Pixean
Oct 29, 2018

Photography is a game of lights. If you are into this article, you may already know how significant a role lighting plays in any genre of photography. You may be shooting an outdoor shot in natural light or an indoor portrait with artificial lights but the lighting techniques have to be spot on in order to make splendid images. There are several types of lights used in photography. These include tungsten lights, LED lights, Xenon lights etc. LED light is one of the common types of lights. There are several advantages and disadvantages of using LED lights for shoots. Let us take a look at the different pros and cons of shooting with LED lights.

ADVANTAGES

1)   This doesn’t break your pocket:

LED lights are much cheaper than the other alternatives. This is because the lifeline of these lights are quite long. They are way more energy efficient and hence use lesser electricity to operate. The initial cost in buying a LED light may be a bit high but if you compare the cost based on the lifeline of the lights, you will easily find out that this is the cheapest solution.

2)   Power and heat handling efficiency:

LED lights are considered as cheap solutions since the energy efficiencies of these lights are extremely good. A LED light can glow up to 3 times as bright as the normal incandescent bulb just by using less than half as much power. LED lights are much more versatile and the chance of any electrical mishap is minimal. The heat handling efficiency of LEDs is also quite appreciable. In fact the amount of heat emitted by a LED light is only a minute fraction of the amount of heat emitted by a tungsten light. It is way more comfortable to operate in studios that are not getting extremely heated up due to the presence of lights.

3)   The portability factor:

Photography gear is quite bulky in general. You need to carry the heavy camera gear wherever you go. Lighter alternatives solve the problem. Many LED lights, these days, are operated by batteries. No external wires are involved as a result of this. This will come in extremely handy when you are shooting outdoors and in remote locations. With the help of normal batteries which are readily available anywhere, you can have your lighting kit setup at any part of the world. This portability is a huge asset of LED lighting.

4)   The consistency:

LED lights provide continuous lighting unlike the speed-lights and strobes. With speed-lights you need to take several test shots to get the perfect exposure. In case of continuous LED lights, you can actually see the exposure settings live on the screen and change accordingly. Hence a number of test shots are actually not required in this case. Another advantage of this continuous lighting is that when you are shooting a model, the pupils of the eyes will not get dilated since the lighting is continuous. As a result you get better details of the eyes. In case of the other lights, the lack of continuous lighting may dilate the pupils.

5)   Platform independent and simplicity:

LED lights work with almost all types of devices. You can work with LED lights pretty much at all times irrespective of whether you are using a dslr camera, a point and shoot camera or even the camera of your smartphone. This is not the case with other lighting sources like Xenon flashes. These have to be specially synchronized with the cameras before you start the shoot. The lack of complications in LED lighting is a huge advantage.

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DISADVANTAGES

1)   Colour inconsistency and brightness:

One of the major disadvantages of LED lights is the lack of consistency of colour reproduction. The colour cast by these lights are quite dull at times and production of top quality images become that much more difficult. When you are using several LED lights, the brand consistency has to be kept in mind. Using such lights of different brands can lead to an annoying level of incoherence. The LED lights are also not that much bright as compared to something like a Xenon flash or a tungsten light. If you need to shoot an outdoor portrait under the bright sun, use of LED light will not be quite effective since it normally does not have the power to counter the bright sunlight. You will have to resort to using tungsten lights in such cases. In case you are adamant about using LED lights only, you need to purchase the high power LED lights which are not quite economical.

2)   The flickering problem:

When the battery of a LED light starts to die, the light starts to flicker. Flickering of lights can be a massive problem. Other types of lights doesn’t have this problem and hence are often preferred to LEDs. The battery life of LEDs drains faster than the strobe lights. To get a long shoot with LEDs you will require several extra batteries.

3)   The build quality:

LED lights are normally built on plastic mounts. The build quality is not as sturdy as the build quality of a Fresnel or any other light. As a result of this, the chances of damage are higher in case of LEDs.

4)   Freezing action:

There is a common notion that it is difficult to freeze action using LED lighting. If you want to get sharp action images, use of strobes is going to be much more effective than LEDs. LEDs, being less powerful, makes you compensate for the same by using slow shutter speeds. Freezing an action therefore becomes tougher.

 

The continuous nature of LED Lights is highly useful. Hence these lights are preferred in a lot of situations. Like most other things in this world, these lights have their disadvantages too. There is nothing like the perfect light to shoot in. It depends on what you, as a photographer, are looking to achieve!