Last Updated on March 21, 2021
Whether you are shooting on location or in the studio, LED lighting can provide accurate color and high levels of lighting brightness at a lower cost to strobe light.
LED technology has continuously improved to the point where it is a great lighting option for any professional photographer.
Pros Of LED Lighting
As camera sensors have improved at higher ISO’s the use of LED lights has grown. If you want to take your photography lighting to the next level you need to understand LED’s role in creating incredible image quality.
LED’s provide a continuous light source which is ideal for all types of photography. You get a real time look at how your images will look when photographed.
LED lights also allow you to more easily meter your scene than you can with a flash. You are also not hampered by shutter syncing.
The lightweight and easy to use LED light is perfect for travel and often costs less than a traditional strobe.
They Are Versatile
You also get tremendous versatility as they are ideal for both still photography and videography. LED’s have grown in popularity in many genres of photography including fashion and portraiture.
This is particularly good news for those who shoot in both still and video. Often times in the past a photographer would have to use separate lights for the video and still shots which led to an imbalance in lighting. That is no longer the case thanks to LED lights.
LED’s Are Cool to the Touch
Unlike tungsten lights, LED’s are cool to the touch and this is tremendously beneficial. When shooting live subjects, you can get your lights up close without casting heat on your subjects. This means your subjects will remain comfortable which is ideal for longer photo shoots.
They also give off a softer light which eliminates skin glare. Because of this, LED’s have become the go to lighting source for any professional photographer working with skin.
Because they are cool you also eliminate the need to wait for your lights to cool down following a session. This is a huge time saver as you can break down and pack your gear as soon as you’re done shooting.
When shooting portraits with a strobe you will notice that models will blink often and even hold their breath in anticipation of the strobe firing. That get’s completely eliminated with an LED thanks to the continuous lighting.
LED lights allow your subjects to relax leading to more quality images in less time. You will also be able to capture more candid moments thanks to your subjects being more relaxed during the session.
Less Energy Requirements
An LED light requires far less energy to run than any other form of artificial photography lighting. This makes them ideal for location shoots. You will be able to run your LED’s much longer off battery power than any other source. This means you will likely not need to invest in a generator or deal with the noise one produces.
And if you are shooting plugged in, the lower energy needs means fewer blown fuses. Blowing a fuse in the middle of a session is incredibly time consuming, and annoying, and LED’s eliminate this problem.
Cons Of LED Lighting
While LED lighting offers tons of pros that make them an excellent investment, there are some limitations you must be aware of.
Many options on the market are still dimmer than HMI and tungsten lights. They just do not produce as much brightness. This means you will likely have to shoot at slower shutter speeds or a bigger aperture than you would with a strobe light.
And that means you will be forced to shoot with a tripod more often than you would with a strobe. ISO’s will probably need to be higher as well which means you won’t be able to freeze action shots as well.
LED lighting also falls off faster than strobes which means you will struggle more with illuminating a dark background. All this means that LED is limited in certain situations making them not your best lighting option. Capturing movement, video other than talking heads, and high end portraiture are still best lit with strobe lighting.
If you have been considering investing in LED photography lighting then rest assured there are many advantages that will help you improve your image quality. As long as you don’t need the brightest lighting possible then LED’s are going to provide you with the lowest cost, best performing lights you can invest in.