Off-Camera Lighting: A Quick Look at Some of Our Fave Gear for Portraits

This off-camera lighting gear will dramatically improve your portrait photography.

There are two types of photographers in this world: natural light specialists, and off-camera lighting specialists. Both lighting styles are fantastic and can yield some incredible results. Today, we’re going to look at off-camera lighting gear that is not only powerful and easy to use, it’s also incredibly affordable. Join us after the break to see some of our favorite off-camera lighting products.

Learning how to use off-camera flash will dramatically alter your images. Your portraits will become incredibly dynamic, colors will pop, and the levels of sharpness in your images will increase by a significant margin. A lot of photographers think off-camera flash is challenging to learn, and that the gear just isn’t cost-effective, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Spend a little time learning how to control and use light from artificial sources, and you’ll start creating portraits that will blow your mind.

Aside from these benefits, you’ll be able to open up your shooting schedule because you can take powerful light with you all the time. Night shoots, photoshoots in low lit buildings, overpowering the noon sun; you can do all of these things with off-camera flash, and this is why we champion it so much. If you’re ready to jump into off-camera lighting and are wondering which lights and modifiers to take a look at, check some of our favorite off-camera lighting gear below.

 

Rogue FlashBender 2 XL Pro

 

off-camera flash

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Very easy to attach to your flash unit
  • It has a large reflective area that is easy to bend and shape
  • Excellent build quality overall
  • Delivers lots of soft light while maintaining some specularity

Cons

  • Cleaning is a little tricky

Buy now ($59.95): Amazon

 

Roundflash Beauty Dish

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Super, super specular light output
  • Collapsible like a normal photography reflector
  • Lightweight
  • In some ways better than a typical beauty dish with a Speedlight

Cons

  • Flops around in the wind
  • We really wish that the belt system were a bit more secure
  • A couple of rods to keep the dish in place would be nice (just like in the Roundflash Ring Flash)

Buy now ($69.99): Amazon

 

Phottix Luna Folding Octa Softbox (43 Inch)

 

off-camera lighting

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Super portable when attached to the light
  • Very quick to breakdown and put together
  • Nice build and design overall
  • A beautiful and punchy light output that is both soft and harsh at the same time

Cons

  • There is only so much that you can do with an octabank

Buy now ($89.95): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: Understanding off-camera lighting, and knowing how to get the exact look you want will elevate your portraits to levels you never knew existed. If you’re new to off-camera lighting and want to learn more, this lighting guide from Joe McNally will have you on your way in no time. You’ll learn how to work with light to capture the story of your subject and surroundings, learn how to use multiple flash units to create various moods and looks, and you’ll learn about posing and communication techniques when working with a model, client, or even a large group of people. This course is super affordable, and its contents are invaluable.

 

Interfit 65″ White Parabolic Umbrella

 

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Good construction, everything feels well made
  • Delivers lots of beautiful soft light
  • The white interior makes it perfect for portrait shooting

Cons

  • Overall build quality is good, but could still be better

Buy now ($103.64): Amazon

 

Godox Thinklite TT685S TTL

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Super reliable
  • Automatic transition to high-speed sync
  • Stroboscopic mode
  • Incredible TTL output that meters will with the Sony system
  • Well built
  • Affordable
  • Pretty much gives you an awesome studio option in a small size with loads of features

Cons

  • Initially tough to use until you actually sit there and page through the manual

Buy now Canon ($156 w/trigger): Amazon

Buy now Nikon ($156 w/trigger): Amazon

Buy now Sony ($156 w/trigger): Amazon

Buy now Fujifilm ($156 w/trigger): Amazon

 

Flashpoint eVOLV 200 TTL Pocket Flash (Godox AD200)

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Affordable price point
  • TTL built-in
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Modular head design
  • Excellent battery life
  • Compatible with almost all camera systems on the market as long as you’ve got the corresponding remote

Cons

  • Only 200 watt-seconds of power

Buy now ($299): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: If you want perfect lighting for every single portrait you take, and you don’t want to guess what your settings should be, you should use a light meter. A light meter will read the light levels around your subject and help you dial in your camera settings in seconds. The Lumu Power Light Meter is unique in that it connects to your iPhone via the lightning port, and it is super small. With this small sensor, there is no need to keep up with a large light meter unit. The best part; it’s half the price of most light meters on the market.

 

Interfit Honey Badger Unleashed

 

off-camera lighting

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • It’s like $350 bucks
  • TTL
  • HSS
  • Manual mode
  • Radio capable
  • 250 watt-seconds of power
  • Powerful modeling lamp
  • Bowens mount
  • Umbrella holder built-in and it isn’t proprietary
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Built surprisingly well

Cons

  • It’s bigger than we’d like it to be

Buy now ($349.99): Amazon

 

ORLIT RoveLight RT 610 TTL Monolight

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Powerful
  • Available with a lot of different TTL types
  • Fast flash duration
  • Nice carrying case
  • Triggers available for various platforms

Cons

  • Manual mode won’t work if the Sony a7r III is in wireless flash mode
  • Best works when the Sony a7r III isn’t in wireless flash mode

Buy now ($449): Amazon

 

Flashpoint XPLOR 400 Pro TTL Rechargeable Monolight

 

off camera flash

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Built-in TTL
  • Can be used with Fujifilm, Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Pentax and Panasonic with the correct radio transmitter
  • Excellent build quality
  • Great battery life
  • Ultra-fast recycle times
  • Quality, consistent lighting
  • Big, bright, easy to read LCD display
  • Can work with multiple modifier types

Cons

  • When the Bowens adapter is attached, the fastener for the light stand mount almost doesn’t have enough clearance to loosen and tighten the mount
  • The included reflector comes pre-installed with a Godox mount adapter and it takes tremendous force to remove it
  • Replacement Flash tubes are pricey

Buy now ($649): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: If you really want to get creative and make images that will stand out from the crowd, you should add color gels into your lighting workflow. Colors gels can dramatically alter the look and feel of your image, and can help create moods and tell stories that regular light just cannot elicit. There are different varieties of gels on the market that can be used with regular speedlights and monolights. These gels easily clip on to your light and will create the colors you’ve been craving.

 

Flashpoint XPLOR 600 Pro TTL Battery-Powered Monolight

 

off-camera lighting

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Affordable price point
  • TTL built-in
  • Improved Bowens mounting system
  • Compatible with almost all camera systems on the market as long as you’ve got the corresponding remote
  • Excellent battery life
  • Very fast recycle time
  • Completely wireless when using included battery pack (optional AC power adapter available if you’re planning on using this in a studio environment and want to keep the light plugged in at all times)

Cons

  • Not compatible with flash tube and battery pack from the previous generation XPLOR 600
  • Did not fire once during testing, despite audible beep signaling the monolight was ready to be fired again (might have been a result of batteries in R2 Pro remote running low)

Buy now ($729): Amazon

 

Profoto B10

 

off-camera lighting

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Small size
  • Lots of power output
  • The LED light can change color for cinema use
  • Modeling lamp doesn’t drain the battery that often
  • In nearly six months of use, we had to charge it maybe three times with weekly use
  • The Profoto Air TTL system works flawlessly
  • We’ve never had a misfire as a result of the radio, only recycling and with Sony’s weird hot shoe
  • App control is cool. The fact that you can update the firmware via the app is also nice

Cons

  • It’s pricey, but it’s worth the money over Godox or anything else out there

Buy now ($1,695): Amazon