Great photography depends on great light. While we’re huge fans of natural light, relying on diffused window light or the sun itself at the exact moment you need it isn’t a good solution when you’re dealing with a paying client, a busy celebrity, or a cone of melting ice cream.
If you’re looking to purchase a great light or flash for the photographer in your life (or maybe even yourself), check out our list of go-to’s below.
Reflectors – Prices vary
Reflectors are light, compact, simple to use, don’t require any batteries and are very affordable. They can make a big difference when you need some extra light and many of them can be used in five, six or even ten different ways.
Recommended by adventure sports photographer Jody MacDonald.
A good headlight can be a lifesaver. This versatile “10-in-1” flashlight offers 8 different brightness settings, 2 strobe frequencies and up to 2300 lumens. It gets bonus points because it’s known to work in temperatures as low as -50°F and is USB rechargeable. Bonus points because you can take it out when camping or even walking the dog.
Recommended by nature and documentary photographer Tiina Törmänen.
Compatible with Nikon, Canon, Olympus and Pentax, these amazing radio triggers have a range of up to 700 feet and can be used for portable flash units, as well as strobe.
Recommended by editorial photographer Salgu Wissmath.
Neewer Dimmable Bi-Color 660 LED – $139.99
As the name implies, this video light features 660 individual LED lights (330 yellow and 330 white), enabling you to adjust color temperature depending on your needs. Plus, it’s super functional because of its convenient u-mount bracket and built-in diffusion screen.
Recommended by portrait photographer Yannis Davy Guibinga.
Rotolight NEO 2 LED Light – $299.99
With continuous light and flash modes, the NEO 2 is perfect when it comes to providing supplemental light when in the field. Bonus points because it doesn’t have any recycle time, so you don’t have to worry about missing your shot.
Recommended by landscape and nature photographer Ian Plant.
Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT – $499.00
A fan favorite because of its power and reliability, the 600EX II-RT has full-frame coverage with a powerful guide number of 197′ at ISO 100 and 200mm. The unit can also tilt from -7 to +90° and rotate 180° either left or right for complete bounce capabilities.
Recommended by documentary photographer Amy Lombard.
Profoto A1 – $795.00
One of the most highly recommended items for photographers in 2019, the Profoto A1 seems to be everyone’s favorite flash. It’s definitely on the pricey end, but don’t let that deter you. It’s portable, reliable and uses a rechargeable and exchangeable Li-Ion battery so you don’t have the waste those precious AAs.
Check out The Photographer’s Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for even more gift ideas. Inside, you’ll find recommendations from 27 pro photographers including Pete Souza, Shannon Wild and Henry Do. Plus exclusive staff picks from PhotoShelter and our partner, Feature Shoot.
NOTE: None of the links above are affiliate links. PhotoShelter makes no money from these recommendations. This post is only intended to provide gift ideas and holiday cheer. If you have lighting equipment you’d like to recommend, we’d love to grow this list in the comments below!