Kenro’s brand-new Smart Lite line-up opens the door to powerful and portable lighting that goes anywhere and is equally at home whether you’re shooting stills or working on a video production.
In these ever-changing times, the role of a professional photographer is evolving rapidly, and you’re just as likely these days to find yourself being asked to produce some video footage using your state-of-the- art hybrid camera as you are to be shooting conventional stills. In short you need to be adaptable and, in a position, where you can meet pretty much whatever brief might come your way. As motion becomes mainstream that means having the kit that will help you to become more of an all-round content creator.
Modern cameras have made shooting video straightforward these days, but you need to be thinking about your accessories, and lighting is one key area where technology is keeping pace with changing demands. In particular, LED fixtures, such as the latest Smart Lite line-up from Kenro, have truly come of age in recent times, offering much more in the way of robustness, power and versatility than their compatriots of not so long ago. They’re also keenly priced, and just as in tune with the modern hybrid way of working as the latest breed of top-end mirrorless cameras.
Working with LED
So, what are the advantages of LED lighting that helps to make it such an obvious way to go for the contemporary photographer? Well, for a start, think portability. Products such as the Kenro Smart Lite Bi-Colour Compact LED Video Light or the Kenro Smart Lite RGB Compact LED Video Light, priced at £49.99 and £84.99 respectively, are perfect for the creative on the move. They offer seamlessly variable output at the twist of a dial, from the tiniest pop of fill-in through to full-on output that can lift the shadows off the face of an interviewee. Meanwhile, at just 149x80x14mm and weighing only 200g, they can fit in the side pocket of your gadget bag and are capable of running for ages on built-in rechargeable lithium batteries.
The RGB version further offers the ability to deliver a huge range of coloured lighting options, again at the twist of a control or a tap of your smartphone screen. Given the size and the pricing, astute operators can invest in four or more of these units plus a selection of portable lighting stands and suddenly you’ve got an adaptable lighting set-up that's perfect for the wedding or portrait professional, for an outlay of just a few hundred pounds. For good measure you'll also have the ability to employ unlimited coloured lighting effects.
Naturally, being continuous, this kind of lighting is equally suited to both stills and motion, plus you can see exactly what you’re getting in real time, so there's no need for modelling lights and you can play with positioning and output levels to your heart’s content. The icing on the cake is that they’re also beautifully made, with a solid metal case, meaning that they’re well up to a professional lifestyle as well.
The Kenro Smart Lite range comes with plenty of options. If you fancy a larger panel then the 245x238mm RGB Video Light Panel will do the job and, at just £189.99, it’s brilliant value, with the same ability to deliver a wide range of different coloured lighting. The palm-sized Kenro Smart Lite Compact RGB Tube Light offers yet another option, being designed to be placed in all kinds of hard-to-reach areas, or even to be handheld by an assistant, and again the price is keen at just £89.99. And then there’s the Kenro Smart Lite 19in RGB Ring Light Kit, priced at £169.99, which is perfect for those into vlogging or who might want to light their portrait subject so that they have the distinctive, and very attractive, ring light catchlight in their eye.
These lights come with the added bonus that they can be controlled by a smartphone app, so you can play around with your settings from a central control point and even have your lights mounted in inaccessible places and still be able to stay in full control throughout the process.
Contrast all of that to a traditional non- LED lighting fixture and the advantages of working with modern continuous lighting become only too clear. On the lighting front the future is here right now, and it’s exciting to think what further developments might be lying just around the corner.
Written by Terry Hope, article first published by Professional Photo