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Are Strobes or Continuous Lights Better for Portrait Photography?

Even just five years ago, this would not even be a question. However, in recent years, continuous lighting has made some remarkable strides, and it is now a viable alternative to traditional strobes for a lot of work. So, which is right for your portrait photography? This excellent video comparison features an experienced portrait photographer sharing her thoughts. 

Coming to you from Lindsay Adler with Adorama TV, this helpful video comparison discusses the pros and cons of strobes and continuous lights for portrait photography. By far, the biggest advantage of continuous lights is the ability to see exactly how your subject is being rendered in real-time, along with the fact that they can pull double duty if you shoot video. Nonetheless, despite how far they've come, continuous lights still lag behind strobes in power output. This can be fine if you only shoot in a studio in certain situations, but if you need to overpower the sun outside or you need a lot of depth of field, you may find only strobes will have the power you need. It really depends on both how you shoot and the sort of images you like to make. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Adler. 

If you would like to continue learning about how to light a portrait, be sure to check out "Illuminating The Face: Lighting for Headshots and Portraits With Peter Hurley!"

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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1 Comment

Nice sales pitch.