The trend of using continuous light sources, such as LED, plays well with photographers integrating video into the services they offer clients. But there’s also a convenience factor. A continuous source lets you see the how light falls on a portrait subject exactly as it will appear in the final image and can use your in-camera meter to arrive at an exposure.
I’ve tested Flashpoint’s rectangular LED light panels in the past and looked forward to putting these new circular models though their paces. Flashpoint CL-500R LED ($200*) has a round design producing circular catch lights, mimicking natural outdoor highlights. While bright, the 500 LEDs in the housing stay cool, keeping your subjects comfortable, even when shooting with the light close to them as shown on the example.
Light output is variable from 10-100% and can be remotely controlled. Flashpoint says color output is 5600K and consistent even when dimming to 10%. The included cloth diffuser aka diffusion sock produces a softer look. If you want to soften and spread the light further, an umbrella channel is built into the CL-500R’s front face. Flashpoint’s CL-1144R LED ($400*) has a V-Mount 12-volt battery option. Both lights include AC power supply, cloth diffuser and case. Both have a port that accepts the Flashpoint Remote Dimmer ($29.95.).
I’ve used the lighting setup shown before with softboxes placed on either side of the subject. That setup worked well with softboxes but with the CL-500R (camera left) and CL-1444R (camera right) even with diffusion socks in place it doesn’t quite replace that other important lighting law: The closer a light is to a subject, the softer it is and the larger the light source is the softer it is.
The resulting image of Sarah Dean was made against Savage’s Photo Gray Infinity vinyl background. It was originally shot in color using a Panasonic Lumix GH4 with Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens and an exposure of 1/25 sec at f/2.2 and ISO 800. It was converted to monochrome with Silver Efex Pro and I strongly resisted the urge to let the flower she’s wearing take it’s natural pink color with the finished black and white image.
For more on studio lighting techniques, please purchase up a copy of my book, “Studio Lighting Anywhere” for yourself or a friend. It’s is available from your favorite book or camera stores as well as including Amazon.com.