12.27.2010

We've got hard light if you want it.


Want to know how I use LEDs as softlights?  Read the proceeding blog.  I cover my favorite technique there.  But I always wonder how things look with harder light so when I had Noellia in the studio today I gave it a quick test.  All three of the panels you can see in set up shot below are either 160 bulb LED panels (measuring about 6 by 9 inches) or  my favorite light, the 183 Bulb version (complete with its own big, lead acid battery pack.  That one is 90 degrees to the left of the camera position and lighting Noellia directly.  I'm using the small diffusion panel in the slot of the front of the fixture to soften the light a bit. The next light is the one that appears on the far left of this photograph.  It's bouncing into the diffusion panel on the opposite side of Noellia to add some needed fill light.  The final small panel is the one on the far right of the photograph which is providing a back/hair light for the image.  The background light is one of the 500 bulb A/C panels running at 1/2 power (two banks instead of all four).


I hated doing hard light with flash because light placement is so critical.  With the LEDs I can see the effect as we build it and I can see if I've turned my model in the wrong direction or not while I'm setting up, not while I'm chimping.  Might not make a difference to you but it makes all the difference in the world to me.  I want to set up one shoot often (SUOSO).  Not: Chimp, chimp, chimp, chimp, shoot....

What were the technical parameters?  Glad you asked.  We shot with a Canon 5D2,  the almost never mentioned but incredibly good for the money, 100mm f2.  Our ISO was 400 and the final exposure was a comfortable 1/80th of a second at f2.8.  Custom white balance before shooting.  No mixed light.  

Funny that we have three different models of LED lights and all of them have the same color balance....

Can you do hard light with LEDs?  Absolutely.

4 comments:

Nicholas Condon said...

"Funny that we have three different models of LED lights and all of them have the same color balance...."

Wanna bet that all three lights use diodes from the same production line?

kirk tuck said...

I'd bet 80% of the world's 5mm led bulbs come from one plant in China.....kinda makes a joke of all the claims for higher CRI that the competitors....

Dave Elfering Photography said...

This is pretty interesting stuff. I could see this making an interesting, portable system for urban type settings if a light battery system can be had for it. The minimalist strobe kit is nicely portable and powerful but this is a much more subtle tool that could be coaxed into a natural rhythm during a shoot. As a neophyte I think it would allow me to focus (no pun intended) on the subject rather than baby sitting three Nikon flashes. A lot of strobists seem more into the lights than what they're shooting :)

Love the LED experiments!

kirk tuck said...

David, Every light in the shot was a battery powered light except for the background light. We could have replaced that with a battery powered one as well. All your points were right on the money. The continuous lights do tend to disappear once you start shooting. And the effects are much easier to gauge....