Using video lights for photography
In addition to using various speedlights and flashguns, I also use video lights as additional lighting with stills photography. Using an incandescent video light in a scenario where tungsten light is the dominant source of light, helps in achieving a more natural look. Video light is also a continuous light source, making immediate changes to the lighting intuitive – what you see is how it will appear. A video light is an interesting and exciting lighting tool to use. Most video lights are compact enough to easily find a place in your camera bag.
Since a video light is a small light source (compared to a flash with a softbox or umbrella), it will lend a more dramatic look to portraits. It has a specific aesthetic, and coupled with the direct intuitive way the light can be used, a video light can add more variety to your portraits.
The counter-point to this is, that since the video light is usually a small light source, you have to be very specific about the position of the light in relation to your subject, and your subject’s pose. Generally, we want to make sure our subject’s eyes aren’t shrouded, or unflattering and harsh shadows across their face.
Below this tutorial on how to use video light, you will see a few links to other articles on how to use video light for photography.
Articles on the use of video light in photography
- Bounce flash vs video light (model: Shawna)
- Video light vs bounce flash (model: Crystal)
- Video tutorial on using an LED video light
- Posing and lighting – aiming for a consistent style (Nicole & Brad)
- Positioning the hand-held video light (model: Anelisa)
- Lighting ideas for the romantic wedding portraits
- Bride & groom portraits with video light (Allison & Scott)
- Exposure metering when using video light (Amy & Clark)
- Use light & lighting to add impact to your photos (Grace & Joseph)
- Using video light for dramatic portraits (model: Sasha)
- Using video light for macro detail photos at weddings
- Video light for the romantic portraits of the bride and groom (Julia & Louis)
- Romantic wedding portraits with video light (Tatiana & Brandon)
- Photo shoot: haunted fashion (using video lights) (model: Anna)
- Combining video light and daylight (model: Anelisa)
Check out the blog category for video lighting for stills photography for other related articles.
The video lights I use
There’s a variety of video lights available on the market.
The Litepanels Croma LED video light – it is compact; doesn’t run hot and works off AA batteries. The color balance can be continuously changed from Incandescent WB to Daylight WB.
The other video light I use is a system based around the Lowel ID-Light. I use the Lowel ID-light with the XLR power connector. Other options are available. The Lowel ID-light is fairly powerful as these lights tend to go. The system includes barndoors and diffusers to manipulate the light.
- Lowel ID-Light 100 Watt Focus Flood
- Bescor MM-9 XLRNC battery – of course you would need a battery to power the light.
- Lowel Handle and Stud-Link – a more comfortable way to hold the hot video light..
- Lowel Complete Four-Leaf Barndoor Set – to flag the video light – ie, control the way the video light spills.
- spare 100W bulbs – just in case!
next section: Flash photography tips
Video tutorials to help you with flash photography
If you like learning by seeing best, then these video tutorials will help you with understanding flash photography techniques and concepts. While not quite hands-on, this is as close as we can get to personal instruction. Check out these and other video tutorials and online photography workshops.
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