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Three basics about constant light in photography and videography

Constant light remains on and offers consistent illumination until it is turned off or the battery expires. Constant light source ranges from ordinary home lamps to constant studio light, not to mention the sunshine. In this article, we will go through continuous running artificial fixtures that video creators and photographers use to illuminate their subjects. Read on to learn about the following aspects.

  1. What is constant light and what are its types?
  2. What are the pros and cons of using it for photography and videography?
  3. What are the differences between flash and constant lights?

Use COLBOR CL220 LED constant light for indoor shooting

Video: What is constant light and its types?

As the name suggests, it provides lighting constantly, which is different from strobes and flashes that give a bright light burst only when activated. It comes in three common types, including LED, tungsten, and fluorescent.

LED constant light

LED studio lights are now the most energy-efficient lighting technology available. A Light-Emitting Diode (LED) is a tiny device that emits light when an electric current flows through it. Tens or hundreds of LED beads are packed together to create a large light source. LEDs are more sturdy than traditional lighting, emit less heat, and offer adjustable color temperatures and more settings to allow more lighting flexibility in your photographs and videos.

The COLBOR CL220, for example, is a good LED constant light for photography and videos. It provides constant 220W power output at each color temperature. The 96+ CRI ensures accurate color reproduction. For more product details, you can check the video by YouTuber Jason Morris and see how it performs in video filming.


Tungsten lights are the most affordable and are frequently purchased by photographers on a restricted budget. They provide a warm artificial tone that is often a beautiful golden yellow color. Tungstens are on the lower end of the price spectrum since they produce much heat, consume a lot of energy, and aren't daylight balanced, coming with a color temperature of 3200K.


Fluorescent lights offer cooler color temperatures. They emulate pure daylight and come at a color temperature of 5600K. They are in the shape of huge bulbs, which are tall, cylindrically shaped, and coiled like a spring. This type of constant light also produces little heat which plays a big role in long-time shooting.

What are pros and cons of using constant lights for video and photography?

Using constant light brings benefits including real-time preview, simple operation, and working well for both photography and videos. The drawbacks include lower power, tricky fast-motion shooting, and more heat emission.


Real-time preview: Continuous light for photography allows photographers to check the lighting in real time. You can get aware of the exact result when making a setup since the light remains on and constant. This also makes it simple to adjust the intensity, placement, and other settings.

Constant lighting is simple and Intuitive: Like natural lighting, it is frequently seen as being simpler and more user-friendly for beginners than flash lighting. You may switch on the lights, set them in the right positions, and start filming with continuous lighting. This simplicity makes it the perfect option for photographers who choose a more direct style. You get exactly what you see.

Continuous lighting is the same for a video workflow: It provides flexibility. It may be used for many forms of photography as well as for video filming. Video lighting follows the same rules as photography lighting. The workflow for video may be readily adapted from what you learn in photography.


Constant light tends to result in less-crisp images: Because it is less intense, camera settings may result in less-crisp images. This issue causes fewer problems with shooting as the camera evolves, but sometimes it may be a limitation.

It makes it difficult to freeze motion: You are unable to set your camera to very fast shutter speeds due to the lack of light. For rapid motion to be frozen, the shutter speed must be at least 1/500th of a second. At slower shutter speeds, it might be difficult to get a bright image.

It may produce much heat: Some constant lights, especially the older types, will get hot after staying on for a long time. This will make the subject feel uncomfortable when using constant light for portraits and cause trouble to food photography. Fortunately, modern LED, fluorescent, HMI (Halide Metal Oxide) or even tungsten lights consume far less power and produce significantly less heat than older lights.

Flash VS constant light: What are their differences?

They are generally different in the following aspects.

Constant light offers real-time preview while flash requires trial and error

Constant light eliminates the uncertainty of knowing where or how the light will fall on your subject. What you see in-camera in terms of lens flare, lighting, bokeh, and so on, particularly when using live view, is precisely what you'll get when you press the shutter button. This is extremely handy when learning how to place your light for various lighting patterns.

The flash, however, doesn’t offer the same “what you see is what you get” effect as constant illumination. As a result, Before you can lock in your location and power settings, you'll probably need to do some more trial and error. Of course, whatever of the specific gear you use, the more you practice and become acquainted with your flash gear, the smoother and faster this procedure will become.

Constant light usually comes in lower power than flash

Simply put, flash units provide significantly higher power than continuous lights. As a result, while shooting outside in bright sunshine, photographers generally utilize flash to add lighting. Furthermore, as the name implies, continual lights require a constant power supply. Even with a battery option, heavy usage might result in decreased battery life, which is something to consider.

They are recommended for different applications

Constant light is advised to be used as indoor lighting for video shooting or used in darker environments. As aforementioned, consistent light allows you to see the outcomes in-camera and eliminates most of the guesswork in a lighting setup. The modeling light on many flashes is merely for focusing, and it may take some time to try and dial in settings before you achieve the correct exposure. This becomes more of an issue when filming against a pressured deadline, which is common at occasions like weddings.

When photographing outside, particularly during the day, your only truly practical choice is flash. For starters, the small size allows you to take your lights everywhere, indoors or out. Second, flashes have enough power to overwhelm almost any existing light source. Finally, additional power allows you to utilize larger modifiers and obtain more light coverage from longer distances, allowing you to regulate light falloff and make the transition between highlight and shade as severe or seamless as you desire.