LED Lighting – Can You Shoot a Portrait Session Without Flash?

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MC Contributor, photo/video innovator and Hybrid Photography “Coach” Will Crockett of DiscoverMirrorless.com is blazing trails once again.  He just shot a portrait session completely without using flash, and he created a cool Hybrid eProduct at the same time!

Will writes:  Yesterday was a big day.  I made it through two portrait shoots in the studio using no flash whatsoever, and lit the entire job using LED Lights Only!

The lights used were the Quantum Omicron LED ringlight, for the bold “shadowless” look you see, and I also used a cluster of three Manfrotto ML 840H Maxima LED lights mounted inside a 6 foot Elinchrom Octa.   A few shots were done with just the LED cluster off to the left side with no diffusion, and the Omicron used on-camera as a fill light.

Will also did the entire shoot using a mirrorless camera (Panasonic Lumix G5 and Panasonic Pro Zoom Lenses) at High ISO for many shots, and it looks fantastic!  There’ll be more… LOTS more to come!  (Read article on DiscoverMirrorless.com)

My 2 Cents

Coach Crockett steered me on to some good LED Lighting solutions like the ones he used for the session above, and I’ve been loving using them.  They’re so portable and so easy to use.  But bear in mind that right now (January 4th, 2013), LED Lighting is a case of the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good is that there indeed ARE some fantastic LED lighting solutions that will make you (and your subjects) look like a RockStar.  The bad is that there are also some that aren’t so good, and they’ll produce all kinds of funky color variations and give you all sorts of headaches.  The ugly is the results that you get when you use the not so good LEDs.  It might not be such a big deal if you’re shooting RAW and can fix your images in post.  Of course, that’ll eat up large chunks of YOUR TIME (and time is money ~_^), and in the age of Hybrid Photography, you’ll be shooting lots more video and it’s not as easy to fix that in post (much less match up colors with your still photos).

There are a lot of LED lights that are ready for prime time and a lot that aren’t.  So we’ll keep testing them and let you know which ones are good, which ones are bad and which ones are ugly.  Stay Tuned!!!

Buy the Quantum Omicron LED Ringlight and Manfrotto LED Light Kits on Amazon

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