Early experiments with LED lights proved to me that my assumption that LEDs would become a dominant photographic light source was correct.

Cuties. Lit with LED panels. 

Around 2010 I became very interested in LED technology as it related to photography. The consensus at the time was that LEDs were too weak, too color inaccurate and too expensive to ever be a workable light source for photography. I thought I knew differently because I had read about cinematographers already pressing LED lights of various makes into service to illuminate feature films. 

The first, serious LED lights I got were re-branded Chinese units sold by Fotodiox on Amazon.com. They made a $225 light that was constructed of 500 (quasi) daylight balanced, 3mm LED bulbs and they also made a lighting unit that used 1,0000 of the same LEDs. While many technocrats scoffed at what they described as the limited "spectral response" of the lights I knew that the custom white balance capabilities of the modern cameras would be able to compensate for any shortcomings as long as all the light sources were consistently consistent. 

I bought three of the 500 bulb versions and two of the 1,000 bulb units and I proceeded to use them on jobs for me and for clients. While the output was a bit low for action portraits the lights quickly proved themselves as the perfect source for still life photography of all kinds, and food photography, especially. I probably shot over 100 assignments with the first set of LEDs and I sold them to a photographer who has probably used them for hundreds more assignments. 

These lights were the impetus for the book I wrote on LED light for photographers called, LED Lighting For Photographers, which was published in 2012 by Amherst Media. It is still the best selling guide to acquiring and using LED lights for photographers, in the world. 

The basic information and techniques stands the test of time, while the products available have advanced rapidly. I still think the book is worth reading at least once. I suggest you buy it and read it from cover to cover but, if you are a cheap bastard, you can always ask your library to order you a copy....


Richard Leacock said...

The information was so important and timely when your book came out I bought 2!
One I keep in the the book case safe and unblemished and the other I'm referring back to on a regular basis. Well thumbed with bookmarks and notations.

I don't recall if I had thanked you for the sweat and heavy lifting you did to create and publish this work, as well as your other books.. Also wanted to mention I appreciate the nitty-gritty behind-the-scenes information that is also along for the ride with your blog/musings and photography.

Warmest Regards


Paul said...

Only 4 books left on Amazon - would love an e-book but might just have to buy a real book.
Do you have any updated recommendations for type/power etc. or is a good starting point still 500/1000 bulb battery powered units?