LED panels for photo work have many advantages over previous light sources. They are cool to the touch, easily adjusted for output, and we can even tweak the color temperature. One thing that LEDs do share with their predecessors, however, is the need to be diffused.
Take a look at the example below. The image on the left was captured with a simple diffusion panel over the light. The photo on the right had a Rosco frosted gel over the lights, but nothing more. As a result, the highlights are quite bright and the shadows are intense.
The product shot on the left used an additional diffusion panel; the image on the right had just a basic frosted gel.
Granted, this is a difficult subject with its dark color and reflective surface. But we have to photograph these types of objects all the time.
For my lights, I've added a fabric diffusion panel made from the same material as our traditional soft boxes. By doing so, I've tamed the light when needed, making it easier for both product shots and portraits.
This doesn't mean that I won't use strobes and soft boxes when the job demands it. I will. But for quick product shots and basic portraits, this system works great.
Note: The light illustrated in this article is the Dracast LED500 Pro Bi-Color LED Light with V-Mount Battery Plate outfitted with the optional Barndoors kit.
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