Umbrella Studio Lighting Kit for Beginners


Umbrella photography light

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Emart 600W Umbrella Continuous Lighting Kit

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The Emart 600W Umbrella Continuous lighting kit is an excellent starter lighting kit for video or photography. However, don’t expect pro-grade durability or super bright performance. But you will get a lighting kit that will allow you to gain video lighting experience, without spending a whole heap of money.

DISCLOSURE: I have this umbrella lighting kit, and it was bought with my own money. I do not have any connection with Emart, so you can be certain that this review is entirely independent. The image at the start of this article is of one of the shoot-through umbrella lights being used at a paid job. For that video shoot, I replaced the original CFL bulbs with more powerful LED bulbs.

What’s in the box

  • 3x 45W daylight CFL bulbs
  • Total equivalent power 600W
  • Bulb CRI: about 80-85
  • 3x bulb holders
  • 2x 33-inch Black/Silver Reflector Umbrella
  • 2x 33-inch Translucent White Umbrella
  • 2x 83-inch light stand
  • 1x 33-inch light stand
  • 1x bulb carry case
  • 1x kit carry case
EMART 600W Photography Photo Video Portrait Studio Day Light Umbrella...
  • 45W Photo CFL Bulb: 3 * 45W 5500K full spectrum energy saving CFL continuous photo bulb, no noise...
  • White/Sliver Reflective Umbrella: White umbrella works well to diffuse the light from any flash,...
  • Adjustable Light Stand: 2 * 83 inch photography light stand, 1 * 33 inch photography light stand,...
  • All-In-One Carrying Bag: Whole kit can be put in, convenient and easy to store. Meet your needs when...

Last update on 2021-10-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

DIY Video Studio review

An umbrella kit is an ideal start in video lighting and this kit gives you two types of umbrellas to try. Use the translucent shoot-through umbrellas to throw soft light on your subject. The inevitable light-spill with umbrella lights can be a bonus and help illuminate the area and background around your subject.

For more directional soft light swap the shoot-through umbrellas with the black/silver reflector umbrellas. However, you will still get some light-spill.

If you are a video novice, or just need to illuminate a small area, these lights will be fine. Note that the CFL bulbs are not dimmable. And at 45W each, the brightness is just enough to light one or two people. However, if you need more light, replace the bulbs with higher power CFL or LED bulbs. Emart says the bulb holders can take bulbs rated up to 105 Watts. See my article on replacement light bulbs for video recording.

If you decide you want more control of where you place the light you could swap the umbrellas for softbox hoods. I’ve done that myself with a Neewer 32 inch Octagonal SoftboxOpens in a new tab..

The carry case is OK and works, but don’t expect it to be divided into compartments or have padding. There is a separate case for the bulbs, which is a nice touch.

The light stands are of aluminum alloy tube and plastic construction, so they are lightweight. Although the umbrellas and bulbs are not heavy, I would advise placing sandbag weights over the light stand legs if you were worried about the lights tipping up. I always add sandbag weights as a precaution because there may be clients or members of the public nearby. If you are using these umbrella lights at home, extra caution may not be required to avoid potential trip hazards.

Since the screw knobs and fittings on the light stands are plastic, do not over-tighten. Provided you treat them with care the stands and fittings will last a long time, but don’t expect them to take a lot of rough handling.

The power cords are about 9-ft long (from the bulb holder), so you’ll probably want to get extension cords and a power strip. That’s how I always use these umbrella lights.

The CFL bulbs are 45W on a voltage of 110V. Together they are the equivalent of 600W of incandescent bulbs. They are daylight rated at 5500K, so you should be OK to mix these lights with window light without getting any unusual color casts. The CRI (Color Rendition Index) of these bulbs is about 80-85. The CRI is OK but bulbs with a CRI of 90 and higher will give more natural-looking skin tones. You can easily replace these CFL bulbs with LEDs bulbs that have a standard screw mount. Not only are LEDs brighter than CFLs, for the same power (wattage), but they also run cooler and are more efficient.

Be aware that you get two tall light stands and a short one. I use the tall ones to light my subject and the short one is usually reserved to add a splash of light to the background.

Although you get four umbrellas, two white shoot-through, and two silver reflective umbrellas you probably will only use two at any one time. The two types of umbrellas do give you different lighting effects and need to be used accordingly. See my article How to use Umbrella Lights in video: A complete guide with images for full details.

Last update on 2021-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Conclusion

Would I get this umbrella lighting kit? Sure, and I did buy it. But is it suitable for you?

If I were a novice wanting to get some video lighting experience or someone who is only going to shoot a few videos, then I would buy this kit. In fact, I bought this kit and continue to use it for some of my professional jobs. The photograph at the top of this article is a shot of one of the shoot-through umbrella lights being used to record talking head videos for the Working4Business Awards in Glasgow (pre-lockdown).

The key thing is that, like any tool, you need to know how to use it to get the best out of the kit. However, umbrella lights are more forgiving than many other types of light, so you’ll find it’s easy to get satisfactory results. Just be aware that whether you are using the shoot-through or reflective umbrellas, the bulb always points into the umbrella.

You get a lot for your money in this kit at an extremely affordable price. This kit will let you try out a new hobby quite inexpensively. The only other thing you need to get started is a camera and you probably already have one in the form of a smartphone.

Tosh Lubek runs an audio and video production business in the UK and has been using the Canon EOS R since it was released in the Autumn of 2018 and the Canon EOS R6 in 2020. He has used both cameras to shoot TV commercials broadcast on Sky TV, promotional business videos, videos of events and functions, and YouTube creator content. He has also won several international awards for his advertising and promotional work. You can meet him by visiting his “video booth” at HashTag Business Events across the country.

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