Continuous Lighting vs. Strobes: 2 Portrait Lighting Choice You Should Know!

Continuous Lighting vs. Strobes: 2 Portrait Lighting Choice You Should Know!

Reading Continuous Lighting vs. Strobes: 2 Portrait Lighting Choice You Should Know! 9 minutes Next What are The Best Lenses for Studio Photography?

03 APR, 2020 | BY DYLAN YU

Lighting use is always like a big test in portrait photography. The art of portrait lighting can not only improve the visual effects but also bring out the personality. If you want to capture dramatic portraits, it can be a bit confusing task to choose a new lighting equipment to start with.

There are many varieties such as strobe flash, speedlite, softbox , LED lights, etc. Most of them can be divided into two main types:  Continuous lights or Strobe lights(flash).

Here is a in-depth tutorial in which we will show you the feature of the both, talk about some pros and cons of each. We even interview an professional photographer to show the difference in practice, to help you clearly understand which one is right for your photography.

What is Continuous Lighting?

When we talk about continuous lighting, we mean lights that are always on. it can be full-colour RGB lamps, or a soft light LED. Generally, it can be any light source that ongoing when you turn that on!

You can power them up or down, according to your requirements. You can even adjust the color temperature. Take a picture, and you’ll find that in your frame the light you see is the light you get. Only if you set a correct exposure of your camera, you can always capture the lighting you want before before pressing the shutter.

What is Strobe?

Strobes are simply a flash device that delivers a flash that syncs with your camera. Many photographers start with a speed light setting on your camera. It generates a rapid burst of light all at once. Photographers just need to trigger the strobe to be produced by pressing the shutter button on their camera. And you can see the light you want only in your pictures.

As one of our wonderful customers — Jennifer Cosby in Kate VIP Group shared: ‘Continuous lighting does not produce enough power. Strobes give you a huge burst all at once. They help with shadows, noise, and help to freeze movement.’

Which is Better for You?

It may be the first time you start a session in your own home studio, or you have been hesitated on this issue for a long term. Most professional photographers may tell you they are using strobes, while you may find continuous/soft box lighting is more convenient sometimes.

Which is better for you? To answer this question, we interview a great photographer in Kate’s team——Kevin. Let’s see what will happen when we use a strobe flash or a continuous lighting?

Kevin:

‘ Alright. There are always concern about the difference between continuous lighting and strobe lighting. So today I will show you these two types of lighting during the living sessions.

We have our model here, and you can see now both key light and background light have been prepared already. Now I need some fill lights on her face or eyes as catch light, and add light to deep shadows.

Now, turn my LED light (Aputure 300D) on, test the light intensity, and I achieve a light effect I want. ‘Take a photo.’ In the picture, we can see the light you see is the light you get. To some extent you may find it is convenient for shooting and posing. You even don’t need a remote and you can achieve the visual effect you want by adjusting the LED light.

Next I’m gonna turn off the light and take a picture with strobe flash, and you can see what it looks like with what strobe can do! (Godox AD600 + PLM umbrella)

You can see the difference is little. The fill lighting is evenly and the background isn’t overpowering. ’

So, The Truth is:

For a beginner, you may find continuous lighting give you more tolerance. The light you see is the light you get. However, the light burns more energy while putting more unnecessary light on model. So actually you don’t get enough power effectively at that moment.

Also, more unnecessary light means more heat. It will be overwhelming for model and too bright for eyes to have continuous lighting on them during the session. But then again, a good continuous lighting system can be more powerful while cooler - even after staying on for a while! They are also white-balance-friendly and you don’t need to constantly adjust them.

For strobe, flash device generate a rapid burst of light. It’s powerful and effective. There is no unnecessary light and can be adjusted and modified for an extensive range of creative control. With remote and modifiers, you can solve shadows, noise, and help to still subjects. But remember to preview by shoot.

Bonus: 5 Best Strobe Flash You Can Try in 2023

  1. NEEWER Vision 4 300W GN60 Outdoor Studio Flash

NEEWER Vision 4 300W GN60 Outdoor Studio Flash With Reflector

Image credit: amazon.com

The NEEWER Vision 4 300W GN60 Outdoor Studio Flash With Reflector is a powerful and versatile lighting solution for photographers who want to shoot outdoors or in the studio. It features a built-in 2.4G wireless system that allows you to control the flash from a distance of up to 100 feet.

Specifications

  • 300W flash power with a guide number of 60m
  • Built-in 2.4G wireless system
  • Bowens mount design
  • Recycle time of 0.4 to 2.5 seconds
  • Color temperature of 5600K

Pros 

  • Powerful flash output
  • Built-in wireless system for easy remote control
  • Compatible with Bowens mount accessories
  • Short recycle time for quick shooting

Cons

  • Some users report issues with the wireless system
  • Large and heavy, may not be ideal for on-the-go photography

2. NEEWER New Version S101-300W Studio Monolight Strobe Flash

NEEWER New Version S101-300W Studio Monolight Strobe Flash

Image credit: amazon.com

The NEEWER New Version S101-300W Studio Monolight Strobe Flash is another powerful lighting solution for photographers. With 300W flash power and a guide number of 58m, this monolight strobe flash is capable of delivering high-quality light for your photoshoots.

Specifications

  • 300W flash power with a guide number of 58m
  • Bowens mount design
  • Recycle time of 0.4 to 2.5 seconds
  • Color temperature of 5600K

Pros 

  • Powerful flash output
  • Compatible with Bowens mount accessories
  • Short recycle time for quick shooting
  • Lightweight and compact design

Cons

  1. No built-in wireless system

  2. Some users report issues with the flash trigger

3. Godox SK400II Kit

Godox SK400II Kit

Image credit: amazon.com

The Godox SK400II Kit is a professional-grade lighting solution that includes everything you need to get started with studio photography. With 400W flash power and a guide number of 65m, this kit is capable of delivering powerful and consistent lighting for your photoshoots.

Specifications

  • 400W flash power with a guide number of 65m
  • Bowens mount design
  • Wireless remote control
  • Recycle time of 0.1 to 1 second
  • Color temperature of 5600K

Pros 

  • High flash output and guide number
  • Comes with wireless remote control for easy operation
  • Short recycle time for quick shooting
  • Compatible with Bowens mount accessories

Cons

  • Does not include light stands or modifiers
  • Some users report issues with the wireless system

4. Westcott FJ200



Westcott FJ200

Image credit: amazon.com

The Westcott FJ200 is a portable and powerful lighting solution for photographers who need to shoot on the go. With 200W flash power and a guide number of 170ft at ISO 100, this light provides consistent and accurate lighting for your photos.

Specifications

  • 200W flash power with a guide number of 170ft at ISO 100
  • Lithium polymer battery with up to 480 full-power flashes per charge
  • Modular design for easy storage and transportation
  • Color temperature of 5600K

Pros 

  • Lightweight and portable for on-the-go photography
  • Powerful flash output
  • Long-lasting battery with up to 480 flashes per charge
  • Modular design for easy storage and transportation

Cons

  • Some users report issues with the battery life
  • Expensive compared to other portable lighting solutions

5. Flashpoint XPLOR 100 Pro


https://www.amazon.com/Flashpoint-XPLOR-100-Battery-Powered-Monolight/dp/B08TMZSB4D?th=1

Image credit: amazon.com

The Flashpoint XPLOR 100 Pro is a powerful battery-powered monolight that gives you the freedom to shoot anywhere, anytime. With 100W flash power and a guide number of 64m, this light is capable of delivering consistent and accurate lighting for your photoshoots.

Specifications

  • 100W flash power with a guide number of 64m
  • Lithium polymer battery with up to 360 full-power flashes per charge
  • Built-in R2 2.4GHz wireless system
  • Color temperature of 5600K

Pros 

  • Portable and battery-powered for on-the-go photography
  • Built-in wireless system for easy remote control
  • Long-lasting battery with up to 360 flashes per charge
  • Powerful flash output and guide number

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other battery-powered options
  • Some users report issues with the wireless system

Conclusion

So, the conclusion is, it depends on what you want and what you prefer. Professional photographers may tell you strobe is better, for they have been good at light use. If your budget is enough and you are still confused on expert light use, continuous is also a good choice.

 

What's your advice on continuous lighting & strobes? Is there any suggestions for light use? Please feel free to contact us by FB or e-mail us: support@katebackdrop.com You can also receive free articles, updates as well as discount information from:https://www.katebackdrop.com/

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