Today we’ll continue on with our introduction to lighting. If you are just tuning in, you can find the first topics we covered here:
This time around, we’ll discuss types of lights and pick back up tomorrow with meters and light modifiers. I promise it’s not as technical (or as boring) as Part I. So let jump on in…
TYPES OF LIGHT SOURCES (The Most Common)
Continuous Lighting also referred to as “Hot Lights,” which is generic term when referring to several types of continuous lighting. Often, continuous lighting is called by the name of its bulb.
Photofloods are incandescent/tungsten bulbs not much different from your standard household bulb (just A LOT more powerful!)
HMI (Halide Metal Oxide) are very small, very expensive bulbs. They’re daylight balanced in color. HMI’s are the most commonly used light in the film industry, with many using Arri spotlight systems.
Quartz-Halogen lights are great for the average photographer! They’re affordable, long lasting and reliable. However, they get HOT, so be careful! One of the most popular and dependable Quartz-Halogen lights used is the Lowel Omni.
Strobe Lights also known as Flash come in many forms as well. All are daylight balanced.
Speed Lights are the most commonly known type of flash (aside from built-in on-camera flash. They can be adjusted for the amount of light they output and (for the most part) work seamlessly with DSLR’s.
Monoblocks/Monolights are strobe lights that are most often found in studio. They are much more powerful than a speed light but not as convenient for location work. Monopacks are self-contained flash units that combine power and light all in one casing.
Monolights are much less expensive than pack lights (we’ll get to those in a minute). A great starter monolight kit I would recommend to amateur photographers would be Alienbees. They’re affordable, reliable and Paul C. Buff is a fantastic company with outstanding customer service! (No, they didn’t pay me to write this.)
Pack Systems are the most common type of strobe light among professional photographers. These can be extremely costly. Because of this, most pros rent their lights from an equipment rental house. Pack and head lighting systems consist of a “pack” aka a generator (the power) and heads (the light). The heads plug into the pack and the pack is used to adjust the lighting. They can be daunting at first but they’re easy to understand once you’re properly taught! (We’ll learn how to operate pack lighting in another post.) Common manufacturers of pack lighting systems are Profoto (my personal favorite), Broncolor, Bowens, Elinchrom, Speedotron and Dynalite. Despite manufacturer, they all pretty much work the same way.
Catch us tomorrow when we discuss meters & light modifiers.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to shoot over an email to email@example.com!
Image 2-9: Alana Tyler Slutsky