550 Portrait & Wedding Photographers Tell Us Their Go-To Lighting Gear
Featured image by Alex Valtchev.
We asked members of our Master Lighting & Off-Camera Flash group, filled with predominantly wedding, portrait, and event photographers, the following question:
What brand of lights has you hooked?
Although there is no correct answer to this question, the results seem to show a large skew in favor of one brand in particular. Take a guess and see if you got it right before you scroll down and see the poll results.
If you guessed Godox, you’d be correct. With a whopping 390 votes from our community, Godox takes the lead as the preferred lighting brand for off-camera lighting amongst wedding and portrait photographers. Is this a surprise? Not at all. In a previous article, we discussed the divide between higher-priced brands like Profoto getting their tech ripped off by third party companies. We can see that the repercussions of Godox creating a copy of the Profoto A1 have worked out in their benefit with most users resorting to the cheaper option even if there have been reports of unreliability over time of use.
Although the above image shows the top 7 answers, other contenders didn’t get as much love in the poll: Einstein, Jinbei, Interfit, Nikon, Broncolor, LumoPro, Sony, Rotolight, and more. This further proves that although the majority may gravitate towards a popular product, you should always opt for whatever light works for you.
Does the Choice of Brand Matter?
At the end of the day, lighting gear is just a tool. Many photographers refrain from using any off-camera ligthing and choose to use natural light to shape their subjects, and there is nothing wrong with that. Whether you used to use a cheaper brand and have no upgraded, or vice versa, there is no right brand to make your shots look better, it’s just about what works for your type of work and your budget. So, we decided to break down our recommendations based on the poll results for all different price points to help you find the best option for you.
Godox/Flashpoint Lighting Gear
Seeing as this was the most popular option, let’s start with Godox ligthing tools. Here is a list, starting with one of the most used strobes in the current market:
- Godox AD200 – B&H | Adorama | Amazon
- Godox AD400 – B&H | Adorama | Amazon
- Godox AD600 – B&H | Adorama | Amazon
- Godox V1 – B&H | Adorama | Amazon
- Godox VING V860IIC – B&H | Adorama | Amazon
- Godox XProC Wireless Remote Trigger – B&H | Adorama | Amazon
A major benefit to using Godox speedlights compared to Yongnuo, Canon, Nikon, or Sony is their Lithium-Ion battery life. Long gone are the. days of buying multiple rechargeable batteries and having to worry about charging overnight for your back to back gigs. In addition to providing you with the most popular gear, here are some inspirational images to get you thinking creatively on how to use these lights for your photo work:
Profoto Lighting Gear
If you are interested in learning how to best utilize your Profoto lights, we have several free tutorials on YouTube dedicated to helping you take your images from ordinary to extraordinary using Profoto lights & modifiers! Here are some of our current favorites:
- Profoto A1X – B&H | Adorama | Amazon
- Profoto B10 Plus – B&H | Adorama | Amazon
- Profoto Air Remote TTL-C – B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Yongnuo Lighting Gear
A couple of years ago, Yongnuo used to lead the market in sales for off-camera lighting due to their cheap price point and product line up. Their 600 EX-RTII works with Canon speedlights and is almost 1/4th the price making it a steal. However, Godox’s popularity amongst portrait and wedding photographers has pushed Yongnuo down on the list, especially since Godox offers strobes with higher wattage comparable to Profoto strobes (200, 400, and 600 w/s). If you are starting out with flash and need a cheap unit to test with, Yongnuo still offers the cheapest bundle of small pocket speedlights + wireless transmitter:
- Yongnuo Speedlite YN600EX-RT II – B&H | Adorama | Amazon
- Yongnuo YN-E3-RT II Wireless Speedlite Transmitter – B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Canon Ligthing Gear
The main benefit of having a Canon on-camera flash is auto-focus assistance. While Godox and Yongnuo have this feature, it isn’t as strong as using a Canon body with a Canon flash – this combo can’t be beaten. You can find used Canon flashes for discounted rates, but even then, the price still far surpasses the price of Godox and Yongnuo equivalents.
- Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT – B&H | Adorama | Amazon
- Canon ST-E3-RT Speedlite Transmitter – B&H | Adorama | Amazon
Regardless of the brand of gear you choose to use, it all boils down to your understanding of lighting concepts and techniques. Although more powerful strobes are nice to have, they don’t necessarily guarantee a better image output. If you’re looking for new ways to spice up your lighting techniques, our Lighting 3 Workshop uses a wide range of lighting gear, ranging from low to high budget options, and teaches you how to create masterful and innovative imagery from start to finish.