As the demand for video increases in a photographer’s workflow, so does the need for additional continuous lighting. The advent of LED lighting has seen the arrival of many lightweight and versatile products, such as the Yongnuo YN-160S Pro LED Video Light. The YN-160S features 160 LED lamps with 16 levels of adjustment, 5500K color temperature, is compatible with seven different kinds of batteries, ships with two filters, one hot shoe mount (with metal foot) and table stand.
This little guy has become one of the most frequently used (and abused) tools in my bag, and not just for video fill. Should an impromptu portrait shoot arise, I’m likely to have only one flash and maybe a reflector on hand at the time. With a compact LED or two in the bag, I can quickly throw a second or third continuous light source in the mix to further separate my subject and establish a sense of depth.
The above image represents one such occasion, the subject happens to be a good friend and I wanted to grab a quick portrait on a recent family visit. Setup was quick and very straight-forward: We have an umbrella-diffused Canon 430EXII flash positioned just off camera-right, placed at eye-level to pop a little light into the face and eyes. Our LED source is stand-mounted at camera-left, and located just behind the subject to generate a subtle, defining edge of light around the head and shoulders.
Here we have a similar setup as in the image above, except we’re now shooting outside and the LED has been repositioned at camera-right to accommodate the background. We’ve also added a grid (snoot) to direct and hold the flash to the face area only. Cranking the YN-160 to nearly full power, the plan was to highlight the microfibers around the fringe of the hoodie and emulate the ambient glow of city light in the background.
Weighing in at only $40 retail, this system is capable of providing small solutions to big problems and has bailed me out of more than one poorly-lit predicament. The light is easily mountable for nearly any scenario, even light enough to be secured in odd places with gaffers tape. The YN-160S is designed to accept a variety of batteries, including AA. Max run time at full-charge is around 15 hours on a compatible 5800mAh camcorder battery.
While I do highly recommend this product for its versatile size and function, the Yongnuo YN-160S LED operates at only 9 watts max power and is not capable of a large throw. Should you have need of added firepower or would like to experiment with a variety of continuous LED solutions, talk to our friends at LensRentals.com and enlist all the power your project needs.
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