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Thread: LED Lights

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    LED Lights

    I was in a local camera store yesterday and started talking to them about a small studio set up. This may still be a few months away for me, but I'd like to be able to take some better lit indoor photos of my baby niece and nephew. Even before I had told them that, they had been directing me more toward these LED set ups. After I had told them my intent, they mentioned that for babies it was even better as you don't have the heat of lamps or the bursts of light from a flash. He claimed the set up he was setting was calibrated to daylight color temp. A few searches that I did turned up some excellent photos and at least a few claims that models preferred the constant light as it gave them fewer headaches.

    I was wondering if anyone here used LED lights for photography and what you thought of them? I had been planning on buying another flash or two and focusing on light boxes/some sort of diffuser.

  2. #2
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    If I were you, I'd stick to flash.

    1) The power afforded by flashes will be welcome under far more circumstances.
    2) There are a variety of light modifiers made for flashes. Much more than LED lights, making flashes much more versatile tools.

    The only way LEDs trump flash is for video. Unless you're filming the babies, stick to flash. :-)

  3. #3
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
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    By the way, here are a few flash light modifiers that I use relatively often:

    Opteka 1/8 Flash Grid (they make a 1/4 grid too, though)

    Westcott Rapid Box 26" Octa Softbox (I caught this on sale - I'm glad I got it)

    Flash Gels from photogels.com

    Lumiquest SoftBox LTp with UltraStrap (I put a layer of tissue paper on the inside-front panel for even more diffusion)

    HonlPhoto Speed Strap (This is useful with the grids listed above and many other modifiers. Basically interchangeable with the Lumiquest Ultra Strap but larger)

    43" Westcott Collapsible White Umbrella (not speedlight specific, but universally useful)

    Rogue FlashBender Large (I use this as a flag more than anything else - but can be useful in other ways)

    I also have the Westcott 28" Apollo softbox, but I find it too cumbersome to use most of the time. I've grown to loathe having the flash inside the softbox, and it's too time consuming to set it up with the mounting arm. I prefer diffusers that are quick to set up and allow me to easily change flash settings.

  4. #4
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    I second Sean's comments about the power of flash. I've got some amazing cycling photos with flash (courtesy of PocketWizard HyperSync) in broad/bright sunlight, and it would have taken probably 250W of LED lighting to match that, and therefore a generator for me to survive four hours on the side of the road. Instead, maybe 16 sets of AA batteries did the trick.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advise....I am probably a month or two away from getting something. I will be traveling in October to see my new nephew. I may also get to do a fall color photo shoot of my new niece. So that would be another reason.

    Thanks for the list Sean. I saw a Flashbender with a gel mounted in the bender for the first time at a wedding last year and had no clue what it was. But now I do.

    Thanks

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