Here’s the latest addition to my camera bag. Video lights are bright white lights designed for shooting video, which needs continuous light rather than the brief flash that is enough for a still photograph. Lots of people use video lights for wedding photography because you can see the real results of the lighting as you move it around before you take the photo. Personally I tend to stick with flash because it’s light weight, more powerful and with experience you can get the result you want.
But there is one area where I’ve found video light very useful, and that’s detail shots. When you’re photographing something small and fiddly up close you want the shadows to fall nicely, to add colour and definition to the shapes. I wouldn’t want to carry the full size video light around for this, but this dinky one is perfect.
This is the Aputure AL-M9 video light. It’s got a USB rechargeable battery, and I’ve no idea how long it lasts because I only use it for a few seconds at a time. It’s smaller than a phone, and actually it feels like you’re using the light on your phone, only 1000 times brighter. It does come with a plastic clip on tripod and hot-shoe mount, but I just hold it like this.
Here’s an example from last week’s (gorgeous) wedding. When you’re in a hurry at a wedding there isn’t a lot of time to take the flowers off somewhere and find the perfect lighting. So here I put them on the coffee table in the lounge and used the video light. First the shot without it. It’s perfectly fine already, but with the video light off to the right hand side, you get more shape to the roses, more contrast and colour.
It’s an example of the little extras we put into our work without going on about it (except here on the blog) to make the photos that bit extra special or make the day run smoothly. You don’t need to know everything we do, but when the photos come back looking amazing, it’s worth every little bit.