Your choice of equipment for photography can make a significant difference to the results. Therefore, it is important to spend some time weighing up the options and finding the best product for you. Lighting is an important element of photographic equipment, and there are lots of options available. One option that is becoming increasingly popular due to its many advantages is LED lighting for photography. Here is a review of some of the best LED lights for photography along with a buying guide that highlights some of the key considerations to make when deciding which products to buy.
The 11 Best LED Lights for Photography
You will find that there is plenty of choices if you prefer LED lights for photography. The following are reviews of some of the best on the market now.
This ring lighting kit is suitable for people in a variety of professions, including photographers, make-up artists, and filmmakers. The kit includes a 14-inch LED ring light, a 6.2-feet reverse folding light stand, a ball head hot shoe adaptor, a cell phone clip holder, instructions, and a carry bag. It is great for people who shoot in different locations, because it is lightweight, easy to assemble, and has a carry case for easy transportation. The ring light has 40W power and is dimmable in a range of one percent to 100 percent, making it one of the best options in terms of brightness adjustability. The color temperature is also adjustable within a range of 3200K and 5600K, and the light features SMD LED bulbs that offer long-lasting performance and energy-efficiency.
• Excellent Adjustability– A great range of brightness and color temperature adjustability.
• Easily transportable– Easy to put up and take down. It is also lightweight and comes with a carry case or convenient transportation.
• Versatile– Suitable for photography, filmmaking, and even as lighting for applying makeup.
• Weak stands– Customer reviews suggest that the stands are great at first, but they then become weak after a few uses.
• Poor fit of stands in the carry bag– Some people have said they have struggled to pack the stand into the carry bag provided.
The lights in this kit have an unusual and compact design that may appeal to many people. Rather than being on a panel or in a ring, these lights are positioned into a strip with an aluminum casing. This design means that they are compact and easy to transport and store. Its unique design also means that it produces a soft light and accurate color temperature to enhance skin and achieve clear photographs. You can use this kit for both indoors and outdoors photography, as it is equally suitable for both.
• Versatile– You can use these lights for many different types of photography, both indoors and outdoors.
• Unique design– This is an interesting option because of its unique design, but the design creates the perfect light for many types of photography.
• Adjustable height– The light stands mean that you can adjust the height so that the light is directed where you want it for the shot.
• Long-lasting– The lights can last for up to 10,000 hours.
• Some weak spots– Although the lights are great, the wire insulation is too thin, and the stands are unstable.
In terms of portability, this is one of the best LED lights for photography. It is a pocket-sized and lightweight light that you can pop into the corner of your kit bag to use on a shot in any location. Once at the location, you can mount the lights anywhere using the built-in magnet. Despite the small size, this is a powerful light that produces 1000 lumen, or LUX:400 at one meter. It is also CRI 90. While it creates a great light or photography in a studio, you can also use it for outdoor shoots. It is waterproof to 30 feet and has a tough rubber housing. Two of the best features of the light are that it has a USB port for recharging and a wireless control to adjust the various features of the light. Furthermore, this is an affordable option for those on a budget. The kit includes two silicon gels for diffusion.
• Fantastic adjustability– Many aspects of the lighting are adjustable, such as the brightness, strobe mode, and flash duration. The features are controlled using a wireless control.
• Transportability– Lightweight and compact design that is easy to transport and built-in magnets for mounting anywhere.
• Durable– This is a tough and powerful light that has a durable rubber mounting that makes this a waterproof light.
• Not drone compatible– A list of devices that this product is compatible with is listed and this includes drones. However, those who have used it with drones say the magnet interferes with the drone, so it is not suitable.
• Short battery life– Reports of how long the rechargeable battery lasts are varied, but most say it lasts for under one hour.
Included in this kit are two high output tabletop portable LED continuous photography lights with stands, two orange color gel filters, and two white gel filters. The 15W LED continuous lighting delivers true and natural colors as it has a CRO of over 90 and the lights are daylight balanced 5500K and give 1000 lumens of light. The stand to which the lights are fixed are adjustable to a maximum height of 11-inches and the angle is adjustable to 180 degrees. These lights are ideal for lighting small-to-medium-sized objects in a studio setting as it offers soft, wrap-around lighting. At under $30, these are some of the cheapest LED lights for photography.
• Compact design– The compact design means that this lighting kit will not take up a lot of space in your photography equipment bag.
• Retractable bracket– The retractable brackets mean you can switch from tabletop use to handheld use.
• Strong light– Despite the compact design, they are a powerful light source.
• Not suitable for outdoor photography– This is not the best product to choose for outdoor photography, but this is not an issue if you only shoot in a studio or other indoor settings.
Ideal for shooting in small places, this camera light is something that you can use at any time and in any place. It distributes light around a small space and the colors and light adapt to various photographic environments. You can also easily adjust the color temperature for various shooting scenes within a range of 2500K and 8500K. The cameral light has a built-in lithium battery and includes a micro USB charging port. At only 108 grams, this is a lightweight option.
• Easy to use– Simplicity is a key feature of this camera light. It has a simple power button and the mode button allows you to adjust various aspects of the lighting.
• LCD panel– The built-in LCD panel allows you to easily view the battery power, color temperature, and brightness.
• Adjustability– The adjustable features of this light mean that it is versatile in terms of the environments in which you can use it.
• Not suitable for larger shoots– If you are shooting in a large outdoor space or a big studio with lots of people, then this is not the best option as it is intended for use in smaller spaces.
Aimed at the professional end of the market, this is the most expensive light included in these reviews. However, the quality and features of this panel light make it worth the cost. The panel light has 384 LED lamp beads, including five colors o lamp beads that have different color values. It offers 20,000 frames shooting with no strobe. It is controlled via an app that you download to your smartphone, and you can adjust the brightness, color temperature, saturation, and hue using this app. The light is made using high-quality materials and advanced technology. For example, the casing is made from aerospace-grade aluminum that is lightweight yet durable and it has a surface stripe design that supports heat dissipation. Barn doors are supplied, and using these will produce beam scattering. There is also a white LED light diffuser that softens harsher lights. This versatile product is suitable for both photography and videography, and you can attach it to a light stand or position it on a desk or table. It has dual power options as it comes with a power adaptor or you can operate it with lithium batteries, although batteries are not supplied.
• App control– Easy to control the color, brightness, hue, and saturation using the downloadable app.
• Great accessories– Comes with barn doors, a white light diffuser, a power adaptor, and a carrying bag.
• Durable materials– The materials used are high-quality and extremely durable, so you should get lots of use out of this product.
• Barn door design– The barn doors are only mediocre at shaping light because of the panel design.
• No batteries– Although it is a dual power product, no lithium batteries are included, so you must buy these separately if you wish to use the battery-operated option.
The panels of these lighting kits contain 192 LED bulbs that produce 45W high power output. It is possible to adjust the brightness between 20 percent and 100 percent. The color range is also separately adjustable between 3300K and 5600K. The design of the panels has four access keys for the lights. There are white filters that give better diffusion by providing a clean and even light. The kit includes a wireless control for the adjustable features and a digital display that is easy to read. There are dual power options for this light as you can use either a power adaptor or batteries. It comes with barn doors to direct the light. There is a bracket holder for mounting.
• Great adjustability– Several adjustable features are controlled using the wireless control and displayed on a digital display.
• Good accessories– It comes with barn doors and a carry case.
• Compact and lightweight– The panel is only 25 millimeters thick and the product weighs just 820 grams.
• Power supplies not included– Although it has dual power options, neither the power adaptor nor the batteries are included.
• No stand– The panel light has a bracket mount, but there is not a stand included with the kit.
A good option for both photography and YouTube live streaming, this is a lightweight and ultra-slim light. The ring light weighs just 802 grams and it is only 1.2-inches thick. This means that it is easy to transport and compact enough for convenient storage. The ring light contains 168 LEDs and you can easily adjust the brightness using the dimmable knob. You can also use the orange filter board to easily change the light color. This light is great for producing soft light because it is covered with a white plastic soft board and comes with an extra detachable soft light cloth. The kit comes with a light stand that is adjustable up to 63-inches so that you can get the perfect height for your lighting.
• Versatile– This lighting is equally suitable for both photography and videography.
• Easy adjustability– The dimmer knob and orange filter board allow you to adjust the brightness and color of your lighting.
• Compact and lightweight– This is lightweight enough for easy transportation and the compact design means it is convenient to store away when it is not in use.
• Flimsy stands– The stands are not very sturdy, so you may need to weigh them down to prevent them from falling over.
• Low CRI– The low CRI means it is better for shots that require a soft light as the light is not very bright.
This kit includes two studio 5500K LED light bulbs, two zeniths 30-inches light stands, two mini-cirrus light heads, a 15-inch Morning Glory softbox, and a diffuser. It is intended for use in the studio with the lights positioned on the tabletops. The kit has a compact and lightweight design that is easy to transport between the studio and a location for different shooting sessions. The Morning Glory softbox is one of the best features o the kit as it can change the radius, intensity, and direction of the light. This gives you a variety of lighting applications that you can control. It is unlikely that you will damage the kit during transportation as it has a durable build.
• Easy Assembly– This is one of the easiest LED lighting kits for photography to assemble, and it takes just 30 seconds to fold back down for storage.
• Durable– This is a durable kit that is made from quality materials. It has a premium polyamide construction with a durable double-layered socket. It is constructed using one-piece unibody manufacturing and has a cross-section reinforced backing. Similarly, the stands are made from die-cast steel.
• Versatile– The softbox design has several adjustable features that make this a versatile option.
• Flimsiness-Despite the good quality materials, some photographers have found these a little flimsy.
• Weak tension knobs– The tension knobs are a weak spot of the design as they are made from a cheap-looking plastic.
Two sets of lights are included in this kit, with each of the lights offering 600 lumens, 90+ CRI, and 12 LED. They give high output o 5500K, which eliminates superfluous shadows and gives and even color temperature and great clarity. The kit includes two gel filters to adjust the color temperature. The lamp heads are fitted to a small, tabletop stand, and the lamp heads are adjustable to 180 degrees as well as moving up and down so that you can angle the light direction. Included with the two lamps on stands are two orange color gel filters and two blue color gel filters. These lights are great for photographing smaller objects.
• Adjustability– 180-degree adjustable lamp heads and filters for color temperature adjustment.
• Low cost– At under $20, these are a great option for those on a budget.
• Compact design– These small lights have a retractable bracket so that you can fold the stand into its base for easy storage.
• Not enough light– You can only really use these if they are close to the subject as they do not throw off the light very well.
• Difficulties adjusting– Although there are adjustable features, some users say they found it difficult to make the adjustments to what they needed.
Included in this kit are two softboxes, three energy-efficient bulbs, a rotatable head, and an adjustable light stand. The softboxes soften the light stream and remove shadows from your shot. They each have a silver internal face that minimizes the loss of light while also maximizing the light spread. The bulbs are compact fluorescent spiral bulbs that create the perfect photographic environment. Although you will only need two bulbs for the lights, a third is added to the kit as a reserve. You can position the height and angle of the light perfectly, thanks to the adjustable light stand and the head that is rotatable by 210 degrees. The light stands fold down to just 27-inches for easy transportation and compact storage.
• Intense light– The light is intense because of the high-quality stone embossed reflective fabric.
• Adjustability– The adjustability of the height and angle means that you can direct light into the perfect position for your shot.
• Great portability– It is ideal if you shoot photographs in many locations because it is lightweight, easy to set up, and folds down for compact storage.
• Poor bulb fittings– Some customers have complained that it is tricky to screw the bulbs in and even more difficult to unscrew them again.
• Narrow stand base– The design of the light stand means that they are top-heavy when the lights are added and have a very narrow base.
A Buying Guide for LED Lighting for Photography
With so many options available, it is important to know some of the key features that differentiate the products so that you can make the best decision.
Types of lights
The first thing you need to think about is the type of LED lights for photography you should buy.
• The three main types are ring, panel, and battery-operated. Each of these has pros and cons and is suitable for different types of photography.
• Ring lights are one of the most popular options among photographers, and these are best for portrait and macro photography.
• Panel lights are usually used for studio photography and they are often set up in a three-point lighting system.
• Battery-operated LED lights are a great option if your photography takes place outdoors. You may wish to include several types of light in your photography lighting kit.
Also known as luminance, the output is how much light is thrown out, and this is usually measured in lux or LM. The following are points to consider:
• More lights do not necessarily mean greater output. Sometimes, there are lots of bulbs, but they are very weak and poor quality. This means they give off very little light.
• Compare the output of various lights before buying them.
• Generally, the higher the output, the better the lights.
Color Rendering Index
Color rendering index (CRAI) is a measurement of how accurately color is reproduced with the light.tp give you a gauge of that numbers, the sun had a CRI of 100. Some useful tips are:
• The best you will get in LED lights is 95 to 98 CRI.
• Even if you have a limited budget, you should get at least 85 CRI.
• Try to get the highest CRI you can from what is available within your budget.
Color temperature is one of the most important elements of your LED lighting in photography.
• The three options are daylight, tungsten, and bicolor.
• Bicolor lights include half daylight and half tungsten, so they can produce both types of light that you can combine or use separately.
• When you only use one-half of the lights, half the brightness is always lost. Therefore, you might prefer to buy a daylight LED light and use gels or filters if you need to create a warmer light.
Some LED lights come with accessories and features that you might find useful or that can enhance your photography in some way. Some possible features and accessories include:
• Battery level indicator
• Bicolor channel selection
• LCD screen
• Barn doors
• A dimmer
• A mount or door head
For many people, price is a significant factor in their purchase decisions. Concerning the price of LED lights for photography, think about the following:
• Sometimes the more you spend, the better the quality of the LED lights. This is because the bulbs and casing are often better quality in more expensive lights.
• Quality is not the only factor that can impact on price. Other factors include the brand, the type of light, the size of the lights, and any additional features. Therefore, you can sometimes get LED lights that are fantastic quality even though they are a cheaper option.
• Buying online is a good option because products are often cheaper, and you can easily compare the different options.
Some Other Considerations
There are also some other things that you should possibly consider, including:
• Edge color distortion- This refers to the color that appears on the outer ring of light. Unfortunately, you cannot tell whether the light has edge color distortion from reading the specifications. To avoid buying a light with edge color distortion, stay clear of cheap LED lights and those with a low CRI value. Instead, opt for high CRI lights and you should avoid the problem.
• Beam Angle- This determines whether the light is harsh or soft. Spot type LEDs give a narrower beam that is similar to a spotlight rather than a flood o light. A floodlight gives you a flood of dispersed light, but this means a lot of the light is lost. If you are only buying one, then choose a spot type light as you can always use a diffuser if you need to disperse the light.
LED Lights for Photography- The Final Verdict
There are plenty o LED lights for photography on the market, and each of these has its pros and cons. Which you choose might depend on the type of photography, your budget, and your personal preferences. The overall best LED light for photography is the GVM 50RS RGB Video Light Full Color Output CR197+ APP Control 3200K-5600K LED Continuous Video Light Kit. Although this is the most expensive option, it is a professional-standard product that has the best features and the most adjustability options.
For those on a budget, one of the best cheap LED lights for photography is the Hakutatz 2 Sets LED Portable Continuous Photography Lighting Lamp Light with Stand Kit. This low-cost option provides a strong light, despite being compact and lightweight. These lights have some excellent features, and the only downside is that they are not intended for outdoor use.