Pros & Cons of LED lights for Portraits – Photoshoot w/ the Aputure 120D & HR672

Pros & Cons of LED lights for Portraits – Photoshoot w/ the Aputure 120D & HR672


hey guys my name is Francisco Hernandez
and today I want to talk about the pros and the cons of using continuous LED
light sources for your on-location portrait photography so I’m gonna be
mentioning the pros and the cons but I wanted to start with the cons first but
before I start talking about those I did want to mention that I am going to be
doing a behind-the-scenes portrait shoot using continuous LED light sources at
the end of the videos so if you guys are interested in seeing that you can check
that out as well the very first con that I have to
mention is the light power from LED lights in general are gonna be something
that’s gonna be perfect for late afternoon indoors or night photography
but when it comes to the daytime you definitely do want to use a strobe or
speed light the only way that I can imagine someone using an LED light
willingly is if it’s cloudy and that’s kind of killing the intensity of the
light and you can kind of match the intensity of that the cloudy day with
your LED light but you definitely would have to be using it really close and not
so modified because modifying the light to be softer is also going to kind of
lower the intensity of the light and make it weaker and you have to be using
it really close to the subject which could limit your type of photography to
headshots or 3/4 I would probably never see a full body shot with a continuous
LED that source outside during a bright day it is gonna be possible to use an
LED during the daytime but if you want to really overpower the Sun and LED
lights are just not gonna be able to do that the second con that I have to
mention is the battery life the battery life is gonna be something that’s going
to be dependent on the light source that you can be using and the power pack the
power source that you gonna be using as well but typically if you use any LED at
100% output it’s probably less than an hour so if you tend to shoot at more
than an hour at 100% then that’s gonna be something that you definitely need
either a backup battery or you need to make sure that you’re using the light at
a lower output which you may or may not want actually in this video when I show
you guys the photo shoot that I did using my LED lights I actually did
start at 100% because I was shooting earlier in the day that I’m used to so
the battery did die but I did have a backup I wanted to quickly mention the
power print that I used in today’s video which is the Vagabond mini lithium by
policy buff and the only reason why I use this power pack and not
we mount batteries that these lights are capable of using is because v-mount
batteries are a little bit pricey and I already had the Vagabond mini lithium so
I just got went ahead and used it and like I said before and this battery the
battery on the Vagabond actually did die but I did have it back up so I ended up
using that and I was thankful for that because if I didn’t have that backup
then I wouldn’t have been able to give you guys this video or a little bit of
the photos at the end of the video the third con that I have to mention may or
may not apply to you depending on the light that you may be looking to get and
that’s the fact that you may have to deal with a lot of quartz for me
specifically I was using the aperture 120 D light and that does have a AC
power cord and block so that’s it that’s one cord that you have to worry about
then that may or may not be something that you care for but if you do have
like I’m like me a vagabond minion lithium and you don’t have any V mount
batteries and that’s another thing you have to worry about – so you’re somebody
like me that doesn’t like to worry about any cords and it’s used to strobes and
speed nights that are cordless then you definitely want to look into getting a
beam up battery the fourth con that I want to mention is something that again
may depend on the light that you make it and that’s the fact that it’s gonna be
hard to adapt these lights to any Bowens mount or modifiers in general that you
may have like I mentioned before I have the aperture HR 602 it’s a rectangular
LED panel and actually did a video that you can check out in this corner where I
use the light for a portrait photo shoot at night and you guys can tell from if
you’ve seen any of my other videos where I used like a larger light source you
can tell the light quality in that video is gonna be harsher than what I was used
to once the light is very small and unmodified it’s gonna be harsher so
that’s why when I use that light source it was something that wasn’t used to the
light quality being harsher so I ended up getting the aperture 120 D and that
actually uses bonus mount modifiers so I was really happy with that decision
because I was able to use a lot of the modifiers that every have that I use
with my bonus mount Explorer 600 strobe so that’s something that was really
interested in getting because of the fact that heads bones bone so now that
I’ve talked about the cons don’t feel like you don’t want to get these lights
there are some benefits which I’m going to mention
right now the very first pro that I can mention is the fact that using an LED
light source is really great in that you see exactly how the shots gonna look
like as soon as you turn on the light if you guys have used any sort of speed
light or strobe in the past you know that you need to take a couple of test
shots first before you continue to shoot even if you use a light meter you have
to do it the metering first before you have to take your photos and with LED
lights you don’t have to do that you do have to do a little bit of guesswork
into the intensity of light but it’s cool because you can see exactly how the
lights gonna look like the intensity then you know how bright or light or the
quality of light as well the harshness or the softness that’s something that I
actually really really liked when I’m using my LED lights for my on-location
portrait photography because again it just takes that a little bit of
guesswork from off-camera flash out and you know that’s always a good thing if
you’re new to photography and you want to start using off-camera flash but
you’re kind of used to natural light I think using LED lights is something
that’s gonna serve as a great bridge towards off-camera flash because again
like I mentioned before you’re seeing how the lights gonna look like and it’s
gonna be a lot beneficial and understanding how light works and it’s
gonna be something that can really help you in learning off-camera flash the
second Pro that can mention is the fact that by using an LED light for your
portrait photography you get a lot more of the color in the eye the iris in your
subjects eyes previously when I was using a speed light for my on-location
portrait photography I did notice that when I would take photos and I would get
back to retouching them that I did notice that a lot of the black part of
the eye the pupil was really big and of course that makes sense because I was
shooting at night and in order to see in the night your eyes need to dilate a bit
so because they dilated so much you’d get a lot less color in the eye and
that’s something that was definitely not used to because I typically shoot in you
know the daytime with my strobes and I was used to seeing a lot more of the
color the third Pro that I wanted to mention is something that may or may not
apply to you depending on the light that you have or looking at and that’s the
fact that it can change from tungsten to daylight the aperture HR 672 that I
mentioned that I have I’m actually using that as a rim light it actually does
have the ability it’s a bicolor light so in the portrait shoot I’m gonna show you
in a bit I actually did use it as sometimes in tungsten
and sometimes in daylight so that was really cool and the flexibility that I
was able to get I didn’t have to worry about gels or anything the very last
proton when I mentioned is that if you get an LED light for portrait
photography you can use the very same lights for any sort of video or
cinematography that you plan to do either now or in the future I actually
have a friend by the name of Jason bong he’s a youtuber as well
he uses his LED lights for his intros as well as for his wedding film
cinematography so if you want to use your lights for a portrait photography
just keep in mind that if you get LEDs you can use them for video work as well
alright so that’s it for my pros and cons I did want to leave this video off
with a behind-the-scenes look into a portrait shoot that I did using my LED
lights the aperture 120 D any aperture HR 672 you guys can enjoy that I hope
you guys enjoy the photos and the video and if you guys are new here feel free
to subscribe like comment share all that good stuff and I’ll see you guys in the
next video hi guys we’re in a different outfit a
different location this is a nice cool anyway we’re getting a lot of awesome
shots that’s green again that’s a loud car and we’re shooting with the aperture
120 in the HR 670 – hey guys I mean if you came while I was recording he wanted
to be in the video so I’m doing that he’s doing whatever but yeah he’s he’s
gotten older since the last time here’s another video of mine and yeah see you
guys later


47 thoughts on “Pros & Cons of LED lights for Portraits – Photoshoot w/ the Aputure 120D & HR672

  1. That’s dope Francisco . Excellent work. Big fan. Check out my IG @kenherreraphotography would love to see you pass by to say hi. I’m already your follower. Take care.

  2. Hey Francisco, in your Q&A video with Ashley you mentioned making a "how to setup your a7iii" specifically for portrait photography. Any idea when you might make this?

  3. Loved the video, just I don’t know why it bugged me after a while your framing when talking to camera 🤓

  4. For the daylight shots I actually wouldn't have known the difference if you didn't tell me you were using continuous LED lights. The night shots look awesome. They definitely have a cinematic look to them.

  5. What's ur take on light meters? I've been on the fence. I'm sure it'd make the job easier but $300 for the good ones lol idk

  6. a good well balanced review… I use my rotolight Neo Leds for dusk,night & urbex shoots ..often now with the westcott halo (umbrella mount round soft box) ..& it gives beautiful soft light & something you never mentioned ..catchlight in the eye is nice… Leds have there limitations , I use a speedlight or strobe for day time shoots especially in very bright sun light… I do like the look of aperture 120 light… lovely images by the way..

  7. Great video! One thing I think is worth noting is that when working with LED lighting you can't just change shutter speed to control ambient. Since its continuous, slowing the shutter will also increase the exposure of the subject and the environment and vice versa with increasing the shutter speed

  8. super shots lots lovely bokeh on your 1.4 lens – in london its just about impossible to find a street like that where there are zero people wandering at any time of day or night around and the moment you get some equipment out theres always someone ready to have a moan that you shouldnt be there

  9. Great vid, thank you. Agree 100% about the pupils, I’ve always used at least 1 continuous light behind camera for that reason, even when using strobes

  10. Awesome work as usual bro. I’m actually experimenting with the differences between LED and strobe now too, so this is right on time 😁.

  11. Looked like a nice session…. I mean aside from the battery going dead. Thanks for the video!

    P.S: Which do you prefer; strobe or constant lighting? I mean… for this situation? Day Shoot? Twilight? Night? Thanks again for the REALLY informative videos. Keep up the great work! Oh, and isn't it nice to have such a helpful assistant?

  12. So much great info here! I love hearing tutorials and tips about lighting… and all equipment really. It makes buying decisions so much easier… Thanks for this one!

  13. Francisco – isn't LED light making model tired very quickly of strong light? Could it be used to making portraits od people that are not professional models?

  14. Bjr I have some questions to ask you I would like to know if you use your camera in manual and if the flash and also in manual and if you work in iso auto, and I notice that you often use the largest opening of your objective then or do you put the focus on the eye or other hand thank you. I am waiting for your proclamation. see you soon

  15. I've been so torn. I'm primarily a filmmaker so I've always needed continuous light. I've been getting into photography and been juggling the idea of only using continuous light. I hate owning tons of gear. This may be a solution for me. Thanks!

  16. hey i have couple questions. this video came past me on autoplay, did you find a replacement for the vagabond mini that will last longer for the Aputure 120D on full power? and i noticed your first show was 1/1000 @f1.4 , was that because of time of day?? thank for a reply anytime.

  17. I LOVE shooting at golden hour/blue hour and have been using HSS to shoot some of my portraits with a Godox TT685 speedlite. This video just convinced me to make the jump to LED lighting. I just ordered the Godox SLB-60W and Fotodiox deep parabolic softbox. One day I'll make the jump to the AD600 Pro or even the AD400 Pro

  18. Yep… another con about shooting with LEDs, as demonstrated at 10:38 is that you can't freeze motion that well… So blurred faces can happen… but very nice work otherwise. Nice composition, nice lighting.

  19. what's the power output for all three LED lights used for the shoots? are they all at full power all the time?

  20. '
    oh no…
    stop watch this video at 600…
    not like a lady's face with a makeup chair…
    better pretty pure natural face alone that way without a makeup chair

  21. Who shoots in the middle of the day in full sun light ? Just use reflectors. Scrim and reflectors. Flash is old technology.

  22. Hello from Kyiv Ukraine. I shoot fashion models and portraits and I am also a Sony shooter. You should check out the Rotolight Aeos and Neo 2. These are LEDs but they are different and are leading in LED technology for photography. I use Godox flashes and strobes and Rotolight LEDs and have no complaints. I am not criticising you but just sharing some information.

  23. Try Nanlite 500. Probably the most powerful LED. Nanlite 300 & 500 Forza are s-mount/Bowens mount. The real drawback to LED is that you can't control the background the way you can with flash. Using a light meter is a time saver, instead of spinning your dials all over till you finally guess right.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *