Every photographer knows that the fanciest or most expensive equipment doesn’t always result in the best photos. However, when it comes to on-location photo shoots, some good lighting kit can make the difference between a basic photo, and a striking image that looks like it was taken by a professional.
As technology develops and more suppliers enter the market, lighting equipment becomes increasingly affordable. Along with affordability, equipment is becoming more lightweight, innovative, and portable. This is good news for amateur photographers who plan to shoot on location.
In this article, we will take a look at the importance of lighting and give you some advice on lighting kits for on-location photography.
The Importance of a Lighting Kit When Shooting On-location
Like many other aspects of photography, lighting is a skill that can always be improved. It’s not just about developing basic knowledge, such as how to light certain pictures to get desired results. It’s about learning through experience and testing out creative lighting techniques. For example, a large part of understanding how to light a shoot is about understanding when to use specific lighting equipment.
It’s essential to keep in mind that not every shoot is the same. This is especially true when shooting on-location. The equipment you need will depend on many factors.
Firstly, define the goal and objectives of your photoshoot. What mood or atmosphere are you trying to create as a photographer? What associations would you like to evoke in viewers when they look at your photos?
Secondly, think about a place for your on-location shoot. For example, are you taking pictures in an area with very little natural light, such as a cave or a dense forest? Are you shooting at dusk or dawn? Is the location difficult to reach? If so, how do you plan to transport the lighting kit that you need?
Lighting is crucial in photography. There are plenty of ways it can be used. For example, it can draw attention to certain features, objects, or colors, and it can be used to develop tone and mood in an image.
Also, keep in mind that good lighting will help you spend less time editing your photos. If you’re a post-production photographer or editor, you’ll appreciate the extensive collection of visuals and stock footage available on stock websites. There are high-definition images and 4K videos across some categories, and a lot of it is royalty-free!
Essential Lighting Equipment for On-location Photography
Several essential pieces of lighting equipment will come in handy when shooting on-location. Of course, many lights for photography have additional features and accessories, but your decision will depend on your circumstances. For on-location photography, a key element you’ll want to consider, aside from portability, is waterproof rating and overall durability.
Here are our on-location photography essentials:
Continuous Lighting. If you plan to shoot in particularly dark locations, you’ll need continuous light. There are plenty of options available when it comes to choosing a continuous light. For instance, a photographer may opt for a battery-powered continuous light and the ability to control the light using an app on your phone.
Strobe or Flash Lighting. Flash or strobe lights come in many different sizes and, like continuous lights, are available in ac or battery-powered options. Flash lights are probably the most common type of lights for photography, and nowadays, they also come with wireless features and accessories. The additional bells and whistles that come with this light are useful, but substantially increase the cost. On the other hand, modern strobe lights are both powerful and lightweight.
Gimbals & Stabilizers. When photographing on location, you’ll often have to deal with uneven ground and difficult weather conditions. Handheld gimbals and stabilizers will help your shots and provide cinematic camera movements during outdoor photoshoots.
Modifiers & Reflectors.Creating an optical effect with your lighting is easier when you use a specifically designed modifier. Reflectors can also be used to make the most of limited lighting.
Carry Cases & Bags. There’s going to be a fair amount of travel if you’re shooting on-location. Good quality carry cases and luggage will protect your equipment and make it easier to transport . One thing to keep in mind is that lighting equipment for photography can be heavy, especially when you pack an extra battery, so invest in high-quality carry cases and bags.
Photography Lighting Kits This equipment is precious for inexperienced photographers. Many of them prefer not to use photography lighting kits. Still, these are essentially bulk packages that come with several essentials, such as a strobe/flashlight, a continuous light, and various stands and accessories. The primary benefit of a photography lighting kit is how compact they are, making them useful for minimalists who like to travel.
Remember the right lighting equipment depends on the purpose and circumstances of your photoshoot. You don’t need to purchase and carry every accessory with you.
More than any other type of photoshoot, on-location shooting requires a good deal of planning. This planning phase should include location scouting, which will influence the lighting equipment you’ll need for your photos.