Are you planning to buy or rent photography lighting equipment?
With all the digital advancements happening, photography remains stable as a career. The photographic services industry will grow to $36.2 billion this year, and its recovery will likely continue through 2030.
Starting a photography hobby or business looks promising, with the prospects looking great.
Whether you rent or buy your photography equipment, several factors to consider. Continue reading below for seven tips for buying or renting your photo gear.
1. Understand the Types of Lights
Before buying or renting any photography lighting equipment, understand the various lighting options available. A studio strobe or moonlight is one of the primary photography studio equipment necessary.
Strobes serve as your dedicated flash units. Most have cords, while others run on batteries. Strobes offer some of the brightest lights for your hobby or business.
Another popular lighting equipment is continuous lights. They are similar to strobes, but they have no flash. Instead, they offer constant, high-powered lighting you can integrate with some modifiers.
It would be best to have flashguns or speed lights smaller than strobes and continuous lights for portability and mobility. Check out online reviews about the lights you wish to buy to make a confident purchase.
2. Learn About their Functions
Each light has a function, and understanding its purpose will help you choose. The key light is your primary illumination, and as your brightest light, it provides the overall effect.
The fill light reduces the intensity of the shadows from the key light. By positioning the fill light, you can reduce the scene contrast.
The purpose of your background light is to create subject-background separation, and it points away from your primary subject to illuminate the background. Rim lights also work, but they are not as powerful.
To emphasize your subject’s hair, get a hair light. Consider adding modifiers for hardening or softening the light. As mentioned earlier, you can integrate modifiers with your continuous lights.
3. Determine the Number of Bulbs You Need
Before buying or renting lighting equipment, establish the number of bulbs necessary. The answer depends on the atmosphere and what you want to achieve, and one light can work if you want a dramatic shot.
Three lights should be enough if you want to get more in-frame dimensions. Three-point lighting is the standard for making videos, and it provides the right mix of visual depth and illumination.
4. Understand the Wattage, Temperature, and Intensity
When choosing lights, focus on the necessary wattage. The higher its wattage, the brighter it becomes. Around 500 to 750 watts can give optimal lighting after combining your equipment with bouncers and reflectors.
The temperature of your light sources also affects your choices. The white balance should be close to natural light, which is 5500 Kelvin.
Adjust the light intensity by adding a diffuser to your lighting equipment. Most strobes come with a small switch for adjusting intensity. Meanwhile, others invest in softboxes and umbrellas with layers of diffusers.
5. Never Neglect Planning
Like putting up a photography business, buying or renting equipment needs careful planning. Set up a budget and start looking for online sources. Choose from at least three online retailers or equipment rentals at least two weeks before the date of your shoot.
When working for a client, add your rented lighting equipment to the final bill. Never buy or rent randomly since some rental houses offer discounts and other deals. Look for special weekend rates to get your equipment cheaper.
Make sure someone is in your home or office when renting online. Designate someone to sign for the packages in case you are outside.
Lastly, check the recharge and recycling time of the lights. It pertains to the duration before the light can shoot the following image. A low recharge time increases your productivity through uninterrupted shooting.
6. The Brand Matters
How reliable is the brand? Whether it is new or used photography equipment, always check the manufacturer’s name. You may want to cut your cost, but buying equipment from unreliable brands can affect your output quality.
Visit trusted photography forums and read about the best brands out there. Once you find reputable websites, pick at least three names and ask about their products. List the pros and cons of each and weigh all factors before deciding.
You need not go all out by getting the most expensive items. Plenty of websites offer used but branded equipment.
7. Picking Up and Returning the Lights
Finally, learn how to pick up and return the gear when renting. It is best to have a trusted courier ship the items to your place. Always check the condition of the lights for any signs of damage immediately upon delivery.
Bring a valid ID and money for any charges if you decide to pick them up. Take a spacious car if you are buying or renting bigger lights. Before leaving the store, inspect the items thoroughly to confirm their condition.
Invest in equipment insurance when renting. It will cover a substantial amount if you damage the equipment. Please take a photo of everything in the case since you can use these photos for reference later on.
Before returning the gear, ensure every piece is as they were when you got them. Go back to the photo to ensure everything is in place and complete. If there are problems with the lights, inform the photography equipment rental house.
Go Beyond Photography Lighting Equipment
Now you know the essentials about buying or renting photography lighting equipment, you can choose the suitable lighting options with the best value for your money. Use these tips when you have no idea whether your current options are the best for your needs.
If you wish to broaden your knowledge of photography, you’ll find our resources helpful. We share reviews and different topics related to the micro 4:3 camera world. Feel free to visit m43photography.com regularly for the latest info about photography.