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Lighting with Constant Light

Lesson 4 of 18

Controlling Light Output and Color Temperature

Mark Wallace

Lighting with Constant Light

Mark Wallace

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Lesson Info

4. Controlling Light Output and Color Temperature
We take a closer look at controlling the brightness of our lights. Controls for Tungsten and LED lights work in different ways, and Mark explains the differences. Mark explains ways to change the color temperature of constant lights. Finally, Mark reviews the basic controls of common LED lights.

Lesson Info

Controlling Light Output and Color Temperature

let's talk about controlling the light output and the color temperature of both of these systems. The LED lights and the tungsten lights. You'll see big differences between the two now for us to see what's going on here, notice we have lights in the sky here and lights on me in the studio. We need to turn those off so we can make it dark back here. So yeah, it's very dark back here. So the only light that we're seeing right now is the light that's coming from two lights that are illuminating me but they won't really impact what's happening behind me. So back behind me, I have two specific lights. I have a tungsten light. This is an airy 6 50. It's old school is sort of industry standard and then I have a nan light for 60 B. This guy is an LED light chip on board and it's by color so I can change the color temperature of this, which is really cool. So what I want to do is start with the tungsten head this area 6 50. And so to turn it on, there is a switch, I hit that switch, it turns on...

and now you can see that we have a light on the background, looks like a son going away. There we go. So what I can do with this light, if I spin it around here, you'll notice on the very, very front we have this final lens. We're gonna talk about what a final lens is later. All you have to really know is that it's on there and so now we're gonna go back, turn this on and what I can do is there is a knob on the very back of this head. So there's this little knob right here. I can turn that and what it does is inside this there is a reflector and then there's a light. So when I turn it that is moving forward and back so we can get a tight shot. I think of this. Yeah, so that's moving this forward and back and so the distance between the light and that lens is changing so we can focus what is coming out so we can see the effect of that when I go back here on the background and I roll that out big wide beam of light. I dial that in very concentrated beam of light and very bright. So that is how that works. So we're controlling that. We also have these barn doors on the front, these little guys right here. So if I wanted to maybe cut off some light, I can do that. I can make it a strip. I can turn it, make it an angle, You can do some interesting things for video by using those barn doors so it's really groovy. So we can change the shape of the light using those barn doors. Okay, so that is our tungsten light. Very very elementary. Turn it on and off, zooming in and out and use the barn doors to change the shape of the light. What about this nan light here? So I'm gonna turn this guy on and before I do, I want to make sure that you can see that on the front of this. We have that same final lens so we are comparing apples to apples. The other thing I can do here is instead of having a knob behind, I have this big dial right here and what it's doing is it is changing the distance from the lens to the light. The led light and so on. Are tungsten light. The light was moving and the lens was staying the same on this, the lens is moving, the light is staying the same. The effect is identical. So what I can do is I can turn this guy on and I will point it at the background and when I do that you can see that I can zoom in and we have that very orange light back there like we did before. I can zoom this out. We've got a nice wide area of light and that is just like our uh tungsten light. So we have the same controls, turn it on and off, zooming in and out. There's also barn doors that we will use for these. I just didn't put it on right now but we have the same ability so that those controls are very very similar. Here's where things change dramatically and that is controlling how much light is coming out of these different lights now with the tungsten light when you turn it on its full blast, you can't dim that light. And so the way that we deem it is we use are called scrims. And so I've got one here, you can see that guy right there. This has a little grid on there and depending on the density of the grid, it blocks out more or less light. So we've got that one, we got this one right here. This is not quite as dense. And so what we have is we have a red which is I think a full stop and a green which is a half stop. So if you need lot more light blocks, you can stack these red guys one stop to stop or green or a combination between And so you will put these in to make the light dimmer. So these, by the way, you get extremely hot because this light is very, very hot. So that's why they have all these burn marks on them because they get really oven hot. So what I can do, so I want to make this light a little bit dimmer, we can see on the background, I'll zoom in see in the background with that big bright light, I will put in a red full stop and when I do that you can see that gets dimmer. So we'll stay on the background. So I'll drop in another one, you can see it again. Get dimmer and I'll put in a green one gets dimmer and another green one and it gets much dimmer. So we change the output of this light by adding and subtracting these little things now. These are already so hot that if I want to take them out, I need to use gloves and so I'm just gonna leave them there for now when they cool off a little bit, we'll come back to this. So how do we change the light output this light led light? We want to do that. I will turn it on, I will zoom it in. So we have a similar looking light Now if I want to change that there's a little knob over here, you can see that. It has a percentage, I think that shows 100% if they don't get a glare. There we go. Um and so all I have to do is I roll this dial so it goes from 100% down to whatever I want. So you can see on the background if I want to change that, I just roll it down, it's dim, I roll it up, it's bright, I don't have to do anything with it. It's not gonna burn my hands, I can change the intensity very very easily and I don't have to remember how many scrims of red and green that I put in and all the combos, I can just say, oh yeah that was at 30%. If I want to remember that later. Also notice that this light is orange. That's because if we look on the background here on the back of this you can see that uh that shows 27, there we go. 20 700 Kelvin. So this guy is set to a color temperature that let me bring it up to around there There we go. 3600. So now this guy and the 3200, when we're thinking 30 200. So this guy here is now the same color temperature as this tungsten, like they're the same. Okay, so knowing that the same color temperature, let's do a little thing. What I want to do, I'm gonna take these out one by one. Hot yikes. Okay, hot potato. So what I wanna do is what if I want to change the color temperature of a tungsten light? So right now the light that you're seeing on me, these there's two lights hitting me right now they are set to daylight. So there at about 5200 kelvin, a little bit more than that, the Tungsten light is at 3200 Kelvin. So when I turn it on because we balanced our video camera to that daylight temperature when we look at this light back here it looks orange because it's a different color temperature. So we want to do, if we want to balance that is, we have to go old school, you have to use a gel, you have to use a physical gel to change that. So what I'll do is I'll put this gel over this and notice as soon as I do that it goes from orange to nice white, normal light. I'll just make a little bit brighter, so notice that's orange. I put my color temperature blue gel on there. Now the color matches, it's just brighter. It's not a different color orange and this, So that's pretty simple. If you're just flipping between a tungsten light, which is about 3200 kelvin to daylight, which is about 52 or kelvin. You can just use what's called ctb color temperature blue. How I remember it gel and stick it on there. It gets more complicated though, is if you have mixed light, maybe you're shooting on location and you're trying to balance all the light so it's consistent. Um what you might have to do is run around using a color meter to figure out what's the color temperature of all these different lights and what's the color temperature of your tungsten lights and then what's the difference and it will tell you which gel to use. And then you have to have a bunch of different gels to get it to the right color temperature, so that your tungsten light matches. What if it's 4500 kelvin Or if it's 5900 Kelvin, you need different gels to get there. So this is a huge difference with an LED light. So what we're gonna do here, remember this is set to the same color temperature as my area light here. So if I zoom that in a little bit, you can see we have what looks more like a son. I can even take the color temperature down. It's very, very orange. If I want to change that and make it the same as the lights in our studio, I don't even need gels. So over here you can see on the back there's a little, a little color temperature. If I hit that it goes from brightness to color temperature, I just change it. Things change that. So if we look at the background now, you can see that I'm changing it from orange to white, two more blue and I can just roll this around until my color temperature matches. I don't need a bunch of gels. If I have my color meter, my fancy color meter and I see that one light is at 5600 kelvin and I need that to be at fifty six hundred seven, I just go to 5600 kelvin or if I need to go to 4000 or whatever I want, I just and I'm done, I don't have to have a bunch of gel. I don't have to be buying it over and over and guess what? This is not burning my hand. I'm putting my hand on this all day long. And so this is a cool light. It is hot on the chip. You don't want to touch that. It will bring your hand but the rest of it. No problem at all. I am not toasting my hand. This guy right here. I still can't touch it even though it's been off for a few minutes. Okay. So that is how we control the light output and we control the color temperature. You can see that LED lights are far superior to tungsten lights in that regard. So next, what I wanna do is I want to compare instead of tungsten and LED lights. I want to compare constant light. So tungsten or led to flash. What are the differences? So why? Why would you use constant light instead of flash? And when does it make sense to only use flash? We're gonna get into that next

Class Description


  • Shape light using specific light fixtures and modifiers
  • Understand the different types of LED lights and the benefits of each
  • Freeze motion to create stunning action photos
  • Mix RGB light to create interesting color effects
  • Work with different light modifiers to get the exact look you want
  • Create lighting setups that fit your style


For years constant lights have been reserved for video and film production only. But things have changed dramatically in a short amount of time. Using state-of-the-art LED lights, you can create stunning portraits, freeze motion, and create video content. You no longer need two lighting systems.

In this class, Mark Wallace explains the different types of constant light, uses hands-on demonstrations to show you how to control light, and creates many of his favorite lighting styles.

Mark explains the different types of light fixtures and light modifiers to help you make an informed decision when purchasing your lights. This class is perfect for anyone who wants to create interesting portraits and videos using LED lights.


  • Beginner to Intermediate portrait photographers
  • Anyone looking to use constant light for still photography as well as video
  • Photographers looking to expand their creative horizons by using new tools


Adobe Photoshop CC 2021
Adobe Lightroom Classic 2021


Mark Wallace is a photographer based in the United States. Best known for his web-based video series Digital Photography One on One and Exploring Photography sponsored by Adorama.

Millions of people have watched Mark’s videos on YouTube, and the numbers continue to grow. Mark has a solid social media following on Facebook and Twitter, where he spends time with viewers and workshop attendees.

In 2014, Mark left the United States to embark on a 2-year worldwide adventure. He visited 28 countries and captured thousands of unique photographs across the globe.

In 2016 Mark decided to give up planes, trains, and automobiles and is now exploring the world on his motorcycle.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Tether Tools Pro Kit Discount

Tether Tools Starter Kit Discount

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Great course very informative and a pleasure to watch love the way you teach so easy to understand and follow through. learned a lot about continuous lighting ty

Alessandro Zugno

This is a very useful class for who want to start shooting video or photo with constant light. Creative Live should make more class on videography.