For many photographers, setting up their own photo studio is the most logical solution. It is always available, ready to work, and the availability of consumables and necessary devices is always under the control of the owner. For those involved in commercial filming, setting up their own home studio is often a profitable opportunity and even a smart investment in their own career. Setting up a studio is a complex process, but the backbone of any filming space is the lamps. Today we will talk about what kind of lighting fixtures are used in studios and how they function, as well as talk about kits and lamps from the RayLab brand.
The design of lighting fixtures
Studio light is not a simple floor lamp, despite the fact that the mechanism is somewhat similar. The main difference between studio illuminators is that they are located on racks that are fixed in height and rotation. This is done so that the photographer or assistant can easily direct the light. The reflectors or lampshades of such lamps are usually made of aluminum, and the metal surface inside contributes to an even distribution of light. In addition, studio lighting fixtures are often used with softboxes for soft, intense light or umbrellas that function as diffusers or reflectors.
Lamps are not only standard tungsten, modern photographers often use LED illuminators for shooting, which consume less energy.
Square and ring devices are popular in shape. Each gives its own specific effect.
Another feature of studio lamps is the ability to use color filters and adjust the temperature, that is, the shade of the lighting. The light can be cooler or warmer, allowing you to use the most comfortable white balance settings on the camera.
Unlike conventional lamps, studio illuminators are equipped with a control unit on which you can set some settings. And they work both from the network, in the case of filming in the studio, and from an external generator, if the shooting takes place in nature.
Constant or pulsed light?
There are two main types of studio lighting fixtures, these are pulsed lights and constant lights. From the name it becomes clear and the main difference. Pulsed light works in a similar way to a flash. At the same time, two lamps are provided in the design of the device. Pilot mode allows the photographer to adjust the settings on the camera, and to determine the differences between dark and bright areas of the frame. The flash lamp fires simultaneously with the shutter. The power of pilot lamps, as a rule, is from 50 to 300 watts. Lighting power is adjusted through the settings, and depends on what frame the photographer plans to shoot.
Sources of constant lighting work on a different principle. They often use higher wattage halogen lamps. Such illuminators are used in photography, to determine the lighting scheme, as well as for video recording and cinematography. Bloggers often purchase constant light lamps, often ring-shaped and with a diffuser provided in the kit. The more user-friendly constant lights are less powerful than flash lights but are more suitable for beginners as they make it much easier to understand how the light will look in the frame.
What and how to use?
In total there are several types of studio lamps and accessories, and each combination is suitable for certain tasks.
The first thing to remember is that it is light that allows the photographer to create form and depth in the frame. Therefore, it is important how exactly it will be exposed.
- Key or drawing creates the main lighting in the frame.
- The fill light supports the main light by reducing the intensity of the shadows and the contrast of the scene.
- Outline — highlights the object from behind in order to highlight it from the background. Depending on the location, it can give either a sharp outline or a soft one.
- Backlight creates the main tone of the frame.
In addition, it is necessary to take into account the natural light that exists in the room before shooting. In order to reduce its influence, blackout curtains are often used on windows.
Reflectors (modifiers) are a type of accessory that is placed on a flash lamp.
- Umbrellas — usually with a silver, gold or white coating inside, mounted on a lighting fixture. The light reflected from the coating becomes softer and gives a specific tone, depending on its color.
- White umbrellas — work on the principle of a softbox or diffuser, also softening the light, but passing it through a white translucent fabric.
- A softbox is a design that is put on a light source and acts as a diffuser. They come in different sizes and, depending on the distance, give a sharper or softer light.
- Stripboxes are a variation of the rectangular softbox. Stripboxes are suitable for backlighting and creating highlights.
- Another subspecies of softboxes — octobox, respectively, has an octagonal shape. These boxes are mainly used for portraits due to their more rounded shape.
- The reflector directs the light at a certain angle and is one of the most complex lighting fixtures.
- The tube focuses and directs the light into a narrow beam. This accessory is used to highlight hair and create contour light.
These are just the basic accessories available for studio shooting. There are many more modifications that work on the same principle as the others, but give slightly different effects. It is not necessary for the studio to have all available materials, but it is mandatory to use key materials such as reflectors and softboxes.
RayLab lighting features
The RayLab brand has been developing and manufacturing studio equipment for photo and video shooting for more than 12 years. The coverage of this brand is created taking into account the requirements and preferences of the target audience. It is on this that the complete set of sets and the specifics of the lamps depend. RayLab focuses as much on the affordability of its products as it does on compatibility with most modern cameras.
A striking example is the RayLab Axio III RX-200, a 200 joule pulse monoblock. This model allows the photographer to adjust the power during the shooting process with six stops. To do this, a touch panel with intuitive use is provided on the housing.
The wireless synchronizer supports four control channels, ensuring stable connection. The reload speed has also been increased compared to previous models in order to ensure the smoothest possible shooting experience.
Another feature of this lamp is the presence of a universal bayonet mount Bowens S, which allows you to use nozzles from different manufacturers. The color temperature of the lamp is 5600K (with a minimum error of +/- 200K). In addition to the monoblock, the kit includes a pilot lamp and a power cable, and a reflector is additionally attached.
The Axio III RX-300 and RX-400 models are similar to the RX-200, with the key difference being 300W and 400W respectively.
Lamps can be used individually or combined with other devices.
For novice photographers who have not yet had time to learn all the features of organizing a studio, the most advantageous solution is to purchase a studio light kit. It provides the maximum necessary devices. Raylab creates versatile kits that are suitable for both beginners and more advanced photographers.
The Raylab Axio III 200 Basic Kit is based on the Axio III RX-200 monoblocs. Two lamps of this model with a power of 200 J are included in this kit. But that’s not all. In addition to them, the manufacturer provided for the presence of two softboxes with a format of 60 by 60 cm. Despite their small size, they are suitable for most types of shooting.
Among the necessary elements for the studio, which are not included with the standard monoblock, the basic studio kit includes two tripod stands and a synchronizer transmitter.
The basic principle by which the kit is assembled is that everything you need is in one place. That is why RayLab offers not only lighting fixtures and accessories, but also a case for storage and transportation.
Another set of studio light has a similar package. The Raylab Axio III 400 Basic Kit includes everything you need, including two 400J monoblocs. Power adjustment is carried out in the same way as in the previous set.
Raylab Axio III 300 Creative Kit is designed for more experienced photographers. The kit offers more accessories to help you achieve your studio goals. In addition to three monoblocks with a power of 300 J with three racks 2.6m high, two reflectors, two softboxes and synchronizers, Creative Kit offers curtains with color filters (blue, green, yellow and red) and rectangular softboxes with honeycombs (2 pcs).
This kit gives the photographer the opportunity to express himself and build more complex lighting schemes than with the basic kit.
Photo studio maintenance and consumables
RayLab lighting fixtures differ not only in quality. Studio light users note long service life as one of the key advantages of this brand. With proper care and storage, regardless of regular use, RayLab kits can last more than ten years. In case of failure, most of the elements can be replaced, and this does not require special skills. It is enough just to purchase the missing item. Experienced users recommend carefully choosing lamps considering the base (E27 and G6.35) and different power (from 32 to 400 W). The average life of the bulbs is about 5 years, and the advantage is the combination of high power and low energy consumption.
Additionally, you can also purchase various types of fastening systems: holders, clamps, etc.
With ready-made studio lighting kits, organizing a filming space has become a more affordable and easier process.