Photography with LED Lighting

Photography Dates: December 6 & 13, 2018

I recently picked up some LED light panels to use with my food photography. I’ve used off camera flash in the past with some good results but I wanted to be able to monitor brightness and color balance using constant lighting. As you can see in most of the photos I used a white balance card to set my white balance. I set the WB in camera and then compared the values using the WB dropper in LightRoom. Using a card with flash photography isn’t perfect because we don’t get the full  flash when setting the balance.   You can get close but you don’t really know what you have until you import the pictures.

Using some produce and souvenirs we bought on our various Southwest trips, I set up some test pictures to see how it would work out. In addition to brightness and color balance I wanted to avoid hot spots and diminish shadows.

I used an Aputure Amaran HR672S and two Aputure Amaran H198 lights. Diffusion is essential; pointing the lights at the subject, even using the included diffusion panels left really harsh shadows. For the most part I used two lights coming from 4 o’Clock and 8 o’Clock with the third light pointed either behind the subject or reflected off a white poster board at the back of the picture.

First up, lemons and an onion on our counter top. It is difficult to get the WB correct with this countertop; there is so much brown that when the camera tries to do auto white balance, the photos come out with a dramatic orange bias. But using the WB card to set the balance and shooting with the same light I got pretty close.

LED Lighting Samples

 In the next picture the camera set a white balance of 4,950; Lightroom adjusted it just a tad to 5,150. I don’t see any hot spots but there is a discernible shadow behind the dude with the blue head.

LED Lighting Test

I used the colorful guy with spiky hair to see how colors came out. I did not use a White Balance card in this photo.

LED Lighting Samples

A few days later I tried again while using a white balance card. It made a difference, this is a little bluer than the first one. I think the difference is that I used brighter light here so the Brightness Value is 6.29 compared with 5.91 for the first. I think the color is more accurate – especially the background. 

LED Lighting Samples

I finished with some more produce. A little bit of a hot spot on the onion.

LED Lighting sample

It was a fun couple of days of testing. I’m looking forward to developing my skills.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.