During the past year I've spent money on various lighting options including reflectors, continuous lighting, speedlights and now studio lighting. Each purchase has been intended to be a cheap option to avoid the need to buy expensive studio lighting, but I've come to the conclusion that you get what you pay for when it comes to lighting.
My problem has been that speedlights don't give you anything to focus on in the dark and continuous lighting just isn't bright enough to correctly expose a background for the seamless shots I want to do. A couple of months ago I found a review of various studio lighting kits which included Elinchrom, Lastolite, Bowens, Proline Apollo and Lencarta (Click here for the review). Whilst most of the other kits are higher quality, the conclusion was "as a hobbyist looking to save money then the outstanding Lencarta Smartflash kit is hard to beat". That was good enough for me, so I decided to go for it.
I was originally going to keep costs down as much as possible an go for the basic two head kit, but when I noticed I could get two 60x60 softboxes for an extra £40 I decided I'd be daft to pass up the saving. I added a 16 channel wireless trigger to the order as well, as my cheap eBay wireless trigger set I use with my speedlights is incredibly unreliable. I set the kit up over Christmas and my girlfriend agreed to model for me, despite how cold the garage is at this time of year, she's a star!
The nice surprise with this lighting is that the infrared trigger will also fire my speedlights when they're set to slave mode, so I can now have a 4 light setup if I ever manage to make room!