Amazon’s Top Lighting Kits For Vlogging & Video Production

You’ve got the script, a video camera, and a top-notch microphone the only thing you’re missing is a lighting kit. Despite what you may have heard, having proper lighting set up is imperative to the quality of your production. For months I toiled to find the best lights on Amazon for my own DIY video studio and this post catalogs what I learned.

Many vloggers, video makers, and content creators rely too much on natural and sub-par lighting which results in a low-quality video and a less than average experience for viewers. If you are looking to create high-quality videos and vlogs here are:

Amazon’s top lighting kits for Vlogging and Video Production:

It’s also important to know how to use each lighting kit and the best practices to use while creating videos. Read below to find what each lighting kit is good for and how to use the various fixtures, and why you need quality lighting, to begin with.

The Best Lighting Kits for Vlogging and Video Production

The following are four lighting kits that you can find on Amazon and are practical in various situations. There is a representative from each of the four major categories and types of lighting kits.

MOUNTDOG 1350W Softbox Lighting Kit

The MountDog lighting kit is a softbox kit at $85.99 for Amazon prime members!

This particular kit comes with three softbox stands with diffuser heads, four lightbulbs, and a portable carrying case. The sellers also have a one year warranty on the product.

For more details on softboxes and whether they suit your content needs, read below!

MountDog is a great lighting kit at a reasonable price. The three stands have adjustable heights with the central light fixture incorporating a horizontal adjuster and weight placement pockets on the back for stability.

These lights are great for emulating natural light as it would permit through your window. They are easy to use and are perfect for indoor vlogging and dark areas with lots of shadows.

Pros

  • Easy to transport
  • Adjustable for optimal height
  • Add multiple lightbulbs
  • Great for indoor video making

Cons.

  • Fragile
  • Don’t usually run on batteries
  • Don’t have adjustable light intensities

3 Point Fluorescent Umbrella Lighting Kit

The umbrella kit from Fancierstudio is another easy to use lighting kit at $43.99 for Amazon prime members!

Like the previous softbox, this kit comes with three stands but with fitting umbrella heads and one stand acting as a smaller table light fixture.

Umbrella kits give off a broad light that isn’t meant to focus on one area or fill shadows but rather add a final layer of polish to the scenery and liven things up.

It is by far the easiest kit to use both in terms of operation and set up. The continuous light means that you won’t need to adjust the stands often as what you see is what you get during video making. This also reduces the amount of work you have to do in post-production.

This particular model comes with an adjustable poll for height control and three light bulbs.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Adjustable for optimal height
  • Great for indoor video making
  • Light Weight and Portable
  • Good for broad lighting

Cons

  • Fragile
  • Don’t usually run on batteries
  • Don’t have adjustable light intensities
  • Single lightbulb for each umbrella
  • Won’t fill shadows directly

Neewer 18″ Ring Light Video Kit

The Neewer Ring light kit is one of the best lighting kits on the market currently and it comes in at a cool $99.99 on Amazon!

Price-wise it is very similar to the MountDog softbox but the two could not be more different.

This lighting kit is absolutely perfect for vloggers, indoor video makers, and makeup artists. It is essentially a ring-shaped light fixture where a phone or camera can be placed at the center of the ring.

This allows you to fully control what direction the beam illuminates. The round powerful lights cover all shadows on the subject’s face leaving a nice even coverage of light.

The Neewer model, in particular, comes with an adjustable color temperature feature and dimmability giving you full control of the creative process.

It is easy to set up, use, and transport. This is without a doubt one of the best lighting fixtures you can find on amazon for any situation.

Pros

  • Maintains directional integrity
  • Gives subject an even wash
  • Powerful
  • Adjustable intensity and warmth
  • Portable and durable
  • Easy to use, set up, and clean
  • Great against shadows
  • Perfect for indoor vlogging

Cons

  • Leaves a small ring shape in the subject’s eyes
  • Not great for small lighting jobs and fills

GVM 560 LED Video Light

The last category includes the more expensive LED Panel GVM 560 at $199.99 for Amazon prime members.

These lighting fixtures aren’t for beginners as they require a little more effort to use correctly and they are fairly expensive so you should know what you’re doing before purchasing one of these.

This manual and app-controlled LED panel kit allows for full customization during the video-making process. You can adjust the height, light intensity, and warmth.

You can even adjust the beam spread using the four windows that guard the lights. These black panes allow you to focus light in one particular area or widen them for a broader shadow fill in the background. You can even place reflectors on the sides.

The LED screen has a built-in soft diffuser so make sure the light is not too sharp or intense.

The manual buttons and controls are fairly easy to figure out but if you are a novice, you may have some trouble getting the right combination of white and yellow light as well as color intensity, for a particular scene.

You may want to experiment a little with softboxes or umbrella kits before you move on to these.

Pros

  • Powerful and intense
  • Adjustable color warmth, light intensity, and stand height
  • Control beam spread and reflection

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Not easily portable
  • Very fragile

Why You Need Good Lighting

Having good quality lighting is the difference between having an ok video people can’t wait to be over and having a great video that people enjoy all the way through.

There is only so much editing you can do in post-production to lighten up shadows and dark spots or fix other light-related problems. Even if you set up your camera to 1080p quality your video is going to suffer with poor lighting.

Sometimes people think that natural lighting looks good enough and that may be true at certain hours in the day, with an expensive camera, and countless hours of editing. However, there are many situations where natural lighting just doesn’t get the job done.

Natural light is limited during indoor video shoots as conditions aren’t ideal for production.

Let’s also not forget the elephant in the room… What if it’s dark!

Natural light is ever-changing so light control can be a major problem especially if you are a vlogger and use cut scenes during production. The immediate change in scenery is very off-putting for viewers.

With a lighting kit, you have full control over the production process.

  • You can customize the light with certain filters, shapes, grids, and diffusers.
  • Adjust the direction and intensity of your light and don’t rely on the time of day or weather.

Buying a high-quality yet affordable lighting kit from Amazon is by far one of the best investments you can make for your videos.

What Features Should You Look for in a Lighting Kit?

Lighting kits aren’t necessarily cheap so if you’re going to buy one make sure it fits your production requirements. There are several features you should consider before purchasing a kit from amazon.

Not all fixtures are perfect but think about the following specs to find what works best for you.

  1. Portability
  2. Adjustable Beam Spread
  3. Adjustable Beam Intensity
  4. Diffuser Panels and Reflectors
  5. Height of the Stand
  6. Set Up and Battery Life
  7. Different Accessories

Price is also an important feature but it can vary based on the model, type, condition, and number of fixtures you purchase. Read below to find out more about which Amazon lighting kits you need according to different attributes and their prices.

1. Portability

Whether you are a professional content creator or a YouTube vlogger on the go portability is likely going to be one of your biggest concerns.

Some light kits like large LED fixtures are very heavy and at the same time fragile so transporting them can be a real headache.

Not to mention the mini heart attack you may get from almost knocking down a several hundred dollar kit.

Of course, the concept of portability is a bit relative since you may only be shooting at a single location and don’t mind leaving your stands around. However, if you are constantly traveling or your shoot involves multiple locations consider something lightweight and portable.

2. Adjustable Beam Spread

The ability to control where and how wide your light hits is a huge plus!

Adjusting your beam spread allows you to widen the scope of your light or narrow it down to a small spot and emphasize an object or subject. This gives you flexibility with scene construction and playing around with shadows and dark spots.

This feature may not seem like a vital part of videography but adjusting the beam spread lets you control what your viewer looks at throughout the video so that they aren’t distracted or bored.

You could maximize your viewer retention by paying closer attention to your beam spread.

3. Adjustable Beam Intensity

Apart from controlling the beam spread you may also want to adjust how intense the light shines off the light fixtures.

Most LED lighting kits have adjustable intensity and warmth settings that can be manually changed. Some models even have an app by which you can control the settings.

This may be something you want to consider if you’re shooting indoors where there are a lot of windows or if you want to emulate the natural changes in light during the cycle of a day.

4. Diffuser Panels and Reflectors

Reflectors are panels that… well… reflect.

They reflect light off your main beam and cover darker areas where your light doesn’t reach. Reflectors come in various including silver, white, black, and gold.

Gold and silver reflectors make the scenery more warm and cool respectively. Black reflectors, ironic as it may seem, don’t actually reflect light. They are mostly used to cut light sources in certain areas to highlight your main beam.

Diffusers, on the other hand, are placed over light panels to soften the light from your fixtures and create a more natural but long-lasting effect.

Depending on what you’re shooting and what kit you’re using, you should consider whether or not to get diffusers and reflectors.

Diffusers are great for softbox lighting kits especially when shooting indoors because they allow you to mimic natural light. Reflectors also work well indoors but they are excellent in the outdoors especially if you can use sun and natural light to your benefit.

5. Height of the Stand

Most of the kits you buy will have stands so before purchasing you need to make sure the stand is adjustable.

It would be a shame to start shooting only to realize you can’t reach your light or worse you can’t adjust the height and you or your subject aren’t in the proper lighting.

You should also check to make sure your stand is durable. LED lights are especially heavy and at the same time very fragile so knocking one over is almost guaranteed to cost you.

6. Set Up and Battery Life

The least productive part of any video shoot is the setup and clean up.

Your lighting fixtures should be easy and fast to set up and equally as fast to pack up. Ideally, you need to spend the most time on creative and production. If you’re stuck figuring out how to take your stand out of the bag, connect it to the light head, and adjust the settings, you may need a new set of lighting equipment.

You also need to take into account the battery life of your kit. How many batteries do you need? What do they weigh? How long do they last?

If you travel often and are constantly moving around to make your videos you will likely need lighting that uses battery power and not an outlet. If that is the case consider how long batteries last and pack extra just in case.

7. Different Accessories

Lighting kits will often come with accessories like mounting equipment, reflectors, diffusers, battery packs, and certain fabrics.

When buying read the Amazon product description to see what kind of accessories your kit comes with.

Most Common Types of Lighting Kits for Vlogging and Video Making

Now don’t just go around looking for random junk on the web because you’ll either get stuck with some cheap stuff or something way too expensive.

There are four main kinds of lighting kits available for vloggers and video makers that are high quality, fairly affordable, and good for most production situations.

  1. Softbox Lighting
  2. Umbrella Lighting
  3. Ring Lights
  4. LED Panel Lights

Before we get into the specifics of each lighting kit you should also consider that your camera may already have a light fixture where you can place an on-camera LED light.

These are usually small square or rectangular lights that, depending on what camera model you purchase, may come mounted on top or on the side of your video camera. You can also detach these lights and place them on tabletops or on the ceiling for direct light.

Usually, on-camera LED’s are very affordable and portable but they are limited in the sense that they only provide a single direction of light.

Of course, if you are a vlogger on the go these lighting fixtures may be ideal as they have small and light batteries and you can customize their color or shape.

Softbox Lighting

Softboxs are great for indoor videography.

These lighting fixtures are specifically made to imitate natural light as if it’s illuminating from the outside through your window.

Softboxes come in different shapes including octagons, rectangles, squares, and oval-shaped fixtures. The inside is covered in a reflective silver, white, or gold surface in order to reflect and intensify the light given off by the lightbulb inside.

You can place multiple bulbs and control the intensity of light during your shoot. The most important feature is the diffusion panel placed over the light to mimic a natural look and break the sharp force of light from the bulb.

This is something you can play around with a lot by placing light and semi-transparent fabrics over the panel in order to manipulate the color of the scene.

Make sure the softbox kit you get comes with multiple stands and panels because you may need to work around the light and dark corners of the area you are shooting in.

You may need to go through a few attempts before you figure out the right light placement but the good thing is that these lights are easily adjustable.

Softboxes are one of the more affordable options available for video creators but portability may be a slight problem as they are fairly fragile and you need to take great care not to damage the various components.

Key Features and Takeaways

  • Mostly easy to transport but portability can be an issue if you need multiple units
  • Fairly fragile
  • Most are adjustable for optimal height
  • You can add multiple lightbulbs but most don’t have adjustable light intensities
  • Great for indoor video making
  • Don’t usually run on batteries

Umbrella Lighting

This type of lighting equipment is among the most affordable, more so than softboxes, and they are the simplest to use which makes them perfect for beginners and productions on a budget.

Unlike softboxes umbrella lights are not great for directional light. In other words you’re not going to get light to be brighter in a given spot, instead, the area you’re filming it will be slightly more bright and illuminated giving off a broader light-effect.

The idea is to give the scene a more polished look.

They work by dispersing and reflecting light from a single bulb placed at the center of the umbrella-shaped fixture.

Umbrella lights are relatively fragile and their stands are thin. Portability is not an issue but you need to be careful as there are a lot of parts just waiting to break.

Key Features and Takeaways

  • Affordable and easy to use
  • Light-weight and portable
  • Very fragile and prone to breakage
  • Gives off a broad light for a polished look
  • Not good for scenes that require direct lighting
  • Use during indoor vlogging

Ring Lights

Ring lights are excellent for indoor vlogging!

These halo-shaped lights are perfect because there is a large gap in the center where a camera can be mounted. This allows for the light and camera to be painted in the exact same direction so you won’t be adjusting the light like you would with other equipment.

Ring lights give off a consistent and uniform beam that illuminate a central subject. Some models come with warm screens that you can place over the bright lights and others have adjustable light intensities.

They are perfect for shooting sharp videos where a single person or object is highlighted making them perfect for vloggers and makeup artists. You can even mount your phone on the inside ring.

It’s no secret why YouTubers like Casey Neistat and PiewDiePie use ring lights.

This kit does an excellent job in removing shadows especially during close-ups and in smaller indoor settings. You can’t even tell a ring light is being used because the final cut is so clean and evenly lit.

Of course, if you look close enough you’ll see a halo shaped white bright ring in the pupils of your favorite vloggers. If that’s something that bugs you then a ring light fixture is not for you.

Ring lights are also very powerful and give off enough light to illuminate an entire scene so if you are looking for something to fill small spots and polish the scene, these aren’t your best bet.

Key Features and Takeaways

  • Camera is mounted with the light for directional integrity
  • Gives the subject a nice even wash
  • Powerful enough for entire scenes
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Very portable and durable
  • Good at eliminating shadow especially on the subject’s face
  • Perfect for makeup vloggers
  • Leaves a small ring shape in the subject’s eyes
  • Not great for small lighting jobs and fills

LED Panel Lights

The final lighting kit is the LED panel light. These are the most expensive light fixtures you can get but they come with some perks!

LED lights are extremely powerful. These are essentially medium-sized square or rectangular panels with a few dozen LED lights placed in them.

The panel head is usually covered with black windows that open to adjust beam direction and width. You can also place reflectors on these panel doors making the LED light fixture the most adjustable and customizable piece of lighting equipment available to vloggers at a justifiable price.

Since the panel head is fairly large and heavy the beam stand is very durable and tough. The height is also adjustable for most models and there is even a spring within the stand pole so that during height adjustment the beam head doesn’t fall too quickly.

The best part about the LED panel light kit is the ability to adjust the power and warmth. Most models have manual buttons and nobs on the back so that you can change the light intensity and warmth from cool silver to a warm orange.

Most fixtures use large batteries but they are almost always connected to a power source.

A few newer and more expensive options have apps where users can adjust the light warmth and strength via their mobile phones. These more professional versions have automatic adjusters so that you’re not left second-guessing.

LED panel stands are; however, very heavy and difficult to move around. They are also fairly expensive and very fragile.

Key Features and Takeaways

  • Give off powerful and intense light
  • Highly adjustable: intensity, warmth, stand height, etc…
  • Controlled beam direction
  • Not easily portable
  • Very fragile

Video making and blogging are becoming widely adopted by people of all ages. It is a great way to express yourself and let your creativity shine. It’s also a great deal of fun! Of course, if you are going to do something, do it right!

Take the time to learn more about the video-making process especially when it comes to the quality of your lighting. Don’t let small mistakes like unwanted shadows, dark scenes, and changing natural light ruin what could otherwise be a great piece of content.

So what are you waiting for? Choose a lighting kit and get started!

Dan Sanchez, MBA

Dan Sanchez is a marketing director, co-host of the B2B Growth show, and blogger. He holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) and BS in Marketing Management from Western Governors University. Learn more about Dan »

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