A great and effective lighting setup on the Cheap! Great light and stool for under $150

Lighting on the Cheap! Great light AND stool for under $150

I have not had a lighting setup in my house for years. I used to have the whole kit and caboodle though…lights, strobes, reflectors, seamless backgrounds, hair lights, shoots, filters and gels. Then I sold it all off in 2005 because I realized I did not want to be a portrait photographer even though I shot some great portraits back then with that kit and my then oh so lovely and dependable Olympus E-1. (who remembers the E-1)? I kept that setup in my garage and would torture my then 9-year-old son when testing it out (see above image using strobes in 2005) 🙂

Turned out I ended up doing quite a few portraits with those strobes but even so, decided to sell it off. After I sold the big setup I remember I went to a simple lighting setup, a one light/umbrella kit much like the one you see below. That and a posing stool was all that was needed if I wanted a nice simple portrait at home. Of course, adding TWO of these lights will improve things but you can get some cool stuff using one light. I kept the one light setup around the house for years and then decided to sell it (yet again) before a big move as I never really used it since I am a big “available light” kind of guy.

Well here I am again years later, wanting a simple light setup for my house/office, and look what I found. It’s cheap, it’s complete, and it works great. It is the IMPACT One Floodlight Umbrella Kit, and it is $75!


Yes, the complete light you see above is only $75. For that $75 you get the light stand, the 500 watt light bulb, the reflector and the umbrella! It is a GREAT setup on the cheap. If you are looking for a fill light, or something simple then this is a great solution. I have this sitting in my office and when I want to test a lens I will have someone sit on my stool while I use this light to get a shot. It’s better than using a flash on your camera because you can aim it, filter it, reflect it or whatever you need to do.

Just a quick grab with a Nikon J1 and using the Impact lighting set. Notice the shadow on his left side? If I had another light it could have filled that in, and for two of them it would be $150. Still a deal. 

Of course there are better lighting solutions out there but I’ve been using this one and find it to be a great super bang for your buck product. I got mine from B&H Photo HERE. You can also add a posing stool to the set and you would shave a complete setup. I went with THIS ONE and it is under $60.

These portraits were also shot using just one single light…

Just wanted to give a shout out on this one in case anyone out there has been considering something simple and fun to mess with. I’ll admit, I have not used mine too much but I will be keeping around for when I want to experiment with light a bit.


  1. Thanks Steve for all your reviews (helped me with all my recent purchases, E-P3). I had been looking at lighting so I followed your link and just purchased this light. Thanks for all your reviews!

  2. With constant lighting so cheap these days and having the ability to position and examine light direction, shadows and falloff before shooting, this kind of setup is a great alternative to flash/strobe setups.

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