Are LED Photography Lights Better Than Traditional Studio Flash Lights? (2023)

As mentioned previously, and in the video, LED lights are nowhere near as powerful as studio lights. This is an important difference that will limit (and even dictate) what aperture, shutter speed and ISO you can use when shooting.

In short, studio flash offers the greatest versatility when making images, and therefore allows you a greater level of creativity.

As I demonstrate in the video, when shooting at 1/120th shutter speed, there was a nine-stop difference when using a flash light and continuous LED light. Essentially, this meant that I would need a four-second exposure to get the same amount of light from the LED light compared to the flash.

At 1/250th shutter speed that would be a 10-stop difference between an 800 joules studio flash and the 12000 lumens LED light tested here, which means the studio light was 512 times brighter. Alternatively, a 1600 joules studio flash light would be 1024 times brighter.

The additional power output offered by studio lights also makes them well suited to working outdoors, especially if you’re looking to achieve dramatic images with darker backgrounds.

By using smaller apertures like f22, you can cut out the ambient daylight but still clearly light your subject using flash (I demonstrate this technique in one of our environmental portrait classes, where I photographed a farrier outdoors).

However, similar results would be nearly impossible to achieve using LED lighting as they simply wouldn’t offer the power output required to light the subject and cut out the ambient lighting.

Can you use strobe and continuous lighting together?


Are LED Photography Lights Better Than Traditional Studio Flash Lights? ›

LED lights are more powerful and use less battery and run cool to the touch. They can be a great option if you're looking into a continuous lighting setup.

Are LED lights better for photography? ›

LED has become one of the most popular choices of continuous light for photography as they don't produce a lot of heat and closely replicate the feeling of natural light with their adjustable colour temperature.

What lighting is best for studio photography? ›

Monolights are the best lighting choice if you work in a photo studio or an inside location. On the other hand, Power-pack systems are perfect for outdoor locations since you don't need a power outlet. Monolights are the most common, probably because they're also cheaper.

Why are LED lights better than traditional lights? ›

Not only do LED holiday lights consume less electricity, they also have the following advantages: Safer: LEDs are much cooler than incandescent lights, reducing the risk of combustion or burnt fingers. Sturdier: LEDs are made with epoxy lenses, not glass, and are much more resistant to breakage.

Are LED lights better than regular lights? ›

LED lights outperform other forms of lighting in every area. They are more efficient in their use of electricity. They are cooler, don't waste energy as heat, and therefore safer. Thirdly, they last far longer than the alternatives.

Are LED lights bright enough? ›

Which type of light is brightest? When compared to other types of lighting product, LED lights are the most energy efficient and offer a brighter light for the same wattage. Good quality LED fixtures now output around 170 lumens per watt; a fluorescent puts out around 110.

What is the most useful light in photography? ›

Front Light (or Flat Light)

The light will be spread evenly across the photo, with no section more or less exposed than the rest. Flat light can be good for portraits, especially if your subject has wrinkles or blemishes that they want to de-emphasize.

Should you use flash for studio photography? ›

Flash is not a necessary component of a great portrait photography image. In fact, when used without intention or when used incorrectly, adding flash can have a negative effect on an image. It can destroy all of the interesting shadows in a scene, and it can even create an artificial, unnatural look to an image.

What is the best natural light for photo studio? ›

Even though the sun is bright, it's hard to control and has a very harsh appearance. So you might be asking, “How do I find good natural light for photography?” The best source of natural light is either the sunrise or sunset.

What is the best lighting for studio space? ›

With color temperatures ranging from 5,200 Kelvin to 6,400 Kelvin, sunlight is closer to blue. LED lights are typically the best option for art lighting thanks to their superior color rendering capabilities. These bulbs mimic the properties of sunlight, specifically CRI and light color temperature.

What are the disadvantages of LED lights? ›

Perhaps the biggest drawback of LED light bulbs is that they emit more blue light than incandescent bulbs, which are more on the red end of the spectrum. Blue light can cause a disruption in your circadian rhythm, negatively affect your ability to fall asleep and the quality of your sleep.

What is one advantage of LED lights over traditional light bulbs? ›

Benefits of LED Lighting. LED lights are energy-efficient, long-lasting, and emit less heat. They use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs, last up to 40 times longer, and offer high-quality light output.

What are the disadvantages of LED light bulbs? ›

Disadvantages of LED Bulbs

Most white LED bulbs emit a cooler, blue-tinted light — rather than the “warmer” glow that is associated with incandescent bulbs. Some people prefer “daylight” or “natural light” LED options. Some LED fixtures may create sharp shadows that may not be desirable in certain places in the home.

Is it worth upgrading to LED lights? ›

LED technology is the next best option to turning off a switch. Using up to 90% less energy than conventional halogen bulbs, LEDs are the best value lighting solution, saving energy and dramatically reducing your lighting bills.

Which is better LED or incandescent lights? ›

It is more energy-efficient than an incandescent as it wastes less energy by producing a low amount of heat. LED also emits light directionally instead of 360 degrees, which is what incandescent does; this saves energy because it is focused on a certain degree instead of creating more energy for the entire 360 degrees.

Are LED lights 100% efficient? ›

Efficiency of LED Lights

This process is called electroluminescence. This is much more efficient, as nearly 100% of the emitted energy from an LED source is useable visible light. Due to varying energy use, LED traffic lights are known to last approximately 10 times longer than incandescent traffic lights.

How much brighter is LED than incandescent? ›

The old technology of tungsten incandescent bulbs only had an efficacy of about 15 lumens/watt. Depending on the bulb and the manufacturer, LED technology typically produces 75-110 lumens/watt. So, LEDs are generally about 7 times more efficient at producing light than incandescent bulbs.

Why are my LED lights barely lighting up? ›

The reasons for this can vary considerably from the power source to the bulb itself. Reasons often include a faulty power supply, loose connections, a faulty circuit design, or even damage due to water ingress caused by rain.

What is the best color for studio lighting? ›

Generally, you want to use bulbs and flashes/strobes with true white light. Usually this is labeled as “photography toned bulb”. True white light will not cause any sort of color cast. You won't get the blue or green of a fluorescent or the orange of a warm light.

Do pro photographers use flash? ›

Flash lights are often used by professional photographers because it is highly portable for on-location or outdoor shoots, in which the lighting conditions are often not ideal. Even where there is enough daylight, flash lights can be used to create artistic effects.

What kind of flash do you use for photography? ›

The dedicated flash is preferred over the Built-in/Pop-up flash for many reasons, but one of the best is that you can avoid red-eye by angling the flash and bouncing the light onto your subject. In addition, many dedicated flashes pre-flash to get your subject's pupils to constrict and avoid red-eye.

Do real estate photographers use flash? ›

One of the necessary parts of real estate photography is using flash. This is something that every beginning photographer should learn. This is definitely handy in real estate.

Should I use studio light or natural light? ›

If you're shooting outdoors, natural light is the obvious choice. But if you're shooting indoors, studio lighting can be a better option, especially if you need to control the light source. With a little bit of practice, you can create some amazing video footage with studio lighting.

What are the two types of studio lighting that photographers most commonly use? ›

The lights in a studio will either be continuous lighting (always lighting up your subject) or strobe (where it goes off at the press of a button).

What is the difference between studio light and natural light? ›

In an artificially-lit studio, there will be a source of light at any hour of the day. In a natural lighting scenario, whether indoors or outdoors, lighting conditions vary with weather and time of day.

Are LED studio lights good? ›

If you're looking for lighting equipment that can last long and doesn't use up a lot of energy, then LED studio lights are what you need. Unlike the standard tungsten with 20 per cent efficiency when using power, LED lighting converts 80 per cent of the same energy into light.

How many lumens do I need for studio lighting? ›

The general lumen recommendation is 30.000 lumen, however this ultimately depends on studio size. Wherever possible use lux measurements over lumens. Lux provides a much more accurate and realistic image of how much light is needed, and how much light is necessary to produce a good image.

What are the four elements of studio lighting? ›

(or Direction, Intensity, Softness, and Color) model in mind when crafting a scene. These four elements of lighting will always come into play no matter what or how you're filming.

When not to use LED? ›

Enclosed fixtures that don't allow for proper ventilation can drastically affect the temperature of the LED bulb, causing it to overheat and shortening the lifespan of the bulb. That's why some bulbs will tell you not to use it in an enclosed ceiling fan or fully enclosed porch light fixture.

How long do LED lights last? ›

One of the biggest advantages of LED light fixtures, is their extended lifespan. While incandescent light bulbs were built to last around 1,000 hours, the most enduring LED light fixtures have been tested to last as long as 100,000 hours. On average LED light bulbs will not have to be changed for at least 20 years.

What are two advantages of an LED over an ordinary filament lamp? ›

LEDs have longer life as compared to incandescent lamps. LED require low operational voltage and less power as compared to incandescent lamps. LEDs also have fast on-off switching capabilities.

Do LED lights have health benefits? ›

LEDs decrease stress and anxiety.

Because of its ability to mimic the mood effects and circadian impact of natural light, LED lighting has been associated with decreased levels of stress and anxiety in indoor environments.

Do LED lights get hot? ›

Yes, new technology LED lighting can and will get hot, but when compared to the lighting of the past, temperatures are much safer. The heat from the lighting will also warm your surrounding environment but in comparison to old incandescent lighting, this ambient heat is greatly reduced when using LED lighting.

Are LED lights safe to leave on? ›

Well-made LED lights can be left on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They last extremely long and are relatively safe due to their very low chance of overheating. On average, LED bulbs last between 35,000 and 50,000 hours.

What are the safest light bulbs to use? ›

However, high quality LEDs are the safest light bulbs available. Most manufacturers have stopped making glass LED bulbs and opt for plastic or acrylic instead, so they're less prone to shattering and less likely to harm you if broken.

Why should we switch to LED lights? ›

LED lighting provides a huge financial advantage over incandescent, fluorescent, and halogen lighting by being far more energy efficient, and because LEDs last longer, you'll lower maintenance costs and disposal fees. LEDs outclass the competition when it comes to durability.

Does LED lights increase electric bill? ›

Lighting accounts for around 15% of an average home's electricity use, and the average household saves about $225 in energy costs per year by using LED lighting. if you are still using incandescent light bulbs, switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills.

Why are LED lights becoming more popular? ›

LED Lights Are Energy Efficient

The primary reason that LED lights are becoming increasingly popular is that they consume considerably less energy. So far, LED Lights are the most energy-efficient lighting source that has been created in recent years.

Which is not an advantage of LED? ›

Temperature dependence: LED performance largely depends on the ambient temperature of the operating environment. Over-driving the LED in high ambient temperatures may result in overheating of the LED package, eventually leading to device failure.

What are the two disadvantages of LED compared to LCD? ›

Disadvantages of LED

The higher the screen-size, the more it will cost. LED has a limited range of wide viewing angles. LED is tough to repair when damaged. The repair cost is high because LED parts are costly and tough to find according to the suitable product model.

What are blue LEDs used for? ›

Blue LEDs are currently used for Indoor lighting and outdoor lighting, solar-based lighting applications and electronic gadgets like TVs, computers and m2obile phones.

What is the difference between LED and traditional lighting? ›

LEDs use much less energy than incandescent bulbs because diode light is much more efficient, power-wise, than filament light. LED bulbs use more than 75% less energy than incandescent lighting. At low power levels, the difference is even larger.

What is the healthiest type of lighting? ›

We suggest using incandescent or halogen bulbs throughout the day + night if you're after a greater sense of well-being. Also - unlike most harshly flickering LED or fluorescent bulbs - incandescents (and color-correct halogens like Chromalux®) will also be the healthiest type of light for your eyes!

Is there a downside to LED lights? ›

Perhaps the biggest drawback of LED light bulbs is that they emit more blue light than incandescent bulbs, which are more on the red end of the spectrum. Blue light can cause a disruption in your circadian rhythm, negatively affect your ability to fall asleep and the quality of your sleep.

What color LED light is best for pictures? ›

Kelvin (K) is a unit to describe the colour temperature of the light. 2700-3000K is a soft warm light and suitable if you would like a healthy glow for photography and not make up application. 3500K-4100K is a neutral white light and its good for photography.

Do LED lights interfere with cameras? ›

Compared to incandescent lights, LEDs produce bright beams that illuminate the area. Since the light beams are concentrated, they do not interfere with your security cameras.

Are LED lights good for portrait photography? ›

The biggest and most immediate advantage of using LEDs is that you will always see where and how the light is falling on the subject, making it easier to figure out exactly how to place things and at what power to get the best shot.

Where should you not use LED lights? ›

Enclosed fixtures that don't allow for proper ventilation can drastically affect the temperature of the LED bulb, causing it to overheat and shortening the lifespan of the bulb. That's why some bulbs will tell you not to use it in an enclosed ceiling fan or fully enclosed porch light fixture.

What fails on a LED light? ›

There are a number of basic reasons for LED lights to fail but the primary issue is heat. Over-heating can be a result of a number of design and assembly issues but is still the cause of the majority of LED lamp failures – both in the fitting themselves and also the drivers.

What is the best light for indoor photography? ›

Use natural light as opposed to artificial. If it is possible, set your scene or subject up next to a window or in a well-lit room with a sky light. The natural light will soften your images and shadows. Using a sheer white curtain over the window can help to soften the light, as well.

What to look for when buying photography lights? ›

Below is a list of different features that must be considered when buying photography equipment.
  • Types of Equipment. ...
  • Type of Light Source. ...
  • Wattage. ...
  • Temperature of the Light Source. ...
  • Light Intensity. ...
  • Recharge/Recycling Time.

What color light do photographers use? ›

Generally, you want to use bulbs and flashes/strobes with true white light. Usually this is labeled as “photography toned bulb”. True white light will not cause any sort of color cast. You won't get the blue or green of a fluorescent or the orange of a warm light.

Do LED lights damage photographs? ›

LED lamps that provide good or excellent light do not cause extra damage to objects.

How do you make LED lights look good on camera? ›

Look on your camera for the mode called “Shutter Priority Mode” or “Tv” or “S” mode on your camera. This will allow the correct amount of light to be let in to the camera lens to be able to handle the brightness of an LED sign. If this mode still doesn't work for you, try putting it in “Manual Mode” or “M”.

What kind of light will block a camera? ›

If you point IR lights or illuminators directly to security cameras, cameras can't catch any image during the nighttime. But remember that too strong IR lights also cause damage to cameras. Blind Security Cameras with LEDs--It sounds like a useful way to disable security cameras with a LED hat or flashlight.

What light is best for shooting portraits? ›

What is the best lighting for portrait photography? Outdoor portrait photography is usually done with either golden-hour lighting or cloudy, diffused lighting. Indoor photography can be done with window light, but studio portrait photographers often use diffused light to create a soft, flattering look.

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