This article is going to cover everything you need to know about Lighting equipments you need for your first photoshoot, so read closely.

We will introduce you to the different types of basic lighting equipment available in the market. By the end of this, you should come away with enough knowledge to let you shop for new gear.

Light Sources

Professional studio light sources can be broadly placed into two categories: you can either get a kit with a flash head and a power pack or a monolight kit.

The flash head and power pack kit come with a flash head and a small power pack that supplies electricity to the flash.

Monolights are compact substitutes and while their size limits their power but also makes them quite portable.

Since we are not likely to shoot outdoors where one would need a lot of power to counter sunlight, monolight systems should be more than enough for our work.

 

Light Recommendations:

With each of these equipment options, you will find products at varying price points. Be sure to do your research and you may also consider checking out used gears as you may often find good deals on lighting kits that could serve you well. Do keep in mind that metal light sources are more durable than plastic ones.

Light Modifiers 

Light Modifiers allow you to have better control of the light falling on your product. Not only do they allow you to direct the angle and intensity of light, but they also reduce the harshness, thereby reducing glares and unwanted reflection.

 

The most common type of light modifiers are Umbrellas and Softboxes.

Reflecting umbrellas produce a diffused and soft light and are mounted in such a way that the strobe light is facing away from the subject and all of the light bounces back towards the subject after being reflected from inside the umbrella.

Softboxes are usually square or rectangular that are reflective on the inside and have a translucent front. Available in different shapes and sizes, softboxes are attached to the front of the light source. Light from the strobe/flash head is reflected inside the walls of the softbox and is then diffused through the box’s translucent front. This creates a soft but more focused light source illuminating the subject.

Difference between a softbox and umbrella:

Softbox Umbrella
Spread of light is more contained and focused. Light spills beyond reflective surface of the umbrella.
Ensures maximum amount of light on the subject while reducing unwanted reflections and glares. Spilled light can bounce off walls and ceilings, thereby causing glares and reflections that will cause problems with the quality of our photos.

Simply put, an umbrella isn’t as controllable as a softbox and it is for this reason that we recommend that you invest in softboxes.

Considering the fact that we will mostly be shooting garments on a mannequin, we recommend that you invest in a pair of 60 cm x 90 cm softboxes.

Do note that if you are shooting with complicated light modifiers you might need more powerful lights. The same principles apply when you want the light to spread over a larger area.

Light stands

Stands and grips are used to support the lights and sometimes light modifiers and backdrops, should you decide to use one.

There are two main kinds of light stands: lightweight stands and C-stands. Both are available in different heights (adjustable), load-carrying capacity and prices.

While shopping for a lightweight stand, it is important to look at two things:

  1. Spend a little extra to buy stands with ‘air shock’. It will protect your expensive lights in the long run during those times when you might accidentally loosen a knob on your stand. This nifty little feature will dampen the fall of your light, reducing risk the risk of damage.
  2. Shop around and buy stands with a wider footprint, i.e., the legs of the stand are spread wide apart so that your setup is stable and does not tip over. Additionally, sandbags can also be attached to weigh down the stands for added stability.

 

C-stands are heavy-duty, more stable and can take on heavier lights but these features come at a price. C-stands do not usually come equipped with ‘air shock’ so be careful while operating the adjustment knobs on them.

You may buy either of these stands but before you buy one, keep in might the total weight of your lights and add to it the weight of any modifiers, etc., that you plan to use with it. It is always safer to buy a slightly higher weight-rated stand than the weight of equipment you have.

For our purpose, 7-9 feet stand should do the job. These collapsible stands should come down to 4 feet or so for storage.

Light Stand Product Link: https://amzn.to/2xOGdek 

 

Backdrop 

It is essential that the mannequin is placed against a wall that is devoid of windows, doors, any artwork, etc. Ensure that there is a plain wall behind it without any distracting objects. Also, a wall that is painted in a neutral and untextured colour like white pale yellow or grey is best as a background. These colours will not change the tone of our lights when it is reflected off them and the clear contrast will make post-processing easier with each photo. For the same reason, it is advised that you place the mannequin at least 1.5 metres from the wall/backdrop.

In case such a wall is not available at your home/office, it is advisable that you buy a backdrop and the stands that go with it, they are quite inexpensive and with a little bit of care will last you a very long time and give excellent results for your product shoots. You may buy a white or a black backdrop, just note that in case of a black one you might need to bump up the lights to compensate for the light being absorbed by the colour black.

 

Backdrop product link: https://amzn.to/2XB2E5X 

Backdrop stand link: https://amzn.to/2XHihUC 

Backdrop clamps link: https://amzn.to/2LeHBj0 

 

Tripod 

While a Tripod may not always seem like a necessary item for our shoots, one has to remember that you may be spending quite a lot of time on your feet, standing up and bending over to take photos of all the items of clothing that you wish to upload on various eCommerce websites. It can get tiring to hold the camera through the day and every little shake of your hand during a shoot can ruin a photo.

That’s where a tripod comes in handy. Just set it up and after you are done making adjustments to the lights and the mannequin, you can come back to find the camera at the right position for you to just compose your shot and take the photo. Much like any photography equipment, tripods are available with many different features and at varying price points. For the purpose of our shoots, the following tripod seems best, of course, you can pick up something else that is available with similar features too. Just ensure it is a sturdy and stable tripod. After all, stability is the primary reason why we are recommending a tripod.

Product link: https://amzn.to/2FlO3xl 

 

Miscellaneous items 

Also important is a little box of knick-knacks that are often very useful to have during a shoot. While the items you may need may vary depending on what exactly you are shooting, below is a brief list of the absolute basics you might need while shooting items of clothing.

  1. Spare batteries and charger.
  2. A pair of small scissors to snip off any unruly threads from clothes.
  3. Clothespins to make the clothes fit better around a mannequin just bunch up the fabric together at the back and hold it together with a clothespin.
  4. Safety pins of various sizes do the same job as clothespins but are able to get into smaller places and remain invisible. For example, holding down creases or pleats in an item of clothing.
  5. As many different kinds of adhesive tapes as you can get, whether it’s clear, translucent or double-sided. Every kind of tape would come in handy for every shoot.
  6. Though you ought to ensure that clothes are cleaned and properly ironed before the shoot, having an Iron handy is always useful for removing or firming up a crease.
  7. Spare wooden hangers to put your clothes on before and after you are done shooting them. Helps keep everything organised, with minimal crease and that in turn reduces confusion and saves time.

Do you have any questions? Mail us at explore@flixlook.com