Taking photos—whether with your smartphone or your fancy DSLR camera—is all about lighting. The better the light, and the more control you have over it, the better your photos will be. If you want to improve your pictures without spending a ton, these lighting accessories can give you a lot more options.
One of the cheapest and easiest ways to get extra light on your subject is with one of these portable LED lights. It can attach to the camera mount on top of your DSLR or you can place it on a tripod. On the back you’ll find a dial that lets you adjust the color temperature of the lights. This can help you match the lighting to the sources you already have. For indoor lighting, you might want something cooler (which, ironically, is more orange), and to match outdoor lighting, you can turn the dial up to a warmer (or more blue) color. The kit comes with red, green, and blue color filters so you add a little bit of color to your scene relatively easily.
A slightly more expensive version of the LED panel, this version includes an array of RGB LEDs, which gives you a lot more color options. In addition to being able to adjust color temperature, you can pick from the visible spectrum to highlight your subjects with a color that will make your scene pop. Like the previous model, this one’s battery powered, and can be used on a DSLR, or attached to a stand on its own.
Ring lights are a special kind of light that attach to the edge of your camera. This gives you an advantage when shooting portraits or anything involving a person’s face looking directly at the camera. In addition to lighting the person’s face from all angles, you get a neat catch light on your subject’s eyes. Depending on your camera, you may need to get one that fits your specific model, like this one for many Canon or Nikon cameras, or you can find clip on cameras like this one that attach to most smartphones.
For bigger shoots, you might want more lights than you can reasonably attach to your camera. For that, a full lighting kit like this one might serve your needs. It comes with two adjustable tripods, two LED panels, and color temperature filters. You can move or adjust these as needed around your subject. If you’d prefer to bring your own lights (like the RGB panels mentioned above), you can roll your own kit with lighting stands like these from AmazonBasics.
Sometimes the natural light you have around you is sufficient, but just not going where you want it. In those cases, you can use reflectors like these from Neewer. In sunlight, you can use these to bounce light onto your subjects face to fill in shadows, or block out light to dim a subject. They’re extremely versatile, cheap, and best of all you can use them with any camera set up.