10 Best Light Stands for Photography Pros, Beginners, And Indie Filmmakers

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Best Light Stands For Photography Pros, Beginners, And Indie Filmmakers
Best Light Stands For Photography Pros, Beginners, And Indie Filmmakers

Which light stand is best for you? It’s a simple question until you find out that there is an overwhelming number of options on the market. From the type of light stand, the accessories, and the metal types– we have everything covered in detail to present the best light stand for all occasions.

Regardless of whether you’re a budding photography expert, an indie filmmaker, or a professional photographer, this article consists of the best product roundup and tips on how to pick the right one for you.

In case you’re new and know nothing about what factors really matter, our detailed buyers’ guide should help you accordingly.

Does Choosing the Right Light Stand Matter?

Lighting can make or break the quality of your photos or videos. If you use the wrong stand, you could have problems achieving the ideal lighting. Not to mention the possibility that you’ll run into inconvenience when transporting if you’re an on-the-go photographer.

Those are just examples of why you need to pick the right light stand to ensure you’re not wasting your money. You must also ensure that your lighting equipment is held safely in place.

10 Best Light Stands for Pros, Beginners, and Filmmakers

1. Westcott 18″ Bi-Color LED Ring Light Kit with Batteries and Stand

Best All-in-One Light Stand for Aspiring Professionals

Westcott 18” Bi Color Led Ring Light Kit With Batteries And Stand

Specs:

Maximum Load Capacity: N/A | Maximum Height: Up to 78.0″ | Item Weight: 11.1 lbs. (5.0 kg) | Material: Aluminum, Plastic, Steel | Light Stand Type: All-in-one telescoping light stand | Air-Cushioned?: No

Pros
  • Durable build
  • Has everything you need
  • Perfect for traveling professionals
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Tailored for advanced users

If you’re an aspiring or professional photographer or filmmaker, you know that lighting is vital. That is why Westcott’s 18″ bi-color LED ring light kit is the perfect all-in-one package. On top of having a very reasonable price, it comes with everything you need and more.

This package includes an 18″ bi-color LED right light with built-in diffusion to get the perfect shots from any angles. It also includes a Li-Ion battery and an AC adapter so you can achieve excellent lighting, anytime, anywhere.

This bundle is suitable for aspiring photographers and filmmakers and is widely considered the best all-in-one light stand for all consumers. Everything you would need is included in one package:

  • 1x 18-inch ring light that features two color options
  • 1x ring light AC adapter
  • 2x NP-750 battery
  • 1x NP-750 battery charger
  • 1x ring light power cord
  • 1x ring light gooseneck arm
  • 1x ring swivel mount
  • 1x ring light mobile device mount
  • 1x 6.5 ft ring light stand
  • 1x ring light travel case

The package is also flexible enough to accommodate mobile phones, cameras, and other capture devices. In total, the stand can hold up to 5.5 lbs or 2.5 kg in weight (ring light weight included).

In case you already have your lighting equipment, and all you need is a dedicated light stand, the next product should give you outstanding performance without spending too much.

2. Westcott Lightweight Light Stand (13′)

Best Light Stand for Photographers and Filmmakers

Westcott Lightweight Light Stand (13')

Specs:

Maximum Load Capacity: 5.4 lbs. (2.4 kg) | Maximum Height: Up to 156″ | Item Weight: 5.4 lbs (2.4 kg) | Material: Durable, lightweight aluminum | Light Stand Type: Telescopic design featuring metal collars | Air-Cushioned?: No

Pros
  • Really high max height
  • Very durable build
  • Wider footprint for added stability
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Expensive

Very durable, super high max height, and lightweight, you can’t complain about what the Westcott light stand (13′) can offer.

Compared to other options in our list, this stand has a total of four segments, which extend to reach a whopping 156″ in height. Most people would worry about how the equipment is kept safe at that height, but this stand is built with integrity. It has a 2x thicker gauge than the rest of its competition on top of having a double-wall construction to ensure that it won’t easily break when used daily.

Plus, the stand is also designed to have a wider footprint for a more stable setup. You’ll also find a knob lock mechanism at the base to help it stay in place and not wobble. The four-segment sections also use the same reliable knob lock mechanism.

This light stand folds to the dimensions of 47.5″ x 35″ x 3″ when collapsed. Considering its total height of 156″, you can expect it to look small even when collapsed.

Because it can hold your lighting equipment so high, it had to sacrifice its maximum load weight. However, a max load capacity of 6.6 lbs is still surprising for something that extends over 150″.

This light stand is a worthy investment if you’re looking for something to abuse every day. Considering every feature we’ve covered, you will never go wrong with this option.

3. Ravelli ABS Photo Video Backdrop Stand Kit with Dual Air Cushion Stands

Flexible Light Stand That Can Also Be Used as a Backdrop

Ravelli Abs Photo Video Backdrop Stand Kit With Dual Air Cushion Stands

Specs:

Maximum Load Capacity: 4.5 lbs (2 kg) | Maximum Height: Up to 120″ | Item Weight: 20.1 lbs (9.1 kg) | Material: Aluminum construction | Light Stand Type: Air-cushioned light stands | Air-Cushioned?: Yes

Pros
  • Air-cushioned
  • Comes with a carry bag
  • Large lock knob
  • Great for professional-level use
Cons
  • Expensive

If you’re a professional photographer or videographer looking for a flexible stand that can be used to hold a backdrop, this product is an investment worth considering.

Right off the bat, it is air-cushioned to ensure safety when making adjustments. On top of that, the build quality of this stand is excellent. You can quickly tell how everything feels more durable than mid-range and budget alternatives.

Due to how well-built the entire stand is, it can support up to 4.5 lbs or 2 kg. Moreover, since it has an amplified wide footprint, you can rely on this thing to be stable. Although we still recommend using sandbags just to add a little security. I can’t imagine how it would just fall over by accident unless someone is reckless enough or if there’s a strong gust of wind.

The lock mechanism on the body segments isn’t as convenient as the flip locks mechanism but is more secure. The top of the light stand features a spigot with an ingenious flip-over mechanism that allows for both 3/8″ and 1/4″ screw thread, capable of accommodating various lighting and camera accessories.

This light stand also features a crossbar sturdy crossbar. It goes on top of the spigot with a 3″ overlap section to ensure a robust setup. Locking the crossbar doesn’t require too much effort as it only requires a quarter turn to keep the sections locked together. All in all, assemble and disassemble is very straightforward.

This stand comes with a case that’s as excellent as the rest of the equipment. The material is made from a heavy Cordura-like nylon canvas and comes with sewn-in sleeve pockets to accommodate the stands. It also has an elastic loop to make sure the crossbar sections are held safely.

Overall, the Ravelli light stand is perfect for professionals looking for a versatile option that can be used as both a stand and a backdrop.

4. LimoStudio 10 ft Two-Way Tripod Boom Light Stand for Photo Photography Video Studio

Professional-Level Light Stand for Photography and Video Studio

Limostudio 10 Ft Two Way Tripod Boom Light Stand For Photo Photography Video Studio

Specs:

Maximum Load Capacity: N/A | Maximum Height: Up to 88.8″ | Item Weight: 1.8 lbs (0.8 kg) | Material: Synthetic Nylon | Light Stand Type: Standard telescoping light stand | Air-Cushioned?: No

Pros
  • Easy to set up
  • Perfect for mid-level professionals
  • Very flexible design
Cons
  • You cannot take out the armbar
  • Not compact

The LimoStudio 10 ft two-way tripod boom light stand is made for professional-level photographers and videographers looking to achieve on-point lighting on a budget.

If you’re looking for something you can carry around, this stand isn’t for you. However, if you’re looking to maximize your studio’s lighting potential, this alternative is excellent.

Its design is intended for users who plan to use umbrella lighting setups and other intermediate- to pro-level lighting equipment. Compared to the average light stand, it comes with an armbar that extends from 33 to 60 inches. On top of that, the stand itself also extends to up to 10.25 ft or 123 inches.

Since you can adjust the armbar, you have the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments to get the perfect lighting angle. Since it’s durable enough to hold umbrella lighting equipment, you can guarantee that it’s made to last longer than the average light stand.

Note that it isn’t made entirely of metal, it is lightweight, so it shouldn’t give you the feeling of using a pro-level light stand. If that’s the case, we recommend opting for our pick if you’re going to use a full strobe with a modifier. This stand isn’t suited for professional-level use even though it comes with sandbags to balance the scale.

Word of caution: you should not take the armbar out and use the standalone light stand as it’s not intended that way. The spigot is placed at the arm bar’s tip, where lighting equipment is meant to be installed.

Ideally, you’ll want to invest in this type of light stand if you’re looking for something you can set up in a professional studio environment on a budget. With it, you’ll surely get high-quality lighting output since it comes with everything you need, from the armbar to the clamp.

5. Westcott Lightweight Light Stand (7′)

Best Ultra-Portable Light Stand

Westcott Lightweight Light Stand (7')

Specs:

Maximum Load Capacity: 2.5 lbs. (1.1 kg) | Item weight: 2.5 lbs (1.1 kg) | Maximum Height: Up to 86.3″ | Material: Aluminum | Light Stand Type: Compact telescoping light stand | Air-Cushioned?: No

Pros
  • Super compact design
  • Very lightweight
  • Center column is removable
Cons
  • Relatively expensive
  • Not air-cushioned

For photographers and videographers looking for a get-in-get-out light stand, Westcott’s 7′ lightweight light stand is a product to consider. Apart from being light at only 2.5 lbs or 1.1 kg, it comes with a design that lets it hold lighting equipment to as high as up to 86.3″.

Its base has a unique design that allows it to do two things in one: (1) to be as compact as possible when collapsed; and (2) to be able to hold its ground firmly even when fully extended.

The flip-upward collapse design significantly cuts the light stand’s length, making it easy to place in gear bags, backpacks, and small cases. It’s so compact when folded that you wouldn’t almost notice its existence when put alongside other lighting equipment.

This light stand’s base is so flexible you can set it up in two different orientations. You can set the stand’s tips to hold your lighting equipment in place or set it so that it sits at a 90-degree angle for a more stable setup at a wider footprint. Either way, it should hold your lighting equipment securely in place.

The spigot is made of brass, making it durable enough to take a beating for a couple of months. The knobs may be made of plastic, but you can tell they’re made of high-quality material that will last and hold the extended segments safely. Even though it’s not air-cushioned, you can count that it will not just slip accidentally.

Summing it all up, this stand is intended for intermediate users who frequently travel but don’t want to carry colossal lighting equipment. Due to its flexibility, you should be able to use it for various situations seamlessly.

6. Westcott Lightweight Light Stand (8′)

Compact Option With A Wide Footprint

Westcott Lightweight Light Stand (8')

Specs:

Maximum Load Capacity: 8.8 lbs (4 kg) | Maximum Height: Up to 92.0″ | Item Weight: 2.6 lbs (1.2 kg) | Material: Lightweight aluminum | Light Stand Type: Standard telescoping light stand | Air-Cushioned?: No

Pros
  • Has a higher maximum load capacity
  • Wider footprint for added stability
  • Lightweight but doesn’t fall easily
Cons
  • Internal components are known to be flimsy
  • Not air-cushioned

Westcott’s 8′ light stand is an excellent option for people looking for something that can do more than the previous lightweight entry on this list. At a glance, it features everything the Wescott 6.5′ has but does more entirely.

Compared to the Wescott 6.5′, the 8′ has a broader footprint and a higher maximum load capacity of up to 8.8 lbs or 4 kg. Aside from that, the height can go as high as up to 92.0″.

A handful of light stands don’t work as intended when set to the maximum height or just tips over easily. Because the 8′ has a broader footprint, tipping over shouldn’t be a problem as long as you don’t put anything over its maximum load capacity.

Traveling with this stand is more convenient than the Wescott 6.5′ since it only weighs 2.6 lbs than the 6.5′ model’s 3 lbs. But lighter material doesn’t mean it’s more flimsy because its segments are double-wall constructed. Moreover, it shouldn’t reflect as much light off to give you the best lighting output thanks to its black anodized finish.

Unfortunately, this stand isn’t air-cushioned. You will have to make sure the knobs are secure enough to avoid accidental slippage when the camera is fitted on to the aluminum spigot.

Note that this lightweight stand doesn’t have the flip-over collapse feature like Westcott’s 7′, which is why we don’t recommend it if you’re looking for an ultra-portable option.

Overall, this stand is intended to work phenomenally in your studio or an on-location setup. Since it falls somewhere between budget and mid-range category, expect a few flaws, most specifically in its internal parts, as it’s known to wear down easily, depending on usage.

7. LimoStudio Photo Studio 83″ Tall Lighting Reflector Arm Stand

The Perfect Budget Light Stand With Reflector

Limostudio Photo Studio 83 Tall Lighting Reflector Stand

Specs:

Maximum Load Capacity: N/A | Maximum Height: Up to 123″ | Item Weight: 5.5 lbs | Material: Premium heavy-duty aluminum alloy construction | Light Stand Type: Two-way tripod boom light stand | Air-Cushioned?: Yes

Pros
  • Air-cushioned feature
  • Affordable price
  • Comes with two sandbags as counterweight
Cons
  • A bit flimsy
  • Plastic parts

The LimoStudio Photo Studio 83″ lighting reflector arm stand is a highly-recommended product for people looking for a decent lighting reflector at a reasonable price. Since it falls under the budget category, we can expect flaws here and there, but what makes it worth considering is what it can do for its price.

To be honest, this reflector arm stand does feel flimsy and isn’t designed to take the beating of daily use. However, occasional shoots make it a worthy investment as it gets the job done when there’s a need for reflectors.

It’s also nice to see that the tripod is air-cushioned to keep it safe from accidental slippage when collapsing the stand. Since it features a secure lock mechanism instead of the flip lock, you can be sure it won’t just slip accidentally unless it’s bumped or a strong wind comes up.

You can tell that the base is not made of high-quality material and does not look sturdy, but surprisingly enough, it can support both the arm’s weight and the reflector just fine. Remember to use the sandbags in the right place because it’s not necessarily needed to have them placed at the opposite side of the arm as counterweights.

You see, there will be cases where sandbags work well if placed on the base instead of the other end of the arm to improve stability. Having the sandbags placed at the bottom keeps it from tipping over.

You can also rely on the clips to hold the reflector securely as they are remarkably sturdy. However, you have to make sure to place the clips in the right place because you might puncture the reflector accidentally.

Overall, the equipment is decent enough for its price and should provide the reflection you need.

8. CowboyStudio 9 ft Heavy-Duty Cushioned Premium Black Light Stand

Best Heavy-Duty Light Stand on a Budget

Cowboystudio 9 Ft Heavy Duty Cushioned Premium Black Light Stand

Specs:

Maximum Load Capacity: 16 lbs (7.2 kg) | Maximum Height: Up to 117″ | Item Weight: 3.7 lbs (1.6 kg) | Material: Aluminum alloy construction | Light Stand Type: Spring cushioned light stands | Air-Cushioned?: No, uses spring-cushion

Pros
  • Spring-cushioned
  • Very affordable
  • Built for heavy-duty use
Cons
  • Isn’t compact even when collapsed
  • Heavy

Are you planning to use heavy-duty lighting equipment but short on budget? With over 2,000 ratings on Amazon, the CowboyStudio 9 ft heavy-duty cushioned premium black light stand is an affordable option you should consider. 

If you compare this stand with other mid-grade heavy-duty alternatives, you can quickly tell that it falls behind in terms of performance. But when you take into consideration its price, it excels way beyond.

This light stand is made of aluminum alloy and has a spring-cushioned feature that keeps your lighting equipment from falling too hard in case of accidents. Since it’s not made of metal or steel, we don’t recommend that you constantly move it around. But if you’re just looking to use it in a studio, rest assured that it will deliver.

It can hold a maximum load of up to 16 lbs or 7.2 kg and can go as high as 117″. The lock mechanism employed is the knob type– a more secure type than the flip-lock mechanism. Since this light stand is designed for heavy usage, you can undoubtedly rely on it to hold your lighting equipment.

But it’s worth mentioning that the knob lock mechanism is made of plastic, so you might want to avoid overdoing your turns when locking the knobs to avoid breaking it.

This stand is also perfect for doing occasional personal projects. It performs so great that you will want to get a second one out of satisfaction.

Overall, it’s hard to find another heavy-duty light stand that’s as affordable. If you’re specifically looking for something that you can use occasionally, this stand should work outstandingly.

9. CowboyStudio Set of Two 7 ft Photography Light Stands With Cases

Best Budget Light Stand for On-The-Go Photography Beginners

Cowboystudio Set Of Two 7 Ft Photography Light Stands With Cases

Specs:

Maximum Load Capacity: 7 lbs (3.2 kg) | Maximum Height: Adjustable from 2″ 9″ 6″ 8′ | Material: Aluminum Alloy | Light Stand Type: Standard telescoping light stand | Air-Cushioned?: No

Pros
  • Good price
  • Great for starters
  • Easy to set up
Cons
  • Not built for heavy-duty usage
  • Not ideal for outdoor use

It’s unlikely you’ll find an affordable light stand that doesn’t just work for what it’s intended for but also comes with a case. If you’re a beginner looking for a budget option, this is a great product to consider.

This set from CowboyStudio includes two 7 ft light stands. Having two light stands allow you to place your lighting setups from two different angles. If you’re an on-the-go photography enthusiast or beginner, this package should help immensely. Plus, the case it comes with is a nice touch to make transportation and storage easy.

However, it’s important to note that these stands are ideal only for lightweight lighting setups. Don’t worry, though, because it’s made of aluminum alloy, which should be enough to hold anything lighter than 7 lbs or 3.2 kg.

Compared to more complicated light stands, this bundle is relatively easy to set up. When extending the height of the body segments, the lock mechanism can be easily accessed by flipping the switch. The entire body can extend up to 96″, but we don’t recommend doing this as it has the potential to tip over easily considering how lightweight this thing is.

Since these stands fall under the budget-friendly option, they feel flimsy, and the lock mechanism feels like it could break easily when you accidentally apply too much pressure. Considering how affordable they are, we can fully understand this flaw. If you’re more into outdoor shootings, consider placing them on stable ground as they could barely stay in place when set on an uneven surface.

As per its spigot, it has the standard quarter-inch one. Even though the spigot isn’t brass, it still works for starters and beginners. On the other hand, you can also use it for other purposes, such as speaker mounts.

Overall, worthy to be one of the best light stands. Construction is mostly made of metal, so you can surely rely on it for quite some time or until you can upgrade to a more durable light stand.

10. Westcott Lightweight Light Stand (6.5′)

Best Compact Budget Option for Traveling Photographers

Westcott Lightweight Light Stand (6.5')

Specs:

Maximum Load Capacity: 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg) | Item Weight: 3.0 lbs. (1.4 kg) | Maximum Height: Up to 78.0″ | Material: Aluminum, Plastic, Steel | Light Stand Type: Standard telescoping light stand | Air-Cushioned?: No

Pros
  • Compact design
  • Cost-effective
  • Durable knobs
  • Ideal for traveling photographers and videographers
Cons
  • Super lightweight, can easily tip-off

If you’re looking for a budget option that you can easily carry around, the 6.5′ light stand by Westcott is an excellent option. It is a very lightweight stand that only weighs 3.0 lbs or 1.4 kg, allowing you to travel with ease.

Compared to other budget options, this stand has a total of three body segments that extends up to 78″. Unlike its competitors, it shouldn’t tip off easily– thanks to the lock mechanism at the base of the stand. Even though it’s super light, you can still rely on it to hold its ground.

The thread is made of standard brass material, so you can use this stand to hold your lighting equipment and lightweight speakers. Even though it feels solid, the entire thing isn’t made of metal. The knob that secures the body segments are mostly made of plastic but has a more reliable design than the low-cost flip design.

This stand is supported by three arms that extend inwards and collapse easily for travel purposes.

With all that said, we recommend this product only to people who need a lightweight stand that can be set up and collapsed easily. Ideally, you want it to be set indoors if you’re going to extend the arms up.

Essential Factors To Consider When Buying Light Stands

Buying a light stand seems straightforward and easy until you find out that there are hundreds of options on the market. But don’t fret. With this buying guide, you’re sure to find which among our list is the perfect light stand for your needs.

Know the Different Types of Light Stand

There are plenty of types of light stands, but there are three popular types you’ll find on the market:

  • Standard Light Stand
  • Compact Light Stand
  • Air-Cushioned Light Stand

The standard light stand is the most common among the three. This type has a telescoping stand, three legs and is ideal for beginners. This stand isn’t intended to hold heavy-duty cameras, but it should hold ring lights and small lights.

Compact light stands are very similar to standard light stands but come with features intended to save space. Among the most popular features that these stands have include legs that fold over the top. If you’re an on-the-go photographer or videographer, you’d rather have compact light stands to make traveling a breeze.

You’ll want to get air-cushioned light stands if you’re planning to use heavy-duty lighting equipment. The air-cushioned design ensures the light equipment is held safely if the tension knob gives up for some reason or isn’t fastened tight enough.

Having this air-seal mechanic inside the tubes also keeps the lights from falling too hard should the tubes slip. If you’re going to use fragile modeling lights, this type is what you should get.

Always Mind the Weight

A stand can support limited weight. If you’re planning to attach something on top of the lighting equipment, you’ll want to have a rough idea of how heavy it weighs.

To be safe, it would be imperative that you check your lighting equipment’s maximum weight capacity. And always try to give some headroom between the load the maximum capacity of the stand.

Stability Is Just as Important

An unstable light stand could risk damaging your lighting equipment. So make sure you check the stand and see how well they’re constructed.

Check the Lock Mechanism

Aside from stability, the lock mechanism also is something you need to keep an eye on.

There are a handful of lock mechanism types, but there are two common ones you’ll usually find in the market:

  1. Flip-lock mechanism
  2. Knob-lock mechanism

Ideally, you’ll want to go with the knob-lock mechanism if you’re looking to use heavy-duty lighting equipment as this type offers a more secure fit. You’ll only want to get a flip-lock mechanism if the lighting equipment you’re going to use isn’t too heavy.

What Kind of Mount Does Your Lighting Equipment Need?

Each stand is fitted with its mount at the top, so it’s best you check that it corresponds with your light’s mounting accessories to avoid compatibility problems.

In most cases, these are made of brass material and are designed to take a beating. Most spigots are fitted with a quarter-inch thread, great for mono lights and umbrella brackets.

Know the Metal Type 

The spigot has to be brass as it’s designed to take a beating. It’s also supposed to show wear and tear lines.

The rest of the hardware that goes into the brass spigot (fasteners, screws, bolts, nuts) must be steel. The tubes should be made of aluminum or steel for more heavy-duty use.

Conclusion

That’s it– our list of the ten best light stands for photography pros, beginners, and indie filmmakers. Here’s a recap to give you a summary of the featured products:

  1. Get the Westcott 18″ Bi-Color LED Ring Light Kit with Batteries and Stand if you’re looking for an all-in-one option.
  2. We recommend the Westcott Lightweight Light Stand (13′) if you already have your lighting equipment and just need the best light stand.
  3. The Ravelli ABS Photo Video Backdrop Stand Kit is a flexible option that can also hold your backdrop.
  4. You’ll want the LimoStudio 10 ft Two Way Tripod Boom Light Stand if you want to invest in a stand that will help you get accurate lighting angles.
  5. If you’re looking for the most compact light stand, you’ll never go wrong with the Westcott Lightweight Light Stand (7′).
  6. The wide footprint of the Westcott Lightweight Light Stand (8′) allows a more secure setup without being too costly.
  7. You should get the LimoStudio Photo Studio 83″ Tall Lighting Reflector Arm Stand if you’re looking for an affordable reflector arm stand that performs well.
  8. You’ll never go wrong with the CowboyStudio 9 ft Heavy Duty Cushioned Premium Black Light Stand if you’re looking for the best heavy-duty budget light stand.
  9. The CowboyStudio Set of Two 7 ft Photography Light Stands with Cases is the perfect budget option for users looking to use only lightweight lighting setups.
  10. The Westcott Lightweight Light Stand (6.5′) is hands down the best budget light stand you can get your hands on.

Which among our list are you planning to get? Do you have any questions? We’ll be happy to help out in any way possible. Make sure to drop them in the comments!

 

JA Padilla is a writer and gamer by heart. Dedicated to helping people in both the gaming and tech industry, he spends his time writing informative, detailed how-to's, and in-depth guide articles since 2011.

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