One light setup complete equipment list

This post is for beginners photographers.

While searching online you might see information on how what should be the light positions while talking photographs however while in the process of becoming the professional photographer I rarely found any info online regarding what is and how to setup the one light equipment without wasting any money. Internet is full of advertisement and I was feeling that I will end up in buying some stuff that I do not need.

I spent sometime in photography school and in photo studios before buying my complete one light setup that seemed so easy afterwards. I am mentioning every piece of equipment I am currently using in my one light setup and adding the reason to why you need that particular piece.

My Portrait photography one light setup

Camera – Canon 40D:

Canon 40D, Semi professional camera as its not a full frame however better than the rebel’s. It takes all  lenses that Canon full frame cameras takes like Canon Mark I or Mark II. its build is weather proof and solid and it takes fast pictures at 6.5 frames per second.


Lens Canon EF 50mm F1.8:

Canon EF 50mm F1.8 Lens is an excellent entry level lens for Portrait photography specially for closeups. This lens is available for around $100 that makes it the cheapest canon lens Canon is selling right now.


Lens Hood 52mm:

52mm Lens hood fits my 50mm lens, I use it to prevent flair in my pictures that develops when the lens catches direct light. Its prevents the ambient light from windows etc to enter into lens as well as the direct light from the lights etc.


External Flash Vivitar 285HV:

I am using Vivitar 285hv as it offers settings with full power, 1/2 power, 1/4 power, 1/16 power and many more features for less than $100. You can also use your external flash like canon Speedlite 580ex or 430ex etc. I was only planning to use this flash off camera so I bought it and it produce excellent results and I am completely satisfied with it.


Wireless Slaves / Triggers:

CowboyStudio NPT-04 4 Channel wireless hot shoe flash trigger and receiver set is available for less than $25. I have looked for many other ways and could not find anything that can beat Pocket Wizards however they were quite expensive for me. I thought to give it a try due to its simple functionality and no extra wire etc require. One is receiver that goes right into your flash stand and the flash trigger go on top of the camera on external flash place. You can also use sync cord if you do not want to go wireless however it will cost the same + its fragile and limit you from moving. 


Umbrella / Modifier:

60" westcott translucent / shoot through two in one modifier umbrella that produce very nice soft light and when cover is removed can work as a soft box. The softbox only can cost you around $300 or more however this umbrella cost at around $40. You can use it as a translucent umbrella after removing its cover and produce similar results as of the softbox. Softbox produce superior results however if these umbrellas are wisely used they are not less than any softbox.


Light Stand:

Any regular light stand that can carry your flash or light. This light stand is of 7 feet and is air cushioned. air-cushioning provides a little safety against accidentally slamming the flash or light hard.


Umbrella Flash mount:

Umbrella flash mount is require to put your flash on the stand as well as your umbrella. Such Flash mounts usually have the flash holder and a hole to fit the umbrella in. If you are using the strobe or other light you will not need it but for external flash like canon Speedlite’s or Vivitar’s you need it. Strobes etc directly go into the stand top and does not require any extra piece of assembly.


Light Reflector:

I use it to bounce the light to fill the other side of my subject, I am not using any expensive reflector, just the white poster board or any white chart paper glued to hard board. I got mine from Michaels for $5 however its also available in staples or Walmart etc.

 Above mentioned items complete the one light setup ready to use. The setup will look like this when complete