Types of Studio Lighting

So many lights. So much to learn. Let Karl break it down for you.

In this class, legendary professional photographer Karl Taylor illuminates the world of studio lighting, covering the many different types of light, how they work, and when to use them.

Highlighting the key differences between different systems, he explains the advantages and disadvantages of each, as well as the type of work they are best suited for.

This class will give you a deeper understanding of studio lighting – one that will help you to improve your photography.

In this class:

  • Different types of studio light
  • The fundamentals of working with lights: power sources, power settings, and triggering lights
  • Adjustments and attachments
  • Pack systems vs monoblock systems vs lithium systems
  • Best lighting systems for studio and location work

If you enjoy this class, check out Lighting Modifiers and Their Effects and Precision Lighting: Modifiers and Techniques.

You may also enjoy playing with our amazing Lighting Comparison Visualiser tool.

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Is the 25W LED modeling light in your battery-powered Siros strobes bright enough to be useful in outdoor shoots (let’s say you have them in a 150cm Softbox)?

    I’m just getting into off-camera flash photography and I’m struggling between a very compact and affordable strobe without a modeling light (Godox AD200Pro), or a heavier and more expensive strobe with a 13W LED modeling light (Godox AD300Pro). It’d thus be very helpful to know if these LED modeling lights are of any use outdoors.

    1. Hi, in answer to your first question No unfortunately but the lights may have been upgraded since then so check on Broncolor’s website. For your information if you’re talking about outdoors then even our 600w Aperture LED lights are often only just strong enough. Outdoors is much brighter than you expect by comparison. A colleague of mine who films regularly outdoors and needs to light people outdoors for video has just opted for the 1600W Aperture LEDs!

      1. Thanks, super valuable insights!

        Do you have a workaround for modeling lights being too dim outdoors? The only thing I could come up with is to use high power continuous LED lights to find the placement, and then replace them with strobes for the final pictures. That‘d be a pain though.

        1. Hi, if you’re only shooting stills then you don’t need the modelling light just use the flash part of the studio light which is usually powerful enough to beat daylight.

    1. Hi, if the power controls for the light are on the light itself and if the capacitor is in the light head too then it’s a monoblock.

  2. dkari

    Hi Karl,

    Thanks for amzing courses. Absolutely Creative and informative.
    Recently moved from Toronto to Dubai, basically from 110V to 240V. Unfortunately my lights are useless and tried to use converter but didn’t work. anyhow I need to buy new lights. good lights, fast, durable with modeling light and absolutely not expensive. I am not a full time photographer, it is my passion and serious hobby. I shoot portras and fashion and food.I know it is not easy. but any recommendations?
    Thanks for your time in advance.

    1. Hi, well as you probably know my preference is for Broncolor but they are not within everyone’s budget. Godox is a fast less expensive brand, there is also Elinchrom too.

    1. Hi, the projector is continuous light so would be equivalent to a 600D aperture light but light from a 600J siros is delivered that level of power in a much shorter space of time so if it was able to maintain that brightness in continuous form then it would be much brighter.

  3. Hi Karl,

    Do you think Siros 800’s is still good choice ? Any rumour about new Broncolor Siros do you know ?

    And my second question is Siros 400’s has no hs. Is this problem when working with kids ( kids are generally in action)

    Thank you very much

    1. Hi, the Siros 800s are excellent lights, I use them here from time to time if I don’t have enough lights from my Scoro’s. I’m not sure about any new models and I don’t know about HS on the 400’s you would have to check the specs on Broncolor’s website. Personally I don’t see the need for HS as the lights are already fast flash duration, plenty fast enough to freeze kids jumping around.

  4. Hi Karl,

    What kinds of natural-light inducing “lights” and/or Flash would you recommend for entry level, product photographers (still and moving items) on a tight-budget (£300 and under)? Lights/flash that would produce the full colour spectrum?

    I am looking to work with mainly white, black and grey backdrops.

    Kind regards,


    1. Hi Joe, nearly all studio flash lights will give you full spectrum clean light. Godox are one of the budget brands but I don’t know their prices. Speedlites are also another option.

      1. Hi Karl. Just building my studio again. Budget is tight. Can I produce professional results using speedlites like Godox V850 in a soft box. What’s difference from using strobes and speedlites all in softboxes

  5. Hey, which light and modifier set up would you recommend for on location product photography and fashion photography?

    1. Hi, If you show me the lighting look you want to achieve and I’ll tell you the modifiers that were used to do it. Otherwise I’m afraid the question is a bit like ‘how long is a piece of string?’

    2. Correct. Then for a simpler question, which mono light would you recommend for on location shoots product/fashion shoots? An all rounder. Was looking at the Godox AD400 pro. Any better recommendations?

  6. Thank you for the simplified concepts and super explanation.
    Is Godox QT600IIIM an excellent choice as a starter for product photography.

  7. Hi Karl,

    I have a couple of Godox SL-60w lights that I use for product photography. The trouble I’m having is I’m photographing gift hampers that are usually quite large and come in a variety of textures, and i’m restricted to a small room to shoot so there’s little room to maneuver. 9/10 these images are for eCommerce as well so a white background is what I’m aiming for. Instead of projecting light onto a white backdrop, I’d like to use a light behind a scrim method to hopefully save on space, but having attempted this before my lights didn’t cast a wide enough patch of pure white. Are there any lights out there that are brighter/more powerful, and if so could you recommend any? (ideally, something that isn’t in the price bracket as the Broncolor lights you use).

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi, unfortunately you’re not quite thinking of the physics in the right way. Brighter won’t help you because if that was the issue then you could simply increase your exposure for your current setup to achieve the same as a brighter light. Wider angle reflector will only help to some degree but you would have even illumination and will have a central hot spot that will likely cause flare. There is no better or more compact way than lighting a back white wall. This video may help you understand lighting in a small room. https://visualeducation.com/class/photographing-in-a-small-studio/ of course with everything there are limitations and I don’t know your space but it may be that your space is just too small? Compare your space to the one in the video link above, if it’s any smaller than that then I’d say you need a bigger room.

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