Would You Swap out Your Strobes for Continuous Lights When Shooting Portraits?

Continuous LED lighting has come a long way in recent years, and while there are pros and cons to shooting with strobes or continuous lights, LED technology has definitely shifted the balance a little. How useful is continuous lighting for a studio portrait shoot? This video aims to find out.

Strobepro Studio Lighting put together this video of their various LED products in order to demonstrate how effective they can be in a studio environment. Evidently, one of the huge advantages is that any changes to the lighting setup can be seen instantaneously, but there are also some disadvantages. The model may struggle to look directly into the light source, causing squinting, which means that large, diffused lights tend to be a better option. If you’re after a hard light, strobes are probably the way to go.

Continuous LEDs won’t match the intensity of strobes, so shutter speeds tend to be slower and ISO tends to be a bit higher, which again will have an impact on how you shoot. Larger apertures will make a shallow depth of field easier to achieve if that’s your goal.

One advantage not mentioned is the potential to capture video under the same lighting conditions. If you’re shooting as part of a social media campaign, it’s very easy to switch between stills and video and create content efficiently.

Do you prefer continuous lighting to strobes? How has it affected your workflow? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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Eric Robinson's picture

As you mention in the article strobes and LEDs produce quite different images due to the light intensity each can deliver. Studio strobes' ability to give that short sharp intense burst of light that enables the photographer to shoot at f9 or higher produces a very different look from the LED image shot at f2.8 or lower. From the photographer's pov its good to be able to have an alternative. What you end up using is I suppose, is determined by the aesthetic of the image you wish to create. In my opinion, each system has its place.

Rob Mitchell's picture

I use flash or LED, depends on the result I want.

Strobes and led have their spot.

Jared Wolfe's picture

A lot easier to overpower or work with ambient light with strobes. LED might work well in studio or other controlled environment though. Personally I do not have any interest in constant lights.