Comparing Flash to LED Lights for Portrait Photography

When it comes to lighting for portrait photography, flash has long been the tool of choice. However, in recent years, constant lights have made some significant advancements, and with the advantages they offer, they can be a compelling alternative to traditional strobes. If you are wondering which is right for your work, check out this great video that details some of the differences between them as well as the pros and cons of each.

Coming to you from Manny Ortiz, this awesome video compares LED continuous lights to flashes for portraiture work. There are a lot of variables to consider when it comes to this decision, but by far, the most important is power output. Though they have advanced quite a bit in recent years, LEDs still output far less power than traditional strobes on average. If you are in a studio in which you have complete control of the light, this might not be a problem, and you might prefer the convenience of constant light. However, if you often work outside and need to overpower the ambient light, you will likely want to use flash to give you the sort of power and control you need. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Ortiz.

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Studio 403's picture

ugg, not a fan of pimping products one uses. It's America land of the free and brave. I won't anymore videos where the creative is pimping products they use. I really want as best I can find clear unbiased views. Of course any creative has a bias and that is nothing new. I factor all that in as I look for guidance. Let the buyer beware

Deleted Account's picture

And then such a video! As if constant light source were a replacement for flashes, i.e. outdoors. This was the last video, or better said, commercial of this guy that I watched.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

You clearly didn't pay attention to the video.

Deleted Account's picture

That's right, I didn't actually see it from A to Z. It's a lot of talk that could have been said in less than 30 seconds: Constant light is easier to set up. When I come across videos like this, I start watching but quickly lose interest if there is no real content and the main purpose of the video is to showcase the sponsor and get clicks. And why repeat what has already been said a million times? Nevertheless, I would like to apologise, I was not fair.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture


1. This wasn't a review. It's a comparison between LED and flash, hence, the title of the video. Not to mention the title of the article.

2. Did you expect him to put tape over the branding; or blur in post; or go out of his way to make sure his camera angles obscured the branding; or beep the audio when brands are mentioned?

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I didn't have a problem especially since the guy talks about strobes and describes his reasons for using both. We get so much brain washing about one specific Chinese brand that this is not a shocker video to me. Even two avid users of those Chinese strobes recently showed that they have serious competition either cheaper or with better accessories that are still very affordable.
I think LED are great additions for specific and limited use, but I would get strobes first and then add LED rather that the opposite.

Kirk Darling's picture

I'm waiting for someone to make this comparison with a multi-generational family portrait including fidgety kids that will be enlarged to 30x40 for a wall.

Tony Clark's picture

There seems to be a segment of our Industry that have to have every toy in the store, they must lose their tails by changing camera brands every major release. How about buying what you need and mastering your craft? I'm also amused by the people that hold the camera at arms length and fire away, it's like they're paparazzi just firing as many frames as possible and hoping to get a keeper.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Lol, it's like some of you were watching a totally different video.

--- "There seems to be a segment of our Industry that have to have every toy in the store, they must lose their tails by changing camera brands every major release"

1. He didn't mention or show off the camera he was using. I had to read his gear list in the description. It was Sony a7sIII. Not exactly a "major release" in 2021, don't you think?

--- "it's like they're paparazzi just firing as many frames as possible and hoping to get a keeper."

2. At most, he was shooting maybe 1 frame per second. This is normal in people photography. You don't pose people like food.

charles hoffman's picture

the thing about flash photography, is that you need experience to use it professionally.
even with the instant look-back of digital cameras, you need to "see" the outcome before the shot.