra-compact light comes with a myriad of accessories for nearly every lighting need. Battery powered and easily portable, the B10X boasts admirable specs with a 10-stop variable power range and 250Ws rating. When you factor in its other attributes, like the 0.05-1.3 second recycle time, varied triggering options, and streamlined interface, you are working with a flash that is seriously good. All you need to complete the setup are any of Profoto’s highly regarded OCF Light Shaping Tools and a Profoto Connect for better wireless TTL range.
4. Elinchrom D-Lite RX 4/4 Softbox To Go Photography Lighting Kit
The D-Lite RX 4/4 Softbox To Go Kit from Elinchrom closely resembles what comes to mind when you imagine an advanced, conventional lighting kit. This kit includes monolights with stands, softboxes, a radio transmitter, and two powerful strobes offering 400Ws each. It is compact and easily portable in two small bags for on-location and studio shooting. Both strobes run on standard AC power and are capable of recycling between 0.35 and 1.6 seconds. The included EL-Skyport Transmitter Plus, when paired with the built-in receiver, is also intuitive and very easy to use.
It is worth noting that the D-Lite RX 4 uses heavy-duty plastic over a hardy material better suited for traveling, which can make transportation tricky. We recommend handling the gear gently to avoid tears. Overall, this set guarantees quality lighting on its own, and is flexible enough to be built upon if you already have gear.
5. Broncolor Siros L 800Ws 2-Light Outdoor Photography Lighting Kit
Broncolor is another reputable name brand in league with Elinchrom and Profoto. The Siros L 800Ws Battery-Powered Monolight, which we recommend in the 2-Light Outdoor Kit 2, is among the most powerful, battery-powered strobe lighting available, with an 800Ws rating. These lights are especially appealing to professionals with Enhanced Color Temperature Control, a feature that ensures consistent color with repeated shots.
If you value speed over color control, Speed Mode can be enabled to prioritize flash duration and recycle speed instead. By forgoing color control, flash duration becomes fast enough for stop-action applications. All these effects can be configured and tweaked using the bronControl app, compatible with your tablet and smartphone. Use caution, though; while this lighting kit is excellent for outdoor photography, the flash tubes can be very fragile. We suggest padding your rolling case compartments for protection while on the move, and to pay extra attention when assembling, adjusting, and breaking down the set.
6. Impact 2-Monolight Kit
New photographers looking for a simple but effective monolight kit might consider Impact’s 2-Monolight Kit. This classic two-point light kit features two 180W monolight strobes with their own umbrellas, light stands, and roller bags.
The monolights offer a 5 f-stop variable power range and a recycling time of 0.5 to 2.0 seconds. They feature an integrated modeling light, as well as an optical slave that can be used with either the included 3.5mm sync cord, or a wireless trigger system. Working alongside the included accessories, this kit is easy-to-use and flexible for a variety of creative applications. The stands are incredibly lightweight and transportable, realizing a minimalist system that is great for learning photographers and professionals alike. The strobes notably feature a Bowens Mount that can accommodate a wide range of light modifiers, so users can accessorize beyond the kit if they choose.
7. Profoto Pro-11
A power pack is the ultimate companion to work in tandem with your speedlights or monolights. Of the power packs available today, Profoto’s Pro-11 is a monster machine designed to elevate your shoots significantly. With two outlets delivering 2400Ws, this pack recycles in 0.02 to 0.7 seconds and boasts flash durations as short as 1/80,000-second. It is a beast of a power pack, weighing just under 30 lb. This is a noteworthy caveat because its heft restricts its use outside of a fixed studio space.
The Pro-11 is unparalleled in action-stopping photography, with practical applications for particularly motion-heavy subjects ranging from athletes and models, to capturing breath-taking splash shots. It features AirTTL and the new AirX technology for seamless, integrated use. AirX enables its users to control the pack through their smartphone, meaning shoots equipped with the new pack will not be limited by remotes. While B&H doesn’t offer pre-built kits for the Pro-11, our ProHead Plus Flash Heads are worth considering as an addition.
Videography requires continuous light instead of flash light. While some strobes are equipped with LEDs that suffice as your video source, such as the Profoto B10X, we have highlighted some additional and noteworthy continuous lighting options, as well.
8. Luxli Viola² LED Light Kit
Luxli offers the Viola² 5" On-Camera RGBAW LED Light, a compact and powerful on-camera LED with outstanding controls for exceptionally versatile application. The unit itself enables both brightness and color tuning, both of which can be adjusted via two clickable and rotating knobs housed on the panel. These knobs also serve as a quick-switching tool, allowing the user to toggle seamlessly between their chosen settings. The LED itself is capable of becoming very bright, making the kit with a softbox and diffusion filter a choice option for diffusing light in closer shoots. Overall, this light envelops multiple functions traditionally designated for other accessories and is incredibly easy to use. It is a great way to cut down on bulk for on-the-go shooting, and intuitive enough to be picked up by beginners.
9. Litepanels Astra 3X Bi-Color LED Panel
When LEDs first made inroads in photographic and cinematic lighting, Litepanels was at the scene with the now-ubiquitous 1 x 1' LED panel. Its refreshed iteration, the Astra Bi-Color LED Panel, boasts significant technological advancement over its predecessor, with 3x the brightness, while still being lightweight and low heat. It is equipped to produce a soft output and can run on battery power for on-the-go shooting. Because of this, the Astra Bi-Color has distinguished itself as an excellent light for on-location news reporting, as well as a solid key light for interviewing. For these applications, the kit version, with an included rolling case, makes moving around and setting up a breeze.
10. GVM SD300D Bi-Color LED Video Spotlight Kit with Stand and Softboxes
GVM’s SD300D Bi-Color LED Video Spotlight is another exemplary Bi-Color LED with different practical application to the Astra panel. As a budget-friendly studio light, the SD300D eliminates the need to gel your light when adding warmth to your photos or videos. It is available from 200W-600W with a wide variable color spectrum from 2700 to 7500K―an especially impressive amount of power and range for a bi-color light. Its kit option is of exceptional quality and includes a reflector, mini diffuser, and carrying bag to expand its versatility. The light itself additionally features natural-looking programmed effects including fireworks, television, and flickering candle settings, all of which are easily adjustable on the fixture itself, as well as via a smartphone app.
11. Nanlux Evoke 1200 LED Daylight Spot Light Kit with Case
The Evoke 1200 Spot Light Kit from Nanlux is another great video spotlight kit. Available in bi-color, daylight, and tungsten options, the Evoke is also great for anyone searching for a specific color temperature. The spotlight boasts incredible CRI/TLCI ratings of 96/97 to ensure precise color rendering and is dimmable from 0 to 100%.
The kit also includes a Fresnel lens with yoke, a flight case, and additional accessories. The Fresnel attachment is handy for narrowing the spread of your beam, taking it from 45° to 10°. With special effects like paparazzi, fireworks, and explosions, among others, creators can experiment with the Spot Light in more cinematic applications. We also like the wheeled flight case for an easy carry if you need to take this kit on-the-go.
12. Light & Motion Stella CL 2000 / CLx8 2-Light Portrait Kit
As a waterproof and highly capable light, the Light & Motion Stella CL 2000 / CLx8 2-Light Portrait Kit is a personal favorite. Light & Motion, as a company, is one of very few that manufactures completely waterproof lights—as in, this kit is ready to go diving into depths up to 328'. Even if you don’t have an underwater shoot on the docket, the Stella 2000 5600K LED Light and its inclusions are ideal for location shooting as an uncompromising option that is rugged and weatherproof. The light itself is daylight balanced and uses a high-output COB LED, making it more efficient while also reducing its size. The unit can be battery or AC powered, and supports multiple voltages, meaning this kit can travel with you around the world. It is portable, tough, and no fuss, with a variety of accessories designed to enhance the lights' flexibility.
13. Westcott Flex Cine Bi-Color 1-Light Gear Kit
Like the Stella kit, the Westcott Flex Cine Bi-Color Kit is also built for travel. The Bi-Color Mat is a completely flexible LED panel producing 2200 lux of daylight-balanced light. Its practical application requires a bit of finessing―with magnetic corners and built-in grommets, the mat can be suspended, tucked, and folded to direct light in unique ways. It is also mountable on the included traditional flex yoke or frame and is modifiable using kit attachments, just like standard LEDs. This kit is well-suited for headshots and product photography because its modifiable design is conducive for organically molding light around the curvature of a face, a product, or a tight space. If you frequently find yourself feeling limited by more traditional strobes, this product is worth your consideration.
14. Nanlite Forza 150 Daylight LED Monolight
Rounding out our list we have Nanlite’s Forza 150B Daylight LED Monolight, a compact and powerful lighting solution with the right accessories to hit the ground running. This LED features a color temperature of 5600K and a high CRI rating of 96 for faithful and accurate color rendering. With a powerful output of 27,960 lux at 3.3', this little light can be made even more powerful with the included Bowens-mount long-throw reflector.
Controlling the Forza 150B is incredibly straightforward via either the on-board controls or the NANLINK mobile app. It is travel ready, thanks to its 110 to 240 VAC power supply―just pop it in the included carrying bag for a comfortable carry anywhere. It notably doesn’t come with a light stand, so be sure to snag one if you don’t have your own. Overall, this compact kit is a sensible option for users looking for a little light that packs a punch.
What do you look for in a lighting kit? Do you have a favorite light? Let us know in the Comments section, below.