LED lights are something that are starting to appear more on the photography market and they are available in various sizes and some also offer the additional option of a flash function, which can give an extra burst of light if needed.
But why would you want to use an LED light
and can they help you produce better looking shots?
In this article we will be giving you a few practical examples on when you may want to shoot with an LED light. We used a Manfrotto ML120 Pocket LED Light
to take our shots and if you want to know in more detail how this specific model performed, check out our full review
This type of light could be used for product photography to add a touch of contrast. Above left is a natural light shot 0.7 sec | f/6.7 | ISO 400 and above right is a shot with the LED Light 0.5 sec | f/6.7 | ISO 400.
The same type of shot as above, but this time with a black absorbent background. Top left natural light 1.5 sec | f/6.7 ISO 400. Top right with the LED Light used 1.5 sec | f/6.7 | ISO 400.
When shooting indoor portraits, you may find your shots end up looking a little too underexposed (left shot). You can use your camera's built-in flash but as the middle shot above shows, it can be too overpowering. However, fitting an LED light to your camera's hotshoe can produce a softer light that still shows good detail in the hair and face.
If you're using specialist equipment such as bellows, built in flash would not reach your subject due to the bellows getting in the way. However, you can take LED lights off your camera and position it to the side of your subject to add much needed light to the scene. Pete did this when he was shooting patterns in bonfire toffee and you can see the set-up and end image here:
Here's another example, this time a lens was our photographic subject and the LED has added just enough light to make the gold contacts on a lens stand out when using using bellows.
As nearly all cameras now feature a video mode it makes sense to invest in a light if you're planning on shooting video with your camera. There are various video lights on the market but if it's just something you're going to do occasionally you probably don't want to be spending huge amounts of money and you won't want a model that'll take up lots of room. An LED can fit in your camera bag and as shown above, can be used for various applications. You can see an example of video shot with an LED light in our review