LED Portraits on a Budget

Rotolight RL48 Interview Kit The use of LED as a light source for portraiture has gradually increased in the past several years years as more companies release products in this space and one of the most versatile, inexpensive ($289) systems is  Rotolight’s RL48 Interview Kit. Inside a well-crafted pouch you’ll find two RL48-B lights along with 24 Filters including, a 063 Pale Blue, 712 Bedford Blue, 020 Medium Amber, 182 Light Red, 765 Sunlight Yellow, 730 Liberty Green, 052 Light Lavender and 128 Bright Pink and two cosmetic filters (184 Cosmetic Peach and 791 Moroccan Frost) for skin enhancement. Since each light only weighs six ounces (plus batteries) these lights make for a fun kit that’s easy to take on the road.

Rotolight RL48 Interview Kit The kit includes two stands with standard ¼-inch tripod screw mounts allowing you attach a light to a tripod or lightstand. The pouch has room for filters, two lights and stands, plus a cell phone and six AA batteries; each light is powered by three AA batteries. In addition, Rotolight offers a full line of swivel mounts, clamps, and articulated arms providing flexibility when working with the system.

This pose and lighting set up is an homage to a black & white portrait made by my friend Rick Sammon, who placed a single speedlight on a boom over a model. I don’t have a boom and instead Rube Goldberged two lightstands holding a single Rotolight with purple filter .


This portrait was made using a single Rotolight RL48-B with a Light Lavender gel mounted and a Canon EOS 50D with EF 85mm f/1.8 lens. Exposure was 1/15 sec at f/3.5 and ISO 640 in Aperture Priority mode. Image was tweaked with Nik Software’s Color Efex 4’s Glamour Glow filter.

This post and next Tuesday are about using Rotolight’s RL-48 LED lights for portraiture in preparation for a new workshop on LED lighting using these versatile and inexpensive lights. Check the Workshop section for details for schedule and details when they become available.

Author: Joe Farace

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