Three Ways to Use Continuous Lighting

A step-by-step guide!

Let’s talk continuous lighting!!! Now, I’ll be honest - when I first started my photo career I never imagined that I would be into using video lights for photoshoots. That just sounded wack to me. Boy, was I wrong!! Holy moly they are so much easier to use than flash lighting!! You can see in real time exactly where the light is hitting without having to take test photo after test photo to adjust your gear. In this blog post I’m going to show you how I used continuous lighting for THREE different shoots!! One was a video shoot - the other two were photo shoots with different effects.

1. Video Shoot: The most obvious use of the continuous lighting is for shooting video! But how do you create the perfect set-up?? Here’s some snap-shots of how I arranged my lighting equipment:

As you can see, I had them about 10-15 feet away from my model. One pointed directly into the ceiling so that the light can spill up and over the model. If you have white ceilings and walls - that helps soooo much with bouncing the light. The other light I had set pointed at the model to her right. There was some natural light coming in from the windows - so I wanted to use the lights to add to the lighting that was already there. It was important to make sure the model’s face and the product wasn’t in shadow or very dark in contrast to the window light. The amazing thing with these video lights (I used Fovitec) is that you can adjust the brightness, and add either blue or orange gels to match different white balances. And here is the finished product:

2. Gel lighting: I had been planting this idea to use colored gel lighting for soooo long. I wanted to create a very cool effect where the colored gel lights would highlight the back of my model’s hairline, while still keep her skin tone true to real life. For that, I would have to use two different colored lights.

I decided to use a pink colored gel for my backlight in order to mirror my pastel pink backdrop. I placed that light just behind my model and slightly to the right in order to let the light hit her hairline and pour over slightly onto her face. I had my backdrop and whole set up pointing towards my studio window in order to drawn in natural light - but also added a second light in front of her slightly to the left to increase the amount of light coming in front. Using gel lights are super easy - make sure you get REAL gels though - because cellophane or other kinds might melt if you’re lights get too hot. In addition to the gel lighting I had going on - I also used cellophane to play with in front of my camera’s lens.

Here is the finished product:

3. String Lighting Effect: When working with flash lighting - sometimes it’s hard to get the same effects you would if you were shooting outdoors in natural light. For this shoot I wanted to create a ‘twinkly light’ effect - but couldn’t do that with a flash! It had to be natural/continuous lighting!!

For this shoot I used two strings of ‘Christmas’ lights, two strings of clear twinkle lights, a C-stand, tape, and one LED video light. As you can see from my photos - I hung two set of lights onto the backdrop, and used both of the clear lights to hang in front down from the C-stand. I left a little extra slack in my lights hanging down so that I could grab them with my hand and play with them close to the lens. You’ll see in the finished product images that the lights appear to be in different levels of distance. That was super important for me to capture! I wanted my models to look as if they were surrounded by twinkling lights or in a beautiful snow filled wonderland!

Here is the finished product:

Thank you so much for reading along! Continuous LED lights have been something I’ve incorporated more and more into my photography work. I hope this inspires you to give it a chance too! I’m always down to help in any way that I can-message me on Instagram at @champagneunicorns 🦄 or send me an email at 💌