LightSource Podcast Article Series

E003 Beginner Lighting Options

In this episode of LightSource, Bill and Ed discuss entry level lighting options and the advantages and disadvantages of each setup.


Bill Crawford, publisher of (Flickr)
Ed Hidden, exclusive photographer (Flickr)

LightSource Episode 3 (Audio Article Series) [20:47 minutes]



LightSource E003 [9.5 MB]Download this episode

In this episode:

Bill and Ed discuss:

October Audio Article: Beginner Lighting Options

Bill and Ed discuss entry level lighting options and the advantages and disadvantages of each setup.

Strobe Flash Products

  • Often a low cost solution.
  • Flashes are highly portable and versatile accessories.


  • Generally longer recycle times.
  • Require batteries.
  • Lower power often limits types of modifiers.

Packs and Heads

  • Heads are lightweight and less expensive to replace than monolights.
  • Short recycle times.
  • Controls of lights is centralized on the pack.


  • Generally more expensive than other options.
  • Require that each light has a cord going to the pack.
  • Not highly portable.


  • All-in-one units with very high levels of light output.
  • Short recycle times.
  • Consistent color temperature and power.


  • Require that all units be plugged in to an A/C outlet.
  • Lights must be controlled independently.
  • Not highly portable.

Hot Lights

  • Inexpensive solution.
  • Lights are continuous allowing photographer to see the final lighting effect.
  • Inexpensive bulb replacement.


  • Generate high heat limiting subject range and modifier types.
  • Low output often requires slow shutter speeds and large apertures.

“Home Depot” Work Lamps

  • Inexpensive
  • Readily available
  • High output lamps.


  • Intense heat
  • Low color temperature
  • Require home made light modifiers or panels for diffusion.

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