Strobe Or Continuous Lighting for My Photo Studio?

This is perhaps the most asked question that we hear so we decided to post this page of information. We hope you find it helpful.
First: There are two main categories of photo studio lighting. Continuous and Strobe. Lets talk about strobe first.

Strobe lighting is a flash type lighting that is similar to the flash on your camera. All strobe lights have a flash tube that fires only when the camera transmits a signal for it to fire. We will get into that in a minute but first, let’s discuss the two main groups of strobe lighting.
Monolight Strobes: This type of strobe is self contained. each strobe head has its own power pack. You can see what a monolight strobe looks like

Strobe Light Monolight

here. This type of strobe is that most common as they are easy to transport and tend to be less expensive than the other type:
Power Pack Strobes: This type of strobe has all the strobe heads wired to a central power pack. the heads consist only of a flash tube and modeling light and derive all power from the main power pack. This type of strobe tends to be very dependable and is good in the sense that all parts are interchangeable. So, if you want more power: say you want to go from a 240 watt seconds kit to a 500, you just change the power pack.
Advantages of strobe lighting:
*Long Life (most strobe tubes last over 1/2 million flashes)

*Do not genterate Heat:(they fire only when the camera tells them to.)
*True Color Temp. (Most Strobes are 5100K color temp. which is daylight quality.)
Disadvantages of strobe lighting:
*Harder to learn to use (When using strobes, you must shoot on manual setting and the aperture and shutter speed must be set correctly.)
*Must Be Triggered by the Camera (All strobes need to have the camera tell them when to fire. This can be accomplished two ways: 1. By connecting the main strobe to the camera by means of a pc cord,or 2: By using a transmitter device that mounts on the camera. Many of the newer digital cameras do not have a port to plug into but this can be overcome by using a PC adapter that fits on the camera hot shoe. You can see one here:

PC Adaptor

The other method which I prefer as no wires are involved is to use a wireless transmitter. Either an infrared trigger here

Infrared Trigger

or a Radio slave Here.

Radio Slave

These both eliminate the necessity of running a wire to the camera.


Continuous Lighting has gained a lot of popularity with the advent of digital cameras. It is a constant on light source which tends to be easier to use than strobe. There are three main groups of continuous lights:

1. Halogen: This type tends to be more expensive than tungsten but has a longer bulb life-around 200 hrs. This is a popular halogen kit Here

Halogen kit
2. Fluorescent: This is the newest type of continuous lighting and it has the advantages of cooler operating temps and long bulb life-around 8000 hrs. Here is a Fluorescent Kit.

Fluorescent Kit
Advantages of Continuous Lighting:
1. Easier to use than Strobe (you just turn them on, position where needed and shoot on auto setting..
2. No connection to the camera is needed.
Disadvantages of Continuous Lighting:
1. Generates heat (Especially Tungsten and Halogen tend to get quite hot. Fluorescent is cooler.)
2. Require white balance ( You will need to do a white balance on your camera to correct the color as most continuous with the exception of Fluorescent are around 3600K color temp.)
3.Bulbs Need replaced more often.
Of course, once you have decided and have your new lighting setup, you will need a Custom Backdrop from Owen’s Originals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *