LED Portrait Lighting with Savage Edge Lit Pro LED Light for Studio and Location Stills and Video

LED Portrait Lighting with Savage Edge Lit Pro LED Light for Studio and Location Stills and Video


How do you make an LED lighting panel that
is much bigger than a strobe, yet super thin and it has really even light across the front
panel… you light it from the edge. That’s want Savage Universal did with these awesome
Edge Lit Pro LED Lights. Stay tuned while I put them to the test in the studio and on
location – be right back! Hey gang! My name is Joe Edelman and my mission
is to help photographers like YOU to develop a solid understanding of the HOWS & WHYS behind
great photography so that you can achieve your goals as a photographer. The folks at Savage decided to take a different
approach to LED lighting and instead of building a panel with a few hundred LED bulbs facing
forward… which means you have a few hundred point light sources facing forward – they
created a panel with LED bulbs that shine inward from the outer edges of the light and
are then redirected through a soft white panel. This gives you a very even, very soft light.
Essentially a small softbox. The Edge Lit Pro is 12” x 9”. And it’s
super thin. Just 1.5” without batteries and 2.5” with them. And yes that means that
it works on AC power or you can power it with two Sony batteries which are very common with
video gear. It will run for 75 minutes at full power with fully charged batteries. This is a bi-color light that is blendable
from 3200k to 5500k which makes it very easy to use these lights mixed in with other ambient
light. They have a CRI of 95 which we learned in this video…. is really good and they
have an output of 1,677 Lumens at three feet which makes it more powerful and a little
bigger than some of the units that are getting big buzz right now. Independent lab tests
measure the Edge Lit Pro at an even higher 1,784 lumens when used at 5500k – which is
daylight balance. The Edge Lit Pro emits almost no heat and
it’s completely silent which makes it great for video work. It has an all metal design
that weighs just 3.5 lbs. The big LCD readout display makes it easy to see your power level,
color temperature and channel information from a distance. Each Edge Lit Pro ships with
a multi-channel remote that can control your lights individually or in groups just like
you do with a radio transmitter for your strobes I really like these lights. As you have heard
me say many times before – they are not going to be for everyone. There is no such thing
as a light that is perfect for every situation. Why you may ask? Because light is a photographer’s
best friend. Remember that the word “photography” was created from Greek roots meaning to “draw
with light”. So good photographers are always looking for unique and interesting ways to
generate, manipulate, modify and manage light. The folks at Savage Universal were kind enough
to send me four of these units so that I could really put them to the test and I decided
to take it a step further and use them both in the studio and on location. I started in the studio with a quick portrait
session. In this first setup I used all four panels – I mean why not? It wouldn’t be
nice to let one of them get lonely in the case all by itself while the others are out
having fun. Please fellow TOGS – show some compassion for your gear. You can see here I have the lovely Monae in
front of a Savage Universal #24 Orange Seamless Paper backdrop. I have one Edge Lit Pro panel placed on camera
left as my main light and it is set at 80% power and 5500k color temperature. My fill
light on camera right is set at 40% power also at 5500k. Behind my subject is a panel
on the floor thai is aimed up at the backdrop. This one is set at 65% power and 4300k to
throw a little more warm light on that orange and then to camera left I have the last panel
also set at 65% and 4300k as a warm rim light. Please observe that my main light is set above
my models eyes and carefully aimed down towards her face. The fill on camera right is lower
but still above her eyes – I want to have shadows naturally below the nose and jaw – not
above. 5500k is considered daylight balance by most
equipment manufacturers. You will find temperatures from 5000k to 6500k referenced as daylight.
Basically the way it works – the higher the number – the whiter the light. The lower end of the scale at 3200k is like
a good old fashioned incandescent light bulb. This feature is beneficial for adding warmth
to things like you saw me do in the last headshot or for being able to balance your lights to
a room where the ambient light is generated by incandescent or halogen lamps. Here is a three quarter length shot that I
did with Monae and essentially the same lighting set-up as the portrait. The noticeable difference
is that you can see I have turned the panels sideways so that the light spread will cover
more vertical height. My settings on the lights and camera were the same as they were for
the portrait. Next up I went with a #20 Black seamless from
Savage and a three light setup. I have my key or main light in the same position
on camera left. I’ve taken the panel on camera right and moved it behind my subject to serve
as a rim light. I also removed the background light from behind her and I am still using
the rim light on camera left. Just to break down this lighting concept for
you… You can see that with my main light on camera left – I have a shadow on the camera
right side of Lola’s face. By adding that rim light on camera right – I am able to add
some depth to my lighting which makes the shot more interesting. If I dial the color
balance of the Edge Lit Panel down to 3300k I get a much warmer rim light. If you are
using strobes – you can do this with an orange or better yet amber colored gel. Then if you
have a third light – you can add a rim on the other side which will help separate your
subject from the background even more. One very important tip… always pay close
attention to the brightness of your rim lights. This applies for both flash and LED lighting.
Rim lights that are blown out and overexposed just look sloppy and distracting. This is
a perfect scenario where having a handheld light meter can save you a lot of time and
guesswork. Before we go outside, here is a quick series
I shot with a young Instagram blogger that I am working with. I shot these on a Savage
#8 Primary Red seamless. I used four lights – two on each side on my subject, one above
for a hair light and the fourth low and on the ground for a background light. This very
simple balanced arrangement gives me a nice clean commercial look. In this last one, I simply removed the panel
on camera right and shot with a three panel set-up for this version which has more shadow
and depth than the others. Remember – there is no right or wrong here,
but understand that light placement and intensity doesn’t just impact shadows and exposure
– it helps to set the mood and tone of your shot. For my location setup I found a small piece
of roadway that’s not being used because it’s under construction and took the Edge
Lit Pro’s and my model Monae out for a short 90 minute mosquito challenged session as the
sun went down. In case you haven’t watched my Smartphone
series of videos, I use the app called Sun Surveyor to plan in advance and know exactly
when and where the sun will set. I have a link to the blog article and apps in the description
below. I actually prefer shooting with natural light
outdoors, but it if you want to be one of the cool kids, it seems that you need to gear
up and get outside. So for my first shot, I am still about 30
minutes away from sunset. The sun is starting to fall below the trees, and the sky is in
that phase where it is very bright and almost white close to the horizon. Here is what I
get with no additional lighting or reflectors – a very soft and natural look. Now if I go with the same three light setup
that I used with the black background in the studio – main light on camera left – fill
light on camera right and rim light on camera right rear – this is the look that I get.
You can see that I have placed my lights at about the same distance from Monae as I had
them placed in the studio. A little tip – good light placement is no
different outdoors than it is indoors. I see so many new or young photographers practice
lighting in a studio and then go outside and forget everything they learned about light
placement. Keep it simple stupid. If you are learning how to light – take the lighting
arrangements that you do inside – outside and start there. That way you begin by learning
how to balance the ambient light with your strobes or LED lights instead of overwhelming
yourself with too many variables. Just like in the studio – I have my lights
placed high to mimic natural lighting and I have my main or key light placed where my
model is looking so that I am not creating harsh shadows. As the sun continued to set – I moved to the
middle of the road and went for something a bit more dramatic. So now I am shooting
full length with just two lights. My main light is on camera left and placed well above
my model and I have a second panel as a rim light on camera right. I left the panels in
the horizontal position so that I would get some light fall-off towards the bottom of
the frame and you will notice in each of these last shots, I have Monae’s face turned towards
my main light so that I don’t have harsh shadows on her face. You can also see that
as the sun is getting much lower, color is starting to return to the sky near the horizon. Just after the sun has fallen below the horizon
is when the sky is going to really start to pick up the rich colors and with my Edge Lit
Pro panels in exactly the same positions, I was able to create this shot and then this
shot. If you are one of those ZOMBIEtographers who
follows the crowd – you might want to skip ahead to the next part of the video. For the
rest of you… let me point out that there are lots of ways to have your subject brighter
than the background that don’t require extra expensive gear that has high speed sync. I
have just shown you one of them. In case you missed it – how did I do it? Planning and
patience. Two things that don’t cost anything. I just had to plan ahead for a time where
the ambient outdoor light would be dimmer than the power of my Edge Lit Pro’s. It really
wasn’t that hard. So indeed if you are that photographer that
is determined to find one light that is going to do everything you will ever need…. LED
lights are not going to overpower the sun at high noon. But like I said earlier, If
I am shooting outdoors, I would rather shoot with natural light. Check out this video that
I did a few years ago. It shows examples of how to find nice light without strobes or
reflectors outdoors at midday. The Edge Lit Pro LED light can be purchased
as a single unit and it comes with the AC power cord, two Sony batteries and two chargers.
Also included is the rotating light stand adapter, a multi-channel remote control and
a padded carry bag Savage also sells the Edge Lit Pro as a lighting
kit that comes with two Edge Lit Pros, two rotating light stand adapters, two power cords,
four batteries, four chargers, one multi-channel remote control, two Savage 7′ easy-open
Drop Stands™ and a padded rolling case. I mentioned the 7’ easy-open Drop Stands™…
these stands are awesome. The auto-extending and collapsing legs with air cushioning allow
for quick and easy repositioning of your lighting without having to bend over and lock and unlock
the legs. They also have a 1/4 20-3/8 reversible spigot stud that can be mounted vertically
or horizontally, which makes the stand very versatile. So if you are looking for a great light that
is long lasting – I’m talking 20,000 hours of use with the installed bulbs and eco friendly
and super easy to use – I would encourage you to check out these Edge Lit Pro’s from
Savage. I am definitely adding them to my lighting arsenal. Next up in the LED lighting series I am going
to take a look at four different LED lights from Smith Victor. From their COOL LED series
I will test out the 25 watt, 50 watt and 100 watt models – that’s comparable to a 1000watt
incandescent light and I am also going to use the Smith Victor 19” Bi-Color LED Ring
Light and I will show you that ring lights are not just for circle catchlights and making
YouTube videos Until then, I hope you found this useful.
Please hit that thumbs up and subscribe so that you don’t miss any videos and until
next time go pick up that camera and shoot something because your BEST shot – it’s
your NEXT shot, so keep learning, keep thinking, keep shooting. Adios!


39 thoughts on “LED Portrait Lighting with Savage Edge Lit Pro LED Light for Studio and Location Stills and Video

  1. Joe this LED series is awesome! I hope you will consider doing more gear related videos. I love that you are showing us the gear – being honest about what you think about it AND teaching little lessons in between. GREAT job!

  2. As always loving the video , it looks like a great set, but 800+ dollars for 2 panels setup is not cheap. Considering when i see the specs your using for making these pictures its then big difference when u use your strobe/speedlights " iso Tv and Av shooting it at f4 mainly now? " is there a video coming up on this aswell to elaborate this? looking forward to the next episode its an interesting times ahead of us with LED light for sure. Thx for teaching regards from Holland

  3. That was a great video Joe! I liked the photo shoot and your use of natural light and the fact that you planned ahead. It was also great that you mentioned the use of a light meter, light meters save a ton of time when setting up a shoot, it is too bad folks aren't using them much anymore. Although I still like flash for my photography I think these lights have a lot of potential. Thanks for another wonderful video!

  4. As usual, Joe, you're doing such great work! Thanks for showing us about these impressive lights and, again, providing an education along with it.

  5. I really like the idea behind LED panels, makes it look like it will be so much easier to use than lugging around speedlights and softboxes and all those things to go do headshots and the likes at a clients office.

  6. My videographer had a couple of these at the weddings we shot this weekend. He offered to let me try it out on Saturday during the reception and I liked it so much I ganked it from him for the reception on Sunday, lol.

  7. Another video HIT OUTTA THE PARK! Good solid information as well as a nice gear review! Savage was smart to use the Sony type video battery….inexpensive, easy to find, known performance! Thanks for the motivation Joe!

  8. Hey Joe! Thanks for the info. Been hesitating about adding LED's to my kit.
    I'm fairly sure that the Smith Victor ring light is a rebadge of the cheaper Chinese versions… Of course local warranty and support is worth something!

  9. WOW! Joe is going outside again. It's great to see you do that more often (and don't blame it on the weather you ware photojournalist before as I do recall 😉 ). And talking in the outside video "Manny's" style – great idea (as you mentioned many times in his videos 😀 ). I'm sure that that kind of (also going outside) videos will bring you more audience since many people are outside shooters.
    PS. I thought that 100K subs will be a great Christmas present for you but it seems you'll get it much sooner since you already have 94 240. GREAT WORK JOE. KEEP IT UP!

  10. It's the first time I've seen a Joe video and I'm super impressed. Clear, concise, informative, educational and entertaining.

  11. I just purchased these lights and I have to shoot 1000ISO, F4, shutter speed 100 to get a decent photo. Shooting with a Nikon D4. What do you generally shoot at? I would appreciate feedback from anyone! I tried f2.8 but the depth of field is too shallow. Thanks!

  12. First and foremost, I would like to sincerely think you for the amount of time and effort put into these LED series that you've done it has really opened up my eyes to more options to light my portraits. I think the only question or concern I would have is, it seems like you have to have the lights fairly close to the model; about how far away do you think you can place the LEDs until it wouldn't give a good enough light for portraits? Thank you once again for the videos! Subbed.

  13. Do you prefer this for on set filming feature film or you would recommand the spekular led kit that is modular? I’m debating for a new kit of lights

  14. No zombie here… I didn't skip. Now I accidentally found the "How to Shoot Portraits on Bright Sunlight without… Most addicting photography YouTube channel. Thanks Joe

  15. hey Joe… just wondering if you have an idea of what the total run time is of these lights on the batteries and do you see a fade in the light brightness as the batteries get weaker or do they just hold and then cut out or shut off? thank you for all of the great videos that you have and will be producing. I just came across you recently and I've enjoyed everything I've seen so far

  16. That was what I needed to Get into led light photography. Very informative and simple. What more can I say? Oh, now I am good to go. Let's try it! Thanks again!

  17. Muy Buena su clase !!! muy interesante y se aprende mucho !!! Muchas gracias Joe por compartir su sabiduría !!! Saludos desde Argentina!

  18. I received the Savage last week before seeing this (enjoy the channel – thanks). Like the light but the battery was a cheap NP-F750 replacement (not a Sony) and it won't power up without wiggling the batteries to seat them better and then it powers off unexpectedly until you tap the batteries again. Hate to trash them just for that but advertised as Sony batteries and these just don't seat correctly. I'm wondering if dropping the coin for real Sony Batteries (which sucks) is the answer or just return the lights. They work great on A/C but I bought them to go portable once in a while as well. Thanks again for all the great videos.

  19. Joe, do you think it's possible for a studio to be completely flash-free? I shoot primarily families, in studio only, which means a lot of people in the studio and it's always HOT. I really like the idea of cooler lights to keep clients and kids more comfortable. I also like the idea of longer light lifespans being more environmentally responsible. Do you think LEDS have enough power to light groups well enough?

  20. Hey Joe, I'm just getting into studio lighting and am so glad I found you. I love these videos! Very helpful! I have the Edge Lit Pro 2 light kit. One thing I've struggled with is shadows on the backdrop. Any suggestions for eliminating shadows with 2 lights? Thanks in advance.

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