In our Master Lighting & Off-Camera Flash Facebook group, we constantly get asked whether or not it’s necessary to have the latest and greatest in lighting equipment or which flash is truly the best on the market. The answer to either of those questions isn’t that simple – everyone has a different budget, different creative needs and there is no one solution to the age-old question of “which light is best for me?” Instead, we decided it would be best to give you our favorite contenders for a wide range of power.

With Black Friday around the corner and photographers worldwide ready to click ‘Add to Cart’ on photography lighting equipment they’ve had their eye on, we wanted to help you make a more educated decision based on how much power you need, what brand of flash you already own, and what budget you are working with. We are all about offering options based on positive results and luckily we’ve gone through months and years of testing some of these lights to give you the best of the best photography lighting equipment for every budget.

Speedlights

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In this BTS image from Lighting 4, Pye is using a Profoto A1x.

Most photographers start with one light, on-camera. Modern-day DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras come with a hot-shoe mount for this very reason and are also why our Lighting 101 course only discusses how to use your on-camera flash to create flattering and dynamic images. Once you’ve developed enough comfortability using an on-camera flash, then it’s time to move on to a more complex set-up and dive into off-camera flash photography. These are our top contenders for off-camera flash equipment in the 50-75Ws range:

Medium Strobes

photography lighting equipment
In this BTS image from Lighting 3, Pye is using 2 Godox AD200s with a MagBox.

With more light comes more responsibility – to create more interesting images with a complex set up, to create your own light when it doesn’t exist, and so much more. The possibilities of off-camera flash photography are truly endless once you master your understanding of light. While off-camera flashes provide simple solutions for location lighting, sometimes you just need a little bit more juice for your off-camera flash photography which is why we created Lighting 201, to dive deeper into the world of flash photography by taking the flash off-camera to create incredible imagery. Now that you’ve mastered the power of a single speedlight it’s time to start combining them with photography lighting equipment that packs a bit more power. Here are some options for medium strobes in the 150 – 350 Ws range:

Studio Lights & High-Powered Strobes

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Pye uses the Profoto B10 Plus here to create studio gelled lighting.

When searching for photography studio equipment it’s important to note that you’ll likely need more power than some of the photography lighting equipment we’ve listed above since you’ll be cutting out your ambient light and pumping in clean, off-camera light. Here are some of our favorite options that range in the 400-600 Ws:

While these higher-powered strobes are categorized as “studio lighting” over the past couple of years they are becoming more and more popular for location lighting as well. In Lighting 3, we discuss why we need a bit more light in certain scenes on-location in order to cooperate with outdoor lighting conditions. Similarly, in Lighting 4 we discuss how we are often limited with sunlight and offer solutions on how to re-create natural light effects with off-camera lighting.

Photography Lighting Courses

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A BTS image from our newest Lighting 4 Course on how to create every natural light effect using off-camera flash.

If you want to brush up on your skills prior to taking the leap and purchasing any of the photography lighting equipment we’ve mentioned above, we highly suggest taking a look at our comprehensive lighting courses that are designed to help you master off-camera flash photography and start thinking creatively using flash:

If you are looking for more information on light modification and what type of light modifiers create various styles of light, check out our Complete Guide to Lighting Modifiers!