Best Photography Studio Umbrella Light Kits

Heather Clouse
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As a professional photographer, I find shooting indoors to be the most difficult. In your typical home, the windows probably won’t capture much light and the place could end up looking dark and dingy.

Lighting is everything for photographers because it is the only thing that separates a mediocre photo from a great photo. I’m sure that you have seen many pictures where it looks like the person’s face is glowing from the light source on the background.

If that is what you are going for and you need a better kit, this is one of the best photography umbrella light kits available for professional photographers.

The kit comes with 4 lights, umbrella reflectors, stands, light diffusers and a carrying case so that you can carry all your equipment around in one place.

NameCategoryProduct
LimoStudio Photography Video Portrait Studio Daylight Umbrella Continuous Lighting KitBest OverallLimoStudio Photography Video Portrait Studio Daylight Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit
LINCO Lincostore 600W Photography Photo Video Portrait Studio Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit AM153Budget PickLINCO Lincostore 600W Photography Photo Video Portrait Studio Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit AM153
Neewer 2.6M x 3M/8.5ft x 10ft Background Support System and 800W 5500K Umbrellas Softbox Continuous Lighting KitUpgrade PickNeewer 2.6M x 3M/8.5ft x 10ft Background Support System and 800W 5500K Umbrellas Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit

1. LimoStudio Photography Video Portrait Studio Daylight Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit

Our rating: 9 / 10

LimoStudio Photography Video Portrait Studio Daylight Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit

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Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Bright light output
  • Affordable
  • Ideal for click-and-shoot photographers
  • Reasonably easy to set up
  • Can be used for both indoor photography and makeup
  • Comes with a range of accessories including diffusers

Cons:

  • The stand and stand bag are not included
  • Requires an adapter to plug into a regular wall socket
  • The reflector is not that great

This speedy strobe kit is a good option for budget-conscious home photographers. The LimoStudio kit comes with everything from the stands to the matching umbrellas. It actually comes with two umbrellas, a diffuser, and a reflector. Plus, there are Velcro cable ties so you can ensure all the cables stay in place during transportation.

The light output is pretty great for the price. It’s not quite suitable for professional photography but would be perfect for a teenager’s first intro to photography, or if you want to take people/product photography for your own business with a higher image quality than you’d get from a smartphone.

2. Emart 600W Photography Photo Video Portrait Studio Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit

Our rating: 9 / 10

Emart 600W Photography Photo Video Portrait Studio Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit

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Pros:

  • Heavy duty light
  • Durable, stand
  • Very reasonable price
  • Perfect for beginner and professional photographers

Cons:

  • Slow to charge
  • Flimsy adapter

This 600W lighting kit comes with two light stands, two light panels, two umbrellas, three rechargeable batteries, two batteries chargers, four adapters, two sandbags and one carrying case. It is very easy to set up and the cords are long enough for some good photo shoots.

It's on the heavy side and doesn't have an easy-to-carry bag, but other than that it was a useful product to have.

The background can be adjusted up to 7.5 feet. The lights aren't dimmable but they do have a variable output power controller. For a beginner, the only gripe we had is that it doesn't come with an instruction manual.

3. Neewer 2.6M x 3M/8.5ft x 10ft Background Support System and 800W 5500K Umbrellas Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit

Our rating: 9 / 10

Neewer 2.6M x 3M/8.5ft x 10ft Background Support System and 800W 5500K Umbrellas Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Low Price
  • Easy to Assemble
  • Stable
  • Provides a great background
  • Can be used both indoors and outdoors
  • Consistently follows focus while using
  • High powered for its size
  • Three different studio flash units for versatility
  • Five piece light kit with carrying case included
  • The flashlight fits nicely into a included carrying case

Cons:

  • Included instructions could be a little clearer
  • Camera mount is pretty large, but you don't really notice it after the initial use
  • The batteries are tricky to put into place, but it's nothing that you can't figure out
  • Out of the box, the lights will not fully retract unless you really push and give it a shove
  • All the parts fit together a little loosely, which can make moving around different configurations and setups a little disconcerting

4. Emart Photography Umbrella Lighting Kit

Our rating: 8 / 10

Emart Photography Umbrella Lighting Kit

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Pros:

  • Velcro removable white and gold reflectors
  • On and off switches
  • Stands are height adjustable
  • Run on standard household outlets, no gas or electric needed
  • Hosts 4 flash bulbs
  • Translucent and white umbrellas
  • Comes is a handy travel bag
  • Solid construction, even if it is plastic.
  • Carry handles on each stand
  • Can be used with DSLRs or video cameras

Cons:

  • Bulbs that come with the kit are 20 watt, not very powerful, in order to improve the light you can add 60 watt bulbs
  • The tent is small, it works best with models and smaller subjects.
  • Bar top umbrella light kit is great for heavy gear. The kit does not come with a stand nor a power cord so you must find your own.

The Emart Photography Umbrella is a high quality, high powered kit with many options and add-ons to give you the best set up you can find.

The kit is made of plastic but it seems rather durable and should last for years to come. The stand shafts are 4.7 feet tall. You should be able to find a height that suits you. The stands have the option to rotate the heads to place the flash where you would like it, either on left or right.

5. LINCO Lincostore 600W Photography Photo Video Portrait Studio Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit AM153

Our rating: 8 / 10

LINCO Lincostore 600W Photography Photo Video Portrait Studio Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit AM153

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Good for both studio and guerrilla-style shooting
  • The non-reflective interior helps the lights to throw off less heat and glare
  • Bulbs seem well-made and durable
  • Your purchase supports a small business, which is always a plus

Cons:

  • More expensive than the cheaper kit
  • The reflector shield is difficult to remove

The Lincostore 600W AM153 kit is top-notch. Although it's in the higher range of prices for these portable kits, the quality of the kit is evident from the first time you use it.

When it comes to working with umbrella lights, the key is to not have your subjects or yourself get hot and sweaty, or get irritated by the harsh light and noise of something like a flash.

The flashbulbs in this kit are appealing in that they need only 15 minutes to heat up, as opposed to other kits that can take an hour or more to warm up.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best umbrella for photography?

This one is pretty straightforward, but there are a lot of options to choose from. What do you want it to do? How much money are you willing to spend? How many lights do you want? What about battery power?

You’ll need a certain number of lights, so that’s the first major decision. Remember that you’ll be shooting at for the most part at 1/200th of a second at f2.8 at ISO200. I’d recommend getting at least two lights with umbrella-type diffusers. (Note: I don’t recommend softboxes for product photography because they are too large to use with an umbrella.)

What are the best lights for studio photography?

For optimal studio lighting, the key is multiple lights. You should have at least two lights if you have the space to store them. If you don't have enough space for two lights, then at least add an additional light for your key light.

Before buying lighting equipment, you should have a plan for your studio. Think about where you'll position your lights, the shape and size of the space you'll be using, and if you’ll have to blackout any windows. This all makes a difference in how much you can do with the space and the quality of light you can achieve. After taking these variables into account, you can then choose the best lights for your studio.

Which is better softbox or umbrella?

Both umbrella and softbox lights are popular choices among photographers and videographers looking to create softer light for close-ups and product shots.

Umbrellas are probably the most popular of the two due to their affordability. Softboxes come in a variety of sizes and with a variety of lighting quality. Softboxes also take up a lot of space, making them not a good choice for those with limited space, unless you can dedicate a whole room to your studio.

The primary advantage of an umbrella light is, of course, its affordability. They provide a great quality of light for both beginners and professionals.

What equipment do I need for a photography studio?

This list should be considered as a starting point. Its good to have a bare minimum, but when you just get started, it can be easy to want a bunch of things that you don’t necessarily need to get started. You end up spending way too much money and possibly never really using any of it because it wasn’t something you needed.

So instead of talking about all the fancy things you might get, I’d rather talk about the essentials: the key tools and equipment to get you started easily without having to know all the technical jargon.

The truth is, to get started; all you need is good lighting and a nice backdrop. When I got started, I used a simple, collapsible shoot-through umbrella with a cheap backdrop for years.

Conclusion

There really are not a great many things to consider when looking for a complete kit. You'll want to keep your budget in mind, so a kit that meets it is ideal. If you have any plans to expand upon your studio someday, it’s worth checking the compatibility of the items you choose. Extra items to think about are adapters, and whether it will produce enough light for your photographic needs.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
LimoStudio Photography Video Portrait Studio Daylight Umbrella Continuous Lighting KitBest OverallLimoStudio Photography Video Portrait Studio Daylight Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit
LINCO Lincostore 600W Photography Photo Video Portrait Studio Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit AM153Budget PickLINCO Lincostore 600W Photography Photo Video Portrait Studio Day Light Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit AM153
Neewer 2.6M x 3M/8.5ft x 10ft Background Support System and 800W 5500K Umbrellas Softbox Continuous Lighting KitUpgrade PickNeewer 2.6M x 3M/8.5ft x 10ft Background Support System and 800W 5500K Umbrellas Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit