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Tips & Tricks

$2000 vs $100 Single Light Studio Setup

By Anita Sadowska on September 7th 2018

Have you ever wondered what would it be like to compare one of the top strobes on the market to a simple cheap ring light? I did and decided to experiment!

Recently I got to play around with a lovely light set up, a Profoto B1x strobe with a Profoto Deep Medium Silver Umbrella. While setting up, my makeup artist had her ring light out and I thought the light was really flattering, so I decided to test it out. I thought it would be fun to compare both ends of the spectrum: the high-quality studio light versus a super cheap affordable version. Here were my findings:

Ring Light

 

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From the very first shot, I loved the softness the ring light gives and I absolutely adored the catchlights. There is just something about that setup that makes the face look absolutely glowy and beautiful. However, I find because it’s a continuous light setup you don’t get as much brightness from it so you have to compensate with your camera settings by boosting your ISO and lowering your aperture which is not ideal when it comes to beauty lighting.

Because of that it also affects the amount of skin detail you end up with, and some of my shots ended up slightly soft in that sense.
It can also be quite tricky for the model to keep her eyes open as the continuous light can be quite blinding.

Profoto b1x + Umbrella

On the other hand, you have the strobe setup which I also love, Profoto is an amazing strobe with an excellent recycling time which means you can just fire away and don’t have to be concerned about the strobe not flashing. You also get pin sharp images with plenty of texture which is so so important, especially when working on macro beauty and you can be way more flexible with your camera setting without losing any quality.

However, saying that working with flash is much more difficult and requires much more experience to get the shots right. With the continuous light “what you see is what you get” while with the flash it’s always a guessing game and it requires much more knowledge and skill to achieve the desired look.

Can you tell the difference?

Overall, I would pick the more expensive setup purely because of the visibility of the details in the skin and because it’s much more flexible in terms of your camera setup. However, I absolutely adore how the ring light makes the face look and considering the extreme price difference I would definitely recommend to everyone to experiment with it!

My setup: Canon 5D MK IV + Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro
Light: Mactrem Ring Light
Profoto B1x 500 +Profoto Deep Medium Silver Umbrella

Team:
Photography: Anita Sadowska
Model: Katy – IMG Models
Makeup Artist: Nicki Buglewicz 
Retouch: Evgeniya

I’m a Photographer and a YouTube Educator. I love photographing all things beauty, fashion and swimwear. I love working with Natural light, especially direct sunlight. I’ve become known for excessively oiling up my models- all about that glow, baby :)

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