Are you a photographer who wants to work with LED lights during photo shoots? How are they different from traditional halogen and fluorescent lights? What are some things you need to keep in mind when using LEDs? In this video, Abba Shapiro compares LED lights with traditional halogen and fluorescent lights.
- Now there are a variety of continuous lights that you can use when working with photography. There's a traditional tungsten light. You can see that over here. This type of light's been used for over a hundred years. It's the kind of, it's a bulb that you would put in. Almost like the bulbs that you have in your house, except a lot more intense. And they come in a variety of types of of incandescent lights. There's tungsten, there's halogen. There's a variety of lights that you can use. There's also fluorescent lights. And, fluorescent lights can give you a different quality of light.
And it has benefits and challenges. And finally, LED's. These are all constant or continuous lights. Now, at first blush, some of these lights look very similar. As a matter of fact, this tungsten light, and this LED light, they look very similar. And, that's not an issue. As a matter of fact, the fixtures are irrelevant to the type of light that's inside those fixtures. So let's look at some of the challenges and benefits of these different types of continuous lights. The tungsten light, they're also called hot lights, and they're called hot lights for a reason.
Because, they generate a lot of heat. They're not a very efficient light. If you use these lights, you have challenges of your room heating up. They generally use a lot more power. It's rare that they will run off batteries, you usually have to plug them into a wall. But, on the benefits, is that they are less expensive. The light bulbs are replaceable. Usually the fixtures are fairly durable. So, this is a very popular light that you're gonna see. And as a matter of fact, this has been used in the film and video industry for years.
But the heat and the power draw is the challenge. And, these get so hot that you usually need gloves to adjust say the barn doors. Or, you have to turn them off and let them cool before you can actually work with them. Another type of light that's very popular, are fluorescent lights. Now these aren't the fluorescent lights that you would go to the hardware store and buy. Professional lighting fluorescent lights give a flicker-free light at a certain color temperature. And we're gonna look at color temperature in another lesson. But basically whether you're shooting inside, you may get a fluorescent light that's rated at 3200 degrees, or more golden to match the interior light.
Or you may get fluorescent lights that are rated for outside, or daylight, where they're 5600 degrees. The challenges with a fluorescent light is that you have to let them warm up to reach the right color temperature. They're a little more fragile, so if this fell over, it's likely that a bulb could break, so you always have to carry spare bulbs and you have to be very careful with these. And, they don't put out that much light, and it's a very soft light. So if you're looking to focus your light.
If you really want to create dramatic lighting, they're not the right light for the job. However, if you do want a nice soft light, and you want to get a nice flood, they're a great light to use. And then we get to the LEDs. Now, LEDs are becoming a lot more versatile as time goes on. Originally, there was basically a flat panel. Well as you can see, there are still flat panels that give you a certain quality of light. Here we have an LED, where it's inside a fixture that's very similar to our incandescent light, and in this case you can actually focus this.
You can use the barn doors, to be able to flag off your light. So even though the source is an LED, there's a variety of fixtures that these LEDs can be placed in, that can give you a lot of control over your lights. One of the great things about LEDs, is they're practically indestructible. Now don't go out and try to break one, because yes you can, but generally if you knock a light over, it's not going to break. And what would break wouldn't be the LEDs. It might be the housing or the unit. The other thing is, they rarely, if ever, burn out.
You'll see ratings of LEDs that say 50 thousand hours, 100 thousand hours. So, once you have an LED light, the odds are, it's going to last a lot longer than say a fluorescent or incandescent. As a matter of fact, an incandescent bulb has a certain life that eventually it will burn out. So you always have to keep spare bulbs with you. So that's just an idea of the different types of continuous lightings that you may come across. And, definitely each one of these do serve a specific purpose.
The incandescents can be much brighter. So you can shoot with them much more like you would probably use a strobe. So you don't have to worry about your ISO and your shutter speed as much. The flourescents can give you a nice soft light, if you're looking for that. And the LEDs are very convenient because the odds are you're not gonna break them if you knock them around. They burn the least amount of power of the three, so you can run them off of batteries. And they come in a variety of fixtures, so you can control the light the way that you want.
In this course, photographer and educator Abba Shapiro details the why and how behind using LED panels and other continuous lighting sources for photography. He covers the pros and cons of shooting with continuous LED lights, reviews the different types of LED lights, explains how to tackle portraits and product photography with LEDs, and shows how to work with LEDs when you're outside.
- The pros and cons of LED lighting
- Reviewing key terms
- The types of LED lights
- Shaping and controlling LED lights
- Shooting portraits
- Shooting product photography
- Working with LEDs outside