Photography lighting kits for beginners

Learn the basics without breaking the bank.

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As image quality on laptop, tablet, and smartphone screens has gotten better, so has the demand for great photos. If you want to sell handmade bow ties, build an online dating profile, make your dog into an influencer, or get some cash for used clothing and furniture, solid snaps are key. These affordable lighting kits are perfect for beginning photographers learning how to illuminate their subject in the most flattering way.

All-in-one: Kshioe Lighting Kit for Photo Studio


Have Fun With Green Screens

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Turn any part of your home into a photography studio with this continuous lighting kit. Set up the background for your shoot by choosing a white, black, or green screen cloth and attaching it to the metal stand with clamps. Position the two light stands and direct bright daylight-balanced light at your subject from the included fluorescent bulbs. Then create the desired ambiance with umbrellas for the perfect portrait. This kit includes two white umbrellas that softly diffuse light, and two black umbrellas with silver reflective material on the inside for a sharper profile.

Travel-friendly: StudioFX Softbox Continuous Photo Lighting Kit


Master 3-Point Lighting

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Softboxes give you a little more control over the light you are producing in a photo shoot than umbrellas. This comprehensive kit features three 16-by-24-inch rectangular softboxes that can easily act as a backlight, keylight, and fill light as part of a standard three-point lighting arrangement. To create overhead lighting, attach one of the softboxes to the boom arm and keep it in place with the sandbag. You have to fill the whole softbox with light for optimum effects, so this kit includes three light heads that hold four bulbs each (and comes with 12 45-watt compact fluorescents to get you started). If you’re shooting on location, the whole kit packs into a convenient travel bag.

Best for makeup: Neewer Ring Light Kit

Best for makeup

Shoot Like Your Favorite Influencer

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This ring light kit features a circle of 240 LED bulbs on a stand and is ideal for makeup artists and hair stylists who want to show off their best work. Whether you’re shooting with a smartphone or a DSLR camera, you’ll find creative ways to highlight your artistry. If you’re seeking bright white light to emphasize every detail of your contouring skills choose the white filter, and if you are going for a warmer atmosphere choose the orange filter. A stepless dimmer knob allows you to adjust lighting to your exact preference instead of using presets.

For shorter shots: Neewer 2 Pack Dimmable 5600K USB LED Lights

For shorter shots

Set The Atmosphere

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Entrepreneurs and food bloggers can get quality results in a small package with these LED lights. Capture low angles by arranging these approximately 3.75-by-5.5-inch lights on your desk or kitchen table and adjusting them up to 180 degrees. They’re powered by USB rather than an AC adapter, which is especially convenient if you’re using them at your laptop while you live stream. White, red, blue, and yellow filters give you plenty of options to experiment with atmosphere and moods.