Strobes are at the core of any serious studio photographer's kit, mainly because they're cheap and powerful. However, as you can see from this video, constant LED lights are catching up fast and are now a real option for anyone looking to try something different with their portrait work.
In this video from Adorama, portrait photographer Emily Teague replaces her strobe kit with a selection of LED lights from Nanlite. She starts off with her model, Laura Fernanda, close to the backdrop in a studio. Teague then begins to introduce the lights one by one. First, she brings in the Nanlite Compac 200B as a key light. We can, of course, immediately see one of the main benefits of using high-powered LEDs instead of strobes.
With LEDs, we are seeing how the light is falling on the model without having to take a test shot. Not only that but many of these LEDs are bi-color, which means their color temperature can be controlled, though the actual Kelvin range will differ depending on the specific product. This allows for some creative applications as well as the ability to dial in an accurate temperature for natural skin tones.
Unfortunately, a decent, powerful LED will set you back further than a regular strobe. The Compac 200B — while wonderfully soft and versatile — costs $629 at B&H.
At the end of the day, it all depends on what suits your own style and workflow. A product photographer, for instance, would find no use for these lights because of their lack of power. But for the portrait photographer on the go, lights like these are a real option.
Do you use constant lighting in your photography?