I love finding great deals on quality gear, so I hope you enjoy this collection of my favorite photography tools. I have tested all these items and many of my students use this gear because it's affordable and gets the job done better and cheaper than similar products. If you purchase through the links I provide here, you get the same low Amazon prices, but Amazon will provide a small kickback which I donate 100% to my photography students. Thank you for supporting students while you have a blast with these great products.
Browse all three pages for great deals:
Add items in the order listed until you have a complete kit ($399)
1. NEEWER 32-Inch Reflector 5 in 1 ($10.99)
The first piece of lighting gear you should own is a 5-in-1 reflector. The price is right for this quality reflector. I love the size of this one because it will fit inside a backpack when folded up and go with you everywhere. It acts as an additional light source by reflecting the sunlight to fill in shadows. This handy reflector will allow you to get a great portrait effect if you place your subject’s back to sun and shoot right into the light. Your subject’s face will be in shadow, but you simply have a bystander hold this reflector to bounce light on your subject’s face and voila’ the light is beautiful! I use this reflector in all our lighting kits.
2. YONGNUO YN560 IV Wireless Flash Speedlite ($69)
This flash unit is one of the BEST BARGAINS available! It has everything you need for power and flexibility. I don’t ever use my $500 high-end Nikon and Canon flashes any more becuase I love this YN flash so much. I find it better and easier to use these flashes in the Manual setting so I can control the amount of light output instead of trusting the auto features to balance the light. You can use this flash off-camera because it has a built in receiver that will communicate nicely with the TX Trigger (below) that is located on your camera to control multiple flashes.
3. YONGNUO YN560-TX Trigger ($32.99)
Order this trigger if you shoot with a Canon camera. I have tried a lot of remote triggers and this one is my favorite because it is a master control unit that will save you a lot of time and hassle! It just works from a longer range even when the sun is bright and from around a corner. It also communciates with the built-in receiver in the YN 560 IV flash shown above. You have a sweet screen to easily control multiple off-camera speedlights (flashes) from the top of your camera. You can also adjust several settings such as zoom and power for each flash unit separately.
4. Panasonic Eneloop Battery Charger + 4 AA Rechargeable Batteries ($26.74)
You won’t regret adding these rechargeable Eneloop batteries to your kit. All the pros I know use these because they pack more power and hold their charge for months. If you research these you will find they are the best batteries to keep your flashes, trigger, and LED lights going longer and firing faster.
5. NEEWER® Dimmable 160-light LED Light ($32.99)
I have attended professional photo conferences where presenters were selling 160-light, dimmable LED lights for $300+ as an ideal light source. This baby works just as well for under $35! This is one of my favorite indoor auxiliary light sources because it is CONTINUOUS LIGHT so you can see exactly where the light will fall before you shoot. No need to take test shots or make guesses where you flash light will fall. You can use the handy dimmer to dial in the amount of light you need in real-time! This brand also comes with colored filters for special effects.
6. AmazonBasics Camera/Accessories Backpack ($29.95)
This camera backpack will hold everything in this kit except items 7-9. And you can fit your camera and a few lenses in as well! The insert is adjustable to accomodate and protect your gear, with lots of pockets and even a place to hold your tripod.
7.CowboyStudio Set of Two 7ft Photography Light Stands ($26.09)
Another GREAT BARGAIN: Two for the price of one! You will need light stands to hold your flash and LED lights when you don’t have an assistant or bystander to hold them for you. You get TWO 7’ light stands for the price of one, each in their own separate bag.
8. Rogue FlashBender2 – Large Soft Box Kit ($57)
Why lug around heavy softboxes and fancy modifiers if the Rogue Flashbenders achieve superb results? I love using Flashbenders to soften and shape the light from my flashes because of their portability and flexibility. Many industry pros travel with these portable modifiers because they fold flat in your bag and expand to form a portable light box, reflector or snoot that works great with your flashes to diffuse, enhance, bounce and soften your light.
9. Rogue FlashBender2 – XL Soft Box Kit ($84)
When you’re ready to add additional flashes to your kit, then I recommend you snag one of these amazing XL soft box kits. It can be shaped and molded like the Large unit above, but it is a much larger modifer so it will soften your light even more. You can create a strip light with grid with this kit for more precise light direction. This XL Flashbender Kit can also be folded flat and all the pieces fit into a nice bag that’s included. You can use one light on this XL flashbender as your Main (or Key) Light while you use the Large flashbender on a second light as a Fill light.