Best Photography Studio Umbrella Lights

Best Photography Studio Umbrella Lights

There is more to taking photographs than having the best camera, lens, and editing software. Ask any photographer worth his paycheck, whether they shoot people or items or combination of both and they will tell you that it doesn’t matter how good your equipment is, if your lighting setup is not good enough or, and this is common, non-existent; your pictures will be nowhere near the professional standard you are probably hoping for.

Someone once said that photography could be likened to painting using light. This is something that many budding photographers either don’t realize or know only too well but neglect and make lazy mistakes.

If you don’t have time to read the full post, here are the 3 most popular picks:

BEST VALUE
Neewer Umbrella & Softbox Continuous Lighting Kit

  • Everything You Need
  • An Amazon Choice
  • 250+ 5* Reviews
  • Background Drop Incl.

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Read our review
CHEAPEST
Emart 600W Umbrella Lighting Photography Kit

  • 4 Umbrellas
  • 3 Stands
  • Under $55
  • 450+ 5* Reviews

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Read our review
AMAZONS CHOICE
LimoStudio Photography Daylight Umbrella Lighting

  • An Amazon Choice
  • 75+ 5* Reviews
  • 3 Stands
  • 3 Umbrellas

Show Me Prices →
Read our review

Every shoot is different in both terms of the subject and backdrop. While some shoots may call for a simple splash of color; this is not nearly enough most of the time.

You need to make use of light, harness it and control it and one great way you can do this is by investing in and making use of accessories.

By far the most commonly used accessories in photography when it comes to controlling lighting are photography umbrellas, photography softboxes and if you’re working with smaller product photography, photo light boxes such as the Foldio 3 portable photo light box.

But take a moment and a breath or two and relax. There is no rush to get everything immediately. We certainly would recommend that you don’t rush out and buy everything required in a mad spending spree. As is the case with anything that involves spending a fair bit of money, you should take your time and properly research things before clicking to purchase items.

Our Top Best Photography Umbrella Light Picks

It’s our goal to help you by highlighting the best photography studio umbrella kits available to buy online at the moment. We have been careful to select sets with high scoring reviews, high-quality components, and reasonable price tags to ensure you get a good selection of the best umbrella lights on offer offer.

1. LimoStudio Daylight Continuous Umbrella Lighting Kit

1. LimoStudio Daylight Continuous Umbrella Lighting Kit

LimoStudio has progressed to become one of the industry leaders in the world of advanced photo and video equipment. It is internationally recognized by a wide range of different photographers, both experts in their field and amateurs.

Lamp Type Screw-in, standard bulb
Lamp Quantity 3
Bulb Type CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) Bulb
Bulb Quantity 3
Color Temperature 6000k (Learn more about light color temperature)
Brightness 1820L
Power 45W
Umbrella Quantity 2
Stand Quantity 3 (2 tall, 1 short)
Find the Best Price on Amazon.com →

 

It’s the perfect all inclusive umbrella lighting kit that consists of 3 CFL lamps and bulbs, 2 white nylon umbrellas, with 1 short and 2 tall stands and comes with the bags to keep everything in. The base for the bulbs in the lamps is suitable for screw-in style bulbs, so it is not particularly hard finding the appropriate CFL bulbs that are compatible with this kit.

However, rather than buying separate bulbs, it is recommended that you make use of the bulbs supplied with the kit. These produce a reasonable amount of light, but still remain cool to touch. Which is excellent if you have a long day of taking pictures ahead.

You can tilt the lamps on the stands up and down and include a hole to mount the umbrellas included in the set. While we are on the subject of the umbrellas, these are both a very clear and transparent white, so will not add any additional coloring to your shoot.

You may think it’s rather odd that in a set that includes three stands, three lamps, and even three bulbs, it only contains two umbrellas. However, when you consider the fact that two stands are tall and one is short; the third light would be best used as a backlight, meaning it would not require an umbrella. So although it may seem like an oversight, it’s on purpose.

The stands that come with the umbrella lighting kit are robust enough for studio use, while still being lightweight and easy to store away when you are done shooting for the day.

Overall, if you are looking for a fairly inexpensive umbrella lighting kit, this LimoStudio set is an ideal addition to your photography studio setup, whether it’s in an actual studio, spare room at home or in your garage.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to setup
  • Easy to adjust

Cons

  • Does not include three umbrellas

2. Neewer Continuous Umbrella Lighting Kit

2. Neewer Continuous Umbrella Lighting Kit

Next on our list is this fantastic and comprehensive continuous umbrella and softbox lighting kit from Neewer. Neewer is a brand known for supplying great quality photography equipment at reasonable prices.

Lamp Type Screw-in, standard bulb
Lamp Quantity 2
Bulb Type CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) Bulb
Bulb Quantity 4
Color Temperature 5500k (Learn more about light color temperature)
Brightness 1820L
Power 45W
Umbrella Quantity 2
Softbox Quantity 2
Stand Quantity 4
Find the Best Price on Amazon.com →

 

The first thing you have probably noticed is that it is more expensive than the LimoStudio set. However, this kit from Neewer comes with a lot of extra equipment that gives you more bang for your buck.

Along with the 2 bulbs that can be used with the standard lamp holders, there are also the softbox/lamp combinations for continuous lighting, the handy background system (you also get three colored muslin backdrops to use with it, 2 standard umbrellas with appropriate holes for mounting to light stands and 4 full-size adjustable stands.

So it is, all in all, a much more comprehensive photography lighting setup.

The backdrop system is incredibly handy and as it is meant to be used in the studio and not designed for outdoor use, it is sturdy enough while also being lightweight. They are fully adjustable, as are the lamp holders and having the choice of three different muslin backgrounds to choose from, straight out of the box gives you a lot of variety to play with when experimenting for those killer photography shots you are trying to achieve.

The light stands are also sufficiently lightweight, but robust and all of the equipment in general with this kit feels solid and of high quality, Our main gripe is that the softbox using the 45W bulbs may not really produce powerful enough light for seasoned pros.

If the softboxes are not producing adequate enough light, you may have to tinker a little and experiment with their placement in relation to the subjects you are shooting. However, the good news is that the umbrellas and softboxes both offer good quality of light, without any strange tints.

If you have a bigger budget to play around with and if you are more than just a budding weekend photographer, we would suggest that this kit is a great investment.

Pros

  • Comes with a good quality background support
  • Features 2 softboxes and umbrellas
  • Lightweight and robust

Cons

  • The combination of the softboxes and lamps may not provide enough light, but this can be easily rectified
  • More expensive than other options, but comes with much more equipment

3. Emart 600W Studio Photography Portrait Photo Umbrella Kit

3. Emart 600W Studio Photography Photo/Video Portrait Umbrella Kit

The third kit on our list comes from the extremely popular and reputable Los Angeles-based EMART.

The company was formed in 2014 by a collective of tech experts with an obsessive desire to find the best equipment and set up the perfect scenarios for the best shots and videos. Thanks to their backgrounds, each of the core members behind EMART understands just how fast-moving the industry can be and that it doesn’t really matter how good the cameras, lenses and editing software is if the conditions and particularly, lighting is not right.

Lamp Type Screw-in, standard bulb
Lamp Quantity 3
Bulb Type CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) Bulb
Bulb Quantity 3
Color Temperature 5500k (Learn more about light color temperature)
Brightness 1820L
Power 45W
Umbrella Quantity 4 (2 x black/silver reflector, 2 x transparent white, soft)
Stand Quantity 3
Find the Best Price on Amazon.com →

 

This kit is a particularly good example of them delivering on their promises as a company. We can forgive the fact that it does not include any kind of background support system as it comes with 4 umbrellas, with two each in two colors.

The lamps are the same as the other two kits, standard screw-in bases; however this kit has 3 lamps, 3 bulbs, and 3 stands. The 3 stands include a shorter one and 2 taller ones.

Although a lot of it is the same as the other two kits, the main thing that separates this from the others is the umbrellas. This kit has a total of 4 umbrellas, two of which are plain transparent white, while the other two have silver fabric.

The silver umbrellas in this kit are there to provide you with a reflector for the lamps, to diffuse the light somewhat; while also providing a much cooler light temperature. Check out these cool hacks for diffusing harsh light.

Having three lamps instead of two is ideal for setting up two main lights and a using a third as a fill or backlight, while the four umbrellas mean you have a greater amount of versatility when it comes to the type of lighting effects you can produce. Which will also make it much easier tweaking and finetuning the lighting to the right positioning and setup for the subjects you are shooting.

Again, compared to the Neewer, and surprisingly because of the EMART branding, this is an incredibly affordable umbrella lighting kit that comes with handy storage and transport bags for all the equipment.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Different colored umbrellas, giving you more versatility
  • Three stands, two tall, one short

Cons

  • No background supports, but not really surprising for the price.

4. LINCO Photography & Videography Continuous Umbrella Lighting Kit

4. LINCO Photography & Videography Continuous Umbrella Lighting Kit

The umbrellas in this lighting kit are white and transparent, they are best used as reflectors more than anything else, rather than as light through umbrellas.

Lamp Type Screw-in, standard bulb
Lamp Quantity 3
Bulb Type CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) Bulb
Bulb Quantity 3
Color Temperature 5500k (Learn more about light color temperature)
Power 45W
Umbrella Quantity 2
Stand Quantity 3
Find the Best Price on Amazon.com →

 

The thing you need to remember is that some subjects will look better in a photograph with less intense light. There is also a huge benefit to softening the light during a shoot, as it will save you time in the post-processing stage when you will not have to spend so much time in your photograph editing software, tinkering away at all the settings.

All of the light sources in this set are continuous and AC-powered, therefore not ideal for outdoor use. However, much like the others on this list, they are easy to transport and store away when they are not in use.

Considering the very modest price tag and the reputation of Linco as a brand in the industry, it is amazing that a kit like this could be available for such a low price point.

Don’t let that put you off, we have picked out these based on their merits, and if your budget will only stretch to a set like this, you will still have a good setup to start taking much better, more professional photographs.

Pros

  • Incredibly low priced; the cheapest on our list
  • Lightweight construction
  • With two umbrellas, three lights, three stands and three bulbs, there is plenty of versatility with this kit

Cons

  • It perhaps could have benefited from having another umbrella to go with the third stand, but this should not be seen as a dealbreaker.

5. Emart Umbrella Lighting Kit Review

5. Emart Photography Umbrella Lighting Kit Review

Lamp Type Screw-in, standard bulb
Lamp Quantity 3
Bulb Type CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) Bulb
Bulb Quantity 3
Color Temperature 5500k (Learn more about light color temperature)
Power 45W
Umbrella Quantity 6 (2 x Gold, 2 x Silver, 2 x Black)
Stand Quantity 3 (2 x tall, 1 x small)
Find the Best Price on Amazon.com →

 

Compared to the other EMART lighting kit on this list, this particular one is about 20 bucks more expensive and for the price, it is noteworthy that of all the sets we have covered, you get the most umbrellas.

There is a total of 6, consisting of 2 of each color (gold, white and silver) which helps this set stand out from the rest because it offers the widest amount of flexibility and versatility.

Along with the umbrellas, it has a fairly standard setup of three bulbs (though, the bulbs in this set have a higher wattage than others), three lamp holders and stands.

Why so many umbrellas? The different colors help to produce different effects when you are diffusing the light from the lamps.

If you want to achieve a warm and cozy feel in your images, you would be best using the gold colored umbrellas. However, if you want a more subtle and slight warmth in an image, you would use a white and gold collectively.

When it comes to the silver umbrellas, Using two silver umbrellas at the same time will result in a very cool temperature image so play around with different combinations to get just the lighting arrangement you need and want.

If you are looking for an umbrella light kit that will help you take a diverse range of professional quality pictures, but won’t break the bank, this set from EMART may be a wise investment.

Pros

  • Very affordable considering the quality and what you get in this kit
  • More umbrellas than the other kits listed, giving you the maximum amount of versatility for your shots
  • Adjustable stands for further flexibility and versatility

Cons

  • Some customers have commented that the bulbs are not really powerful enough and that the build quality is poor.
  • Before you rush out and buy one of the above umbrella lighting kits, or choose a different one, we thought it would be helpful to look at the different types of umbrellas used in studio photography and their various merits.

Different Types of Studio Umbrellas

The two most commonly used photography studio umbrellas are the shoot through and reflector umbrellas. Check out this huge guide that compares the difference between all types of lighting umbrellas.

Which one is the best photography umbrella for you?

When you shine a light against a shoot-through umbrella this produces a softer and broader light.  It places the light incredibly close to your subject because the umbrella shaft is pointed in the other direction.

This type of umbrella offers a lot of versatility to your shoots. They are able to spread your light source’s output by as much as 180 degrees, meaning they can be placed very close to one individual subject or pulled back when you are shooting a group of subjects.

As these umbrellas have been designed for spreading light and not maximizing it, most photographers use 2 or 3 lights in order to ensure the light is powerful enough when shooting a larger product or group.

When you use a reflector umbrella, you would normally point the light source in the opposite direction to where the subject is and towards the umbrella in order to reflect the light back onto the subject. This is known as bouncing the light.

Reflectors are used to direct and maximize light. When you use these kinds of umbrellas you can move the light source much further away from your subject than you can when using shoot-through umbrellas.

Photography Umbrella Review Summary

Overall we hope we have helped you see that in order to produce the best quality and most professional photographs possible from your studio shoots, you need to not only have a good quality camera, lens, and editing software but also high-quality photography lighting. And whilst it doesn’t have to be the best umbrella lighting setup on the market, a range of light options will improve your photography skills ten fold.

Even if you are overwhelmed by the number of products out there, it is possible to buy professional quality umbrella lighting kits for a very reasonable price. Even if you do not decide to choose one of the kits we highlighted, we hope it proves helpful to you finding the best kit for your own setup and requirements.

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