Lighting is an important element of photography, regardless of whether you are a professional photographer or you enjoy photography as a hobby. There are four main types of lighting used for photography; fluorescent, tungsten, strobe, and LED. There are pros and cons to each of these, and some are better suited to certain types of photography than others. Here, you can learn more about LED lights for photography, including the pros and cons of these lights and how you can use them in multiple ways for different types of photography.
The Advantages of LED Lighting for Photography
It is important to compare the pros and cons of any type of lighting before deciding which to choose. There are many benefits to choosing LED lighting for photography, and some of these include:
• High efficiency– Compared to incandescent lights, LED bulbs are more efficient and use less power. This means that they can produce a higher number of lumens than halogen bulbs and they are up to 80 percent cheaper to run.
• Low heat output– They have a low heat output, which means they use less energy. In comparison, incandescent lights use 90 percent of their power on heat output, which is a waste of energy.
• Lifespan– LED lights have a longer lifespan than other types of lights, and this saves on costs and maintenance in the future.
• Faster warm-up and switching times– An LED light warms up much faster than a fluorescent light. Similarly, they have a faster switching time than on-off cycles are less likely to damage.
• Rugged– You do not have to worry about breaking glass or filaments.
• Continuous lighting– LED lighting gives continuous lighting so that you can study the scene before taking your photographs. This makes it easy to decide how best to take your photographs to achieve the results you want.
• Compatibility– A final advantage of using LED lighting is that it is compatible with all types of devices. You can use them to take photographs with your digital camera or even your smartphone.
The Disadvantages of Photographic LED Lighting
Like all types of lighting for photography, there are also some disadvantages of LED lighting. Some of these include:
• Color– Occasionally, the light cast by LED lighting is unattractive and does not lend itself to getting the best photographs. This is most likely to happen if you use several LED lights from different brands.
• Flickering– Cheaper LED lighting sometimes begins to flicker when it is getting towards the end of its lifespan.
• Weaker casing– Plastic casing is usually used with LED lighting rather than the metal used on other types of lighting. This is weaker and flimsier.
• Not as bright– In most cases, LED lighting is not as bright as other lighting options. However, this is sometimes preferable for some shots. Also, the brightness of LED lighting has improved significantly over the years.
Advancements in LED Lighting in Photography
Although LED lighting was first introduced in the 1960s, it wasn’t widely used at that time. It has become increasingly popular and is now the top choice for videography and filmmaking. Once, it was not as popular for photography as some of the disadvantages of this type of lighting meant that it was an inferior choice. However, there have been huge advancements in the technology of LED lighting that has resolved many of the issues, especially in terms of the brightness of this lighting. This means that the pros of LED lighting for photography now far outweigh the cons. Therefore, it has become one of the most popular options amongst professional photographers.
LED Lighting in Different Positions
LED lighting is suitable for use in various positions. You can use it as the key light, the fill light, or the backlight. Similarly, you can use multiple LED lights together if you are using a two-light system or a three-point lighting system. However, it is important to note that this works best if all your lighting equipment is the same brand and uses the same LED lights. Otherwise, it can cause issues with the color and quality of the photographs.
LED Lighting for Portrait Photography
One of the most common uses of LED lighting in photography is for portrait photography, as it is particularly well suited to this type of photography. One of the main benefits of using LED lights for portrait photography is that they provide a continuous source of light. This is an advantage as strobe lighting can make it difficult to plan your shot and anticipate the results in advance. When you use LED lighting, you can plan your shot and predict how your photographs will look.
LED Lighting for Studio Photography
While studios are often the setting for portrait photography, many other types of photography usually take place within a studio. LED lighting is a good option for any type of indoor photography that takes place within a studio setting, such as food photography or product photography.
LED Lighting for Flash Photography
A less common use of LED lighting is flash photography. This is because they were once not suitable for flash photography at all and, even after advancements, they were an inferior option. However, there are now some top brands that have produced LED lighting that is capable of flash photography. Although there are still some issues, there are also some advantages. For example, they keep a subject’s eyes dilated and the light all emanates from the same space, so your previews are accurate. Therefore, LED lighting for flash photography is now a viable option.
LED Lighting for Outdoor Photography
Not only can you use LED lighting for various types of indoor and studio photography, but you can also use it for outdoor shoots. It is best suited for photography in the late afternoon or at night as the natural sunlight will not overpower the LED lighting at these times. However, LED lighting is not a good option for shots in bright sunlight. If the sunlight is very bright, then strobe or speed light are better options for photography.
LED Lighting for Photography- The Final Verdict
As with any type of lighting, there are pros and cons to choosing LED lighting for photography. You should consider the type of photography you usually do, and then assess the advantages and disadvantages of choosing photographic LED lighting. Overall, the pros of using LED lighting for photography far outweigh the cons. Continued advancements in LED lighting technology mean that the downsides are gradually being eliminated, and this is increasing the ways in which you can use this form of lighting. You can use LED lighting in various positions and in multiple ways to achieve fantastic results in your photography, regardless of whether you are an amateur or a professional.