Dynalite Roadmax location light kits In a variety of combinations, each kit offers heads, umbrellas, stands, and a case. Starting at about $1,925, they're expensive, but for such features as the built-in PocketWizard receiver for wireless triggering and unusual AC-powered accessory battery, the Dynalite XP1100 ($1,436) may make them worth the price for some.
SP-Systems Excalibur Lancerlight 320 monolight kit ($395, street) Anyone who wants to try battery-powered location lighting on a budget should consider this bargain-priced kit. It offers a 320 Ws strobe head and reflector, lightstand, battery pack, charger, and all the cords.
Manfrotto AutoPole 2 kit ($380, street) Our favorite background support can handle up to three cored backdrops, allowing you to raise and lower them via color-coded pull chains-no stepladder required.
Westcott's rentable backdrops ($49 per week, direct; www.rentscenicbackgrounds.com) They're easy to hang from your AutoPoles, or, less expensively, on 3M adhesive hooks via built-in grommets. With over a hundred to choose from, they range from realism to fantasy to abstractions. If you develop a special fondness for one, buy it for between $120 and $150.
MicroSync Digital Radio Slave kit ($190, street) Once you've tripped over a PC cord a few times, you'll see the point of wireless strobe triggering systems. One of the most novice-friendly is the MicroSync Digital, thanks to its favorable pricing and compact proportions. The smallest radio transmitter there is, it will fire strobe at distances up to 100 feet and free you from that trip-wire otherwise known as the PC cord.
Lastolite EzyBalance gray card ($49, street) Depending on the color and reflectivity of your subject and the color temperature and consistency of the light source, setting an accurate white balance in-camera can be tricky. The best hedge is including a white balance target in one shot per lighting setup. Light and collapsible, Lastolite's EzyBalance offers a washable white surface for custom white balancing, and a gray side for finetuning white balance later in software.