I’ve always been a fan of constant lighting. Now that we can get LED light panels with adjustable color temperatures, I like it even more.
I’ve been looking for some inexpensive LED panels for awhile, and of course Neewer came through. If you’ve never owned Neewer equipment, it’s worth taking a look at. They’re “good enough” if you know what you’re looking for, and don’t mind not having the bells and whistles or street cred that goes along with the more expensive name brand equipment. Two of my all-time favorite black and white portraits were lit with a desk lamp back in the late 90s when I couldn’t afford anything else. Light is light when you’re shooting in black and white.
The Neewer Bi-color 660 LED lights are $155 (at the time this post was written.) For that price, you get two adjustable color temperature panels with barn doors and diffuser sheets, 2 stands, and 2 cases (just for the lights–the stands don’t have a case.) The lights can be powered by the (included) AC adapters, or two of the typical Sony NP-F550 family of batteries.
I threw some blue transparent wrapping paper on them for two recent shoots. Since they’re LED, they don’t get hot enough to start anything on fire. The barn doors work well for controlling the light, and the dials on the back are easy enough to master. Don’t expect them to provide enough light for fast shutter speeds–these are really only useful for studio portraits and video.
They’re easy to pack around, and with the battery option, you aren’t limited to indoor portraits. They won’t overpower the sun, though, so keep that in mind. They’d be great for product photography, maybe even some interior residential photography (if the sun isn’t blasting into the windows.)
I took them to Portland on my last trip and they worked great after we lost the sunlight. They were just barely bright enough to light a portrait when shooting with the Polaroid SX-70. That thing needs a ton of light. I used a D-Fuse softbox on the lights for those images, and that did limit the brightness a bit.
Overall, they’re definitely worth the money. I find that since I have them around, I use them whenever I need quick, simple lighting.