Hi, my name is Richard Wong, and I’m a wedding photographer based in New Zealand. When I’m not out shooting, I do a lot of product photography at home, and another photography topic I enjoy is toy photography. Despite having many lights of different sizes and power, I found myself using my small Spiffy Gear KYU-6 lights regularly. They are easily one of my favorite lights when I’m doing product photography and toy photography. But why? The KYU-6s are certainly not my most expensive or most powerful lights! So let me tell you why! The followings are the five biggest reasons why I love and use my Spiffy Gear KYU-6 so much.
KYU-6 is tiny
The great thing about toy photography and product photography is that you can do them at home without needing a lot of space. I do most of my toy photography in my room, and set up everything on my desk. Since my room is pretty small and I don’t have a huge desk, I prefer using smaller lights that I can place easily. Not having to set up too many light stands in my room is a big plus.
The super compact and low profile design of the Spiffy Gear KYU-6 means I can place them anywhere easily, and there are many ways you can do that. Spiffy Gear made a few different compact light stands/holders that I can simply place on my desk. There are magnets at the back of the KYU-6 to just stick it to any metal shelf, my boom arm, or any metal surface. There is also a hole at one side of the KYU-6 where you can tie a string to it and hang the light easily. So basically, I can place the KYU-6 virtually anywhere I want! Even in places where I usually can’t use my other lights (either because of insufficient space or because it may obstruct the scene), I can still fit a KYU-6. This just gives me a lot more flexibility on how I can light up my scene!
KYU is unusual
Unlike most of my LED lights that are usually a square or rectangle shape light panel, the Spiffy Gear KYU-6 has a long strap shape. When I place the KYU-6 close to my subject, it generates some long soft light that wraps around it. This is something not easily achievable by other lights with similar surface area. Because of the long strap design, rotating the light by 90 degrees would change the light pattern dramatically. However, I can create different lighting effects with a single KYU-6 by just turning it 45 degrees or sideways. Once again, more flexibility on how I can light up my scene!
KYU-6 has just the right control
Most lights in the market give you almost infinite adjustments, but the KYU-6 is exactly the opposite. For example, with most LED lights, you can adjust the power output at 1% increments. But with KYU-6, you only have five levels of brightness. You may think it must be a downside, but it is actually one of the big reasons why I like to use the KYU-6.
When setting up the lighting for my scene, I honestly have never felt I need to make super-fine adjustments. 1% or even 5% output adjustment is a bit of an overkill. I usually adjust my lights in 10% to 20% brightness steps, so anything else is just taking more time! The beauty of having less adjustment is that it is a lot faster and easier to change settings. In addition, there are only three buttons on the KYU-6, and there is no complicated menu system. Any settings you want are literally just a few clicks away.
KYU-6 is photogenic
When doing toy or product photography, I would usually try to hide my lights, so they are not visible in the photos. However, with the KYU-6, I would purposely make them visible in my photo and make them part of my scene. Light up a KYU-6, and the long strip light looks gorgeous! I often place the KYU-6 next to my product when doing product photography or create some cool background effect when doing toy photography.
KYU-6 is my frontline warrior
Many of my toy photography sessions involve various practical effects — water, sand, fog, powder, etc. I’ll try anything that I can think of to spray and spread around. I try using different materials to create various practical effects for my photos.
While my Lego and action figures don’t mind me spraying water or throwing sand onto them, my lights are different. I usually have to be very careful if any lights are placed close to my scene. Any spill can accidentally kill them. But since the Spiffy Gear KYU-6 are splash-proof, I never have to worry about that at all. Because of that, they are usually my frontline lights and end up completely soaked in water or covered in mud without any complaints. When I am done, I just give it a quick rinse under the water tap, wipe it dry, and put them back in my drawer until my next photoshoot
So here are the five biggest reasons why I love using my KYU-6 to do product and toy photography. Do you do product or toy photography and use KYU-6? Let me know if you have any tricks you want to share with me!