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Three basics to know about continuous light for product photography

Continuous light for product photography remains on until you turn it off. In contrast, strobe is synced with your camera and will turn on only when you press the shutter button. The continuous light allows you to control where the light goes on your product and see how it interacts in the scene by moving it around. In this article, we will focus on the following topics.

  1. What are the differences between flash and continuous lighting in product photography?
  2. What lighting equipment can you use for product photography?
  3. How to DIY continuous lighting for home product photography?
COLBOR CL220 best continuous light for product photography is used with reflector.

Continuous light or flash for product photography: What are their differences?

It is not an either-or situation for many photographers to have these two items in their photography kits. For different scenarios, continuous lights and flash lights both have their places. Continuous light differs from flash in that what you see is what you get. In general, flash is more powerful and can capture high-speed motion more accurately. Here are more details about these differences.

Power output

Continuous light for product photography often not powerful enough to allow for a small aperture like f/11 or f/16. In order to achieve this, either the shutter speed would have to be lowered or the ISO would have to be raised to levels that introduced grain to the image. Studio strobes allow you to overpower the ambient light. As a result, the photographer will be able to use a smaller aperture if he or she so desires.


Video continuous light can come with portable design. There are even some that sit on the hot shoe of the camera. Product photography is made easier with LED rind units. However, it cannot compare with a flash unit in terms of portability and power. Even though it is considered portable, the rind light has to be rather large to get even a fraction of the power of a flash. Flash units are basically small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.


Generally speaking, it is more convenient to shoot product photography with constant light. To get the most out of a flash unit, you'll need a handful of extra accessories. An external light meter will be required. With a consistent light source, you may quickly configure the shot using the camera's built-in light meter.

Unless you are shooting it from your camera's hot-shoe, a flash will require something to signal it to shoot. Off-camera flash usually produces the greatest results, especially for portraiture. Of course, the continuous light is constantly on and does not require any signals to tell it to create light.

Light modifier adaptability

Modifiers make it simple to change the shape, size, and harshness of your light. There are more alternatives for strobes than for continuous lights in this regard. Using flash systems, you have the option of employing huge umbrellas or changing the hue using gels.

If you want continuous light for product photography that is compatible with a wide rage of modifiers, the COLBOR CL220 is a good choice. Its Bowen mount design makes it compatible with a wide range of modifiers. With the NATO groove and supplied NATO expansion bar, it is also adaptable to photography accessories like stabilizers.

Table: Difference summary of continuous lighting vs strobe product photography

The table below offers a quick comparison of strobe and continuous lighting for product photography:



Can you see the lighting during setup?



Power output

Less powerful


Shutter speed

Need long shutter speeds

Allows for much faster shutter speeds

Can you use it for video?



How easy to use?


May be confusing if not understanding technical terms

Can it capture motions?



Create hard or soft light?



Can it overpower ambient light?



What kind of continuous light to buy for product photography?

There are 3 common types of lights for product photography on the market, including Tungsten, fluorescent, and LED lights. In recent years, LED continuous lighting has gained increasing popularity. And it brings the following benefits to product photography.

  • LED light produces less heat than other artificial light sources, so you won't be swamped in heat no matter where you shoot.
  • LED lighting consumes less energy, making it both efficient and environmentally beneficial.
  • LEDs are available in a variety of colors and intensities. And there are many LED fixtures that are adjustable at brightness, color temperature, etc, making it convenient to set up the right lighting for your product shooting.

How to DIY continuous lighting for product photography at home?

You can use any type of light as continuous light for product photography. Here are two common options.

If you use window light

Getting started is as easy as using window light, a white background, and some white foam board. You can often capture a good depth of field with window light. The only thing you need is a white paper background and reflectors.

It may not be practical to set up next to a window, however. It may not be possible to get light behind the product or have enough room to move around. Taking photos from different angles will be limited.

When taking product photos outdoors, you can take advantage of natural light. However, this puts you at the mercy of the weather. In one moment it may be cloudy, in the next it may be sunny or rainy.

If you use household lamps

Lighting your product photography with household lamps is very practical. Your continuous lighting kit for product photography should include two daylight, high wattage lights. With daylight bulbs, you'll be able to achieve a good white balance without having to adjust it in post-production.

You won't get the best light from your typical reading lamp bulb. Make sure you use white balanced bulbs that are as bright as possible. As a result, the light will be softer and create a more appealing shadow. Furthermore, you will be able to use a narrower aperture to increase the depth of field.

The best bulbs are fluorescent and LED because they produce very little heat and are very bright. Things can get pretty sticky when you're working near hot lights.