Continuous lighting is exactly that - lights that are always on. Continuous lighting differs from strobe lighting, which flashes on and off. Continuous lighting is a staple of the motion picture industry, and also works well in situations when a photographer needs to see how the finished product will look prior to taking the picture. Light sources of this type range from basic indoor light fixtures to professional-grade lighting equipment.
Standard room lights are an easy and inexpensive light source. Both incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs can provide adequate photography lighting. For the best results, use only one type of bulb at a time. If using multiple bulbs, be sure they match in color and light intensity.
When you want more options, more power, or both, studio lights meet the need. Energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs are cost effective and produce little heat, although they don't provide as much wattage as other bulb types. Tungsten bulbs offer superior power. The trade-off is that these lights get hotter, sometimes making them hard to work with. Light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs consist of many small electronic lights. These LED video lights are inexpensive, long lasting, and maintain a cool temperature.
Once you've chosen your bulb, you'll need a way to support it. With light stands and mounting, you can secure lights at various heights and in different positions. Stands and mounts come in a variety of sizes, and most are adjustable. The most common types of stands are lightweight ones and C-stands. C-stands are more durable options that are very stable, can hold more weight, and have the ability to add attachments.
The studio photographer has other lighting accessory options available as well. For example, light modifiers can produce many different effects, while meters help control and adjust light and color. An easy and cost-effective way to assemble your set of studio lights is to use a continuous lighting kit. A basic one has lights and stands, while more advanced selections include other lighting accessories.
Continuous lighting is great for videographers and beginner photographers. For beginner photographers, continuous lighting offers a "what you see is what you get" scenario, making it easy to learn.
This type of setup works well for the seasoned photographer, too. Some people like to move away from the camera in order to view from a different angle or to reposition a subject or object. With a steady illumination source, you have the flexibility to do this without worrying about adjusting the light.
Continuous lighting offers a number of advantages for both photography and videography. Explore B&H Photo and Video's range of photo and video lights, to put together the lighting system that's right for you.