There is nothing worse than setting up a beautiful shot, only for it to be ruined by lighting, is there?
Whether photography is a hobby or your full-time profession, we are all after those perfect shots, and lighting plays a massive role in achieving this.
There are so many different lighting options, and an excellent place to start is with your lightbulbs.
Whether you will change your light fixtures and lamps or pop them in a softbox, you are sure to see a difference in photo quality straight away!
But which ones to go for, you ask? What a good question!
We have compiled a list of the best light bulbs for photography, along with a handy buyer’s guide to help you navigate the world of lightbulbs and an FAQ section to answer any queries!
So sit back, relax, and get ready to find the lightbulbs of your dreams!
In a hurry? Check out our top pick to grab your bulbs and go!
Best Light Bulb For Photography – Comparison Table
Best Light Bulb For Photography – Reviews
Best Light Bulb For Photography – Buyers Guide
Not sure where to start or what’s best for you?
Read our buyer’s guide to help narrow that choice down for you!
When looking at lightbulbs, it’s important to consider the different light available types to make the right choice for you and your photographs.
There are three main types of lightbulbs: incandescent, fluorescent, and LED, so let’s take a closer look at each to help you find the best one for you.
Incandescent lights were extremely popular in the days of film. They are still used in the movie industry, but many countries outside the US have banned these styles of lights!
They have been banned due to the high amount of energy they waste.
These lightbulbs are still available to buy in the US. They come in a range of different wattages and prices, with some of the higher watts costing anywhere from $4,000!
Generally, the 300-500 watt bulbs are relatively inexpensive, making them a budget-friendly option.
The bulbs are a bright and clean light, and because of this, you only need one in your softbox compared to 4 or 5 LED’s to get the same level of brightness.
However, they get very hot due to the high wattage, so you need to be careful when using them. Incandescent bulbs do not last very long. Some of the larger 100w bulbs will give roughly 20 hours of light.
You will have noticed that there aren’t any of these light bulbs listed in our recommended products, and this is because although they are still available, they aren’t as easy to access, especially ones bright enough for photography these days.
Considering how inefficient energy-wise they are, you are better opting for fluorescent or LED lights.
Fluorescent light bulbs are more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs.
Fluorescent lights used to be known for a cool, greenish light (I know, I get horror movie vibes too!), but now you can find ones balanced for daylight use in the home or a photo studio.
They offer a bright light that can be diffused easily to provide a lower contrast. It is often worth adjusting the white balance settings with fluorescent light bulbs, either creating a custom setting or using the fluorescent white balance setting.
Be sure to adjust this as the color temperature varies depending on whether the bulb is daylight-balanced or not.
LED bulbs are quickly becoming a firm favorite with photographers, and it’s no wonder why! They are affordable compared to other bulbs and last a long time, providing excellent money value.
Unlike incandescent bulbs, they don’t get hot when used, so that you can handle these better. They also use very little energy, making them very efficient.
The bulbs provide a bright and clean light great for taking photographs. However, they are not as bright as other bulbs, so you may need to use 4 in a softbox to get the desired amount of light.
You can also purchase LED lights in panel-style or battery-operated portable LED lights that can be an option depending on your needs. As we are talking all things bulbs here, we won’t go into too much detail on those!
For those of you who may want to know more about LED lights, be sure to check out our article on the best-LED lights for photography here:
When making any purchase, whether it’s for your hobby or career, it’s worth considering how long it will last.
Bulbs, by their very nature, will, of course, need to be replaced at some point. When it needs to be replaced will depend on a few factors.
The lifetime should be listed on the product description to give you a good indicator of how long the bulb will last. This will depend on your usage as well. For example, if the light is on daily, 100 hours of use will be flown through!
The price of lightbulbs can vary depending on the brand and what type of lighting you are after. The price can vary depending on the wattage as well, with higher watt bulbs usually costing a lot more.
It’s important to set a clear budget before you begin your search and stick to the budget as best as possible.
When setting a budget, it’s worth considering how often you will be taking photos and how often the bulbs may need replacing. For example, if you are going to use these every day for work, it’s probably worth looking at more efficient and economical bulbs such as LED bulbs.
Consider as well what you want from your bulbs when setting a budget. Do you want brightness as a priority and are willing to pay extra for it? These little factors should help you set a clear budget with ease.
Frequently Asked Questions
Feeling a little unsure?
Check out our FAQ section to put those concerns to bed!
What are photography lightbulbs?
Photography lightbulbs are bulbs that are designed to produce better quality light for your photographs.
The bulbs aren’t always listed as photography bulbs and can be used in household fixtures and fittings, or greenhouses, due to the higher amount of light they provide.
Generally speaking, these bulbs will provide bright light to enhance your photographs, whether you are taking general snaps around the house or using them in a studio setting.
What’s the difference between daylight and regular bulbs?
Daylight bulbs mimic the natural daylight that you would experience outside or trickle in through your windows.
It is done through color temperature, measured in kelvins (K). Daylight bulbs start with a higher color temperature of 4600K and range up to 6500K. With the sun’s color temperature sitting at 5600K, you can purchase bulbs hotter than the sun!
These are brighter than ordinary bulbs and can add brightness to a room or enhance your picture quality.
Those after bright bulbs for photography should consider daylight bulbs as these will deliver natural light to your photographs that we are always after!
What is CRI?
CRI, or color rendering index, measures the light with how it affects a color’s appearance. This can also depend on the ‘temperature’ of the light.
A higher CRI will provide the most accurate color portrayal not only in your home but in photographs too.
Lower CRI will make colors appear unnatural, which is not ideal when you are taking photographs. You may have noticed this before, how in lower light settings, colors appear different than they do in the daylight.
This color change is due to CRI.
Measured from 0-100, at the bottom of the scale are your warm white lights, moving to cool white, and daylight. You may have noticed the CRI number on the bulbs we have selected.
Generally, 80-85 was listed, providing a high-quality daylight color, which you will want to take the best photographs.
Last Updated on 2021-03-20 //Source: Affiliate Affiliates