video light for photography

review: Litepanels Sola 4 LED Fresnel Light - (model: Ulorin Vex)

The dramatic look that video lights lend to photographs, is a regularly explored topic on Tangents. I also cover the use of video light in my book Direction and Quality of Light.

The video lights that I have been favoring, are the Lowel ID-Light (vendor), but like other halogen video lights, it tends to run hot. LED video lights, such as the Litepanels Croma LED video light (vendor), also tend to be under-powered for some uses. And since video lights tend to be small light sources, their light is quite contrasty. So there are some limitations.

So when I got to try out the Litepanels Sola 4 LED Fresnel Lights (vendor), I was quite keen. Especially because the arrival of these lights coincided with one of my favorite models, Ulorin Vex, visiting the East Coast for a few weeks. Ulorin Vex’s dramatic style and clothing would be very well suited to this kind of lighting.

Also check out the behind the scenes video clip about this 3-part photo session.

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After Dark Photography Education – St Louis, MO – 2013

Anyone who regularly followed the Tangents blog during the past year or so, will know that I’ve raved about the After Dark events that I attended (and presented at). In my opinion, After Dark is the best (and most fun) learning experience that I’ve encountered.

If you want more details about After Dark:
- After Dark Edu website for more info
- After Dark on Facebook, if you want to closely follow discussions

The one After Dark event that was announced for 2013, was held in St Louis. As before, I did several presentations and I’d like to show some of the images that I shot while here.

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review: Litepanels Croma LED video light

For one of the mini-workshops in Las Vegas, I used a Litepanels Croma LED video light (vendor). This photo of our model, Gwen, shows the typically dramatic light from a video light. The pronounced light fall off can work to our advantage.

What sets this hand-held / on-camera LED video light apart from most, is that you can vary the color temperature. I have, and still use, the Litepanels MicroPro (vendor). I prefer the MicroPro over many of the cheaper LED lights that I have seen because the WB is daylight, without a nasty color cast.

Litepanels Croma LED video light (vendor), goes even better. You can vary the WB between 3200K and 5600K by dialing a knob. No more need for a gel to be clipped in and out. The gel (or lack of gel) would mean a specific WB with the LitePanels Pro. With the variable adjustment of the Litepanels Croma, you have every color balance setting inbetween. For this photo at the top, we were at 3200K, but I changed the WB to 3300K in post-processing.

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photography: determining the exposure when adding video light

In response to the article on how to shoot romantic wedding portraits, using video light, someone asked about exposure metering with the video light.

“Much in the same vein as using flash, do you establish the ambient exposure first (to your taste) and then add the video light to expose ‘correctly’ for your subject? How do you meter for this video light and therefore adjust the light power to the right level? By chimping on test shots?”

While this would certainly be a correct way of doing it, the practical way of doing it, (for me at least), is slightly different. I simply add the video light to the ambient light …

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photography: video light and daylight

With the recent lighting workshop in New York, we again played with the use of video light … and then took it out to the street. The blue-ish tones of the shady side of the building here, contrasted beautifully with the warm glow of the video light.

As with the article, gelling your flash to get a blue background, this is something that can work very well when we use light sources with different color balance, thereby attaining those complementary colors. The rapid fall-off in light also helped give the photograph a dramatic quality.

The photo above is a crop of the actual image which is also a pull-back shot then to show where the light was positioned:

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photography composition – finding the other angles

At the same photo shoot-out that the stunning Film Noir Fight Scene came out of, I again worked with a model, Jill. Her hairstyle and dress were strongly reminiscent of the flapper era. It therefore just suited a more dramatic and sexy pose and styling. And of course, dramatic lighting.

For off-the-cuff / on-the-fly dramatic lighting, a video light is hard to beat.

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wedding photography: bride & groom portraits with video light

For that dramatic Hollywood look, a video light is probably the easiest light to use, especially when there is the need to work fast like on a wedding day. With Alli & Scott’s engagement photo session, I knew I’d be working with a couple that would easily go along with any ideas that we’d come up with. We worked indoors at the Temple Israel in Long Island, New York, and there were all kinds of interesting nooks to explore.

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video clip – using LED video light for photography

Regular visitors to the this website will know that I favor video lights for dramatic portraits. The what-you-see-is-what-you-get nature of it, makes it really easy to get interesting light on your subjects. But it does need some finessing in how you position it for portraits.

Meeting up with Anelisa, one of my favorite models, Jessica and I created this video clip to show exactly how I use the video light for portraits. It also explains my starting point in choosing the direction of light, and also shows how I direct Anelisa during the shoot.

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using a gelled LED video light for a change in color balance (model: Rebekah)

Continuing with the theme of combining dramatically different color balances in a single image, there is this striking portrait of Rebekah. She is one of our models at the workshop at Treehaven, WI, this week. Working in the fading evening light, I had Rebekah pose somewhere in the middle of a large clump of trees. I knelt down so that I could shoot up and catch the last remnants of the evening sky as the background.

The blue light filtering through the trees was then exaggerated by using an LED video light with the deep Amber gel on it. LED video lights are balanced for daylight, so the light from them is quite ‘cold’ compared to Incandescent light. By now using the specific gels that are supplied with it, you can change the color balance of the video light to match Incandescent / Tungsten light. It is normal to work with the Amber gel to shift the LED video light towards the warm spectrum of Incadescent light.

In photographing our model here, I wanted to use the warm light from the Amber-gelled LED video light to create a big jump between that and the color of our background light. (I specifically didn’t want to use the LED video light as daylight-balanced light source.) This now caused the blue-ish tones of the evening light to go to a much deeper shade of blue. The rapid fall-off in the light from the video light, gave that typical spot-light effect. This really accentuated her face.

The pull-back shots reveal just how big a jump it really was in the color between our surroundings and the video light …

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using video light as fill-light for the romantic wedding portraits

Having just photographed my first wedding of 2011, I’m back in the groove of things. Keeping to the recent theme of showing how video lights are used for photography, I’d like to show a small selection of images of Cherryl and Jim’s wedding where I used a video light to enhance the existing incandescent lighting at the reception venue …

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