pulsed light vs constant

Constant light or pulsed - pros and cons

If you are a photographer, then you have two options for working with artificial light - constant light and pulsed light. At videographers There is only one option - constant light. Let's take a look at how they differ.

  • Permanent light sources give a continuous light output. That is, the subject remains highlighted during the entire shooting. Constant light is also called natural light, because. any light that we see with our own eyes is constant - the light of the sun, lanterns on the street, light bulbs in the entrance during the ransom of the bride, and so on. But we will talk about controlled constant light, which you can customize to suit your needs. This is an artificial constant light.
  • Pulse light source fires for a short moment at the command of the photographer. Impulse sources include all kinds of flashes - built-in, on-camera, studio. Such light is more artificial in nature. In nature, lightning can be attributed to impulse sources, but you can hardly use them to illuminate the model.

Each type of light has objective pros and cons. Also, each type of light already has its adherents and fans. In this article, I will mainly talk about the use of light in photography.

Let's start with something simpler permanent light.

Constant light

Traditionally, constant light has always been the prerogative of video/film production. But now, due to the vulgarization of the photograph (my subjective opinion and expression) more and more people with cameras are using constant light instead of the traditional pulsed light. And more and more photo studios focuses on natural constant lighting from huge windows.

constant light


1. It is immediately visible

What they love about constant light is the ability to immediately see what the result will be. What exposure you put on the camera will be seen on the screen. Considering that now everyone is moving to mirrorless with a constant view of the finished result both on the screen and in the viewfinder, this type of lighting greatly simplifies the entire shooting process.

2. You can shoot on your phone

With constant light shoot on phone. Now a lot of people take pictures not on cameras, but on phones. Even for commercial purposes.

For example, the online shop can rent a photo studio with constant light and independently shoot a catalog on a white background on the phone without an invitation professional photographer.

Mobile photography has greatly expanded its scope. Some phones have flash syncs, but their use is the exception rather than the rule.

3. Flexible shutter speed and exposure control

With constant light, you have full use of all the parameters of the exposure triangle: shutter speed, aperture and ISO value.

As for the shutter speed, with constant you can get an intentional blurring effect by setting the shutter speed to be longer. With pulsed light, this will not work - it freezes any movement.

And by setting the shutter speed even longer, you can shoot a static subject at a very closed aperture. This is not correct due to the increase in noise level, possible stirring, light pollution and other nuances. But one way or another, you have the opportunity to expose the frame in almost any way you like.

If you do not have a strong enough impulse source, this can only be cured by purchasing another, more powerful one.

4. "Advantage" of low power

It is convenient to work with constant light on open apertures, because. such sources can be put at very low power. I put the word "advantage" in quotation marks, because. and with a pulsed one you can achieve this effect, but it will be more difficult - you need to buy a more expensive source with powers like 1/256 or put on ND filters on the lens. But this is also possible with pulsed light. But on the contrary, it is much more difficult to work with high powers and closed apertures with constant light for a number of reasons (further in the section about pulsed light).

Therefore, here in the first place is the simplicity of shooting on open apertures, but this is not a unique opportunity.

5. Easy combination of artificial and natural lighting

This point continues the very first advantage - constant light is immediately visible. But it can also be easily combined with other indoor lighting sources. For example, you can use the light from the existing light sources in the room as fills, and use your candy bar with a softbox as painting on the model. This is immediately evident and they are, as a rule, comparable in power.

6. Suitable for both photo and video

If you are buying a light for yourself and doing hybrid shooting, then investing in constant light will be more versatile and pragmatic. With it, you can work in various directions. Another thing is, if you are a highly specialized professional photographer, then pulsed light is better for such work.


1. Unmanageability

If we talk about natural constant light, then it is inherently uncontrollable. Whether a cloud appears in the sky or not, the movement of the sun, the weather - these factors can drastically change the intensity of light, its hardness and color temperature.

The light from the window is simply fatal for professional shootings, where you need to completely control the light and the goal is to get a guaranteed result. Therefore, there are photo studios with complete light isolation, where there are no windows. In such studios, constant light becomes completely controllable, because. comes out only from artificial sources.

2. Low power

Even a simple on-camera flash easily interrupts the natural light in the room. What is important again for the control of light. If you have a monoblock with constant light at your disposal, it will be very difficult for you to interrupt the light from the window.

With constant light for shooting at closed apertures, you will have to increase the ISO value or put in very powerful sources, which will be problematic for some shoots. For example, if you want to shoot people on closed apertures, then you will either raise the ISO (which is bad for image quality) or you will have to pile up so much light that it will be very uncomfortable to stand under it and look at the camera.

For subject photography, constant light is conditionally suitable for the same reason. The option to shoot from a tripod at slow shutter speeds is a bad idea.

3. Relatively high cost

For the same price, you will buy a much more powerful source of pulsed light than constant.

Options - and let's buy lamps in a hardware store, glue them with adhesive tape and we will have constant light - work at first with inexperienced enthusiasm. Then it turns out that this light has a low CRI and TLCI, that it is uncontrollable and a bunch of other nuances. Good light costs appropriately and the system cannot be deceived.

4. Light pollution

Due to the relatively low power, artificial constant light is often mixed with other sources in the room - light from windows, incandescent lamps, and so on. Of course, you can shoot like that, but this is clearly an unprofessional approach with the corresponding result. Mixing different sources leads to stray shades, uneven lighting and other problems that are very difficult to fix on the post. The same thing is photographed with a flash much easier and more reliable.

For example, for reportage photography, an on-camera flash helps a lot in this regard. You shoot anywhere in any light, but due to the foreground flash illumination, you don’t have to worry about uneven color with a chaotic color temperature on people’s faces, as you will if you want to shoot the same thing wide open with constant light.

pulsed light

Impulse light today is becoming / has already become niche and narrowly professional. It gives the photographer much more advantages, but at the same time, working with pulsed light is harder.

pulsed light


1. High power

Pulsed light works on the principle of stored energy, which is released at the right time. Due to this, much more power can be obtained. Such light, by its nature, coincides with the principle of the camera, which does not shoot everything continuously like a video camera, but captures a specific moment.

High light power solves a bunch of problems:

  • You do not need to light-proof the room where you want to shoot. An impulse can even kill the sun (with a source of 400-600 Joules). You do not depend on the location - this is very important.
  • You can shoot at any aperture without increasing the ISO.
  • You do not need expensive high-aperture optics. In general, even the oldest and simplest camera can be used to work with pulsed light; this will have little effect on the result.

2. Ability to freeze motion

In order to freeze the movement, you need to set a fairly fast shutter speed. If you are shooting a subject, then you also need to close the aperture. Shooting this with constant light is very problematic, because. will require colossal luminous intensity from the source. Pulse monoblocks are capable of shooting with fast series of powerful flashes.

However, even with camera flash freezing traffic is not a problem.

3. Food

Pulsed light consumes less electricity. Even taking into account the fact that modern permanent LED-light has become much more energy efficient, it is far from pulsed.

When you're plugged in, you'll barely feel the difference. But if you have to shoot on the road, then pulse monoblocks can produce very decent power when working from built-in batteries. Even an on-camera flash is ahead of many studio constant sources in terms of power, but at the same time it is compact and works for a relatively long time from simple AA batteries.

If you want to shoot something serious with constant light on the road, then you will need to organize the work of an electric generator to provide the necessary power for several hours. Carrying a generator (gasoline or diesel) with you to shoot is a completely different story.

4. Color accuracy

Switched sources - even the most inexpensive ones - have high CRI values ​​approaching 100. Modern constant sources have a standard CRI in the region of 96, but inexpensive fixtures have problems with this.

With pulsed light, it is much cheaper to get the correct color reproduction.

5. Automation

This item is actually conditional. I personally prefer to always shoot in manual mode with flashes. But I must mention that pulsed light can synchronize with each other and work in TTL mode. That is, your flash itself calculates the distance to the subject, takes into account the focal length and camera settings, and, in accordance with this, produces a pulse of the required power. Constant light doesn't work that way.

6. Cost

Pulsed light sources are significantly cheaper than constant ones. So, for example, for $100 you can buy quite decent GODOX flash. Among the constant light for $ 100, you can’t go wild. It will be a low power on-camera panel or an inexpensive lightsaber.

Among studio monoblocks, there will be approximately the same trend - for the same money you can buy a cooler pulsed light than a constant one.


1. Only photographers need it. He is non-universal. More and more people shoot combined photo + video. The impulse will cover only one need. With constant light, you can also take pictures (albeit with some restrictions).

2. It is difficult to master. When everyone was massively photographed on SLRs, it was not so noticeable. In the optical viewfinder, the result of the shooting is still not visible. Now, in the era of phones and mirrorless cameras, people immediately want to see what happens in the end. Pulsed light does not. Yes, there is an auxiliary modeling light, but this is not the same as working with a permanent one.


Photography ceases to be narrowly professional and one can say that has already become, the property of the masses. A new wave of people with cameras / phones does not want to strain and delve into. Impulse is hard, constant is easy. The crowd chooses what is simple.

Many shoots today are done randomly without a clear understanding of the end result and how everything works. In such conditions, again, the thesis from the previous paragraph is repeated - if you don’t want to bathe, shoot with constant light.

However, there are also experienced photographerspreferring constant light to pulsed light. The fact is that even when using the same studio nozzles, pulsed and constant sources differ in light patterns. This is due to the fact that the light comes from different angles and fills in different ways. light attachment. Constant light tends to look a little softer.

Choosing a light source is a delicate matter. I like a photographer I admire pulsed light. It gives control and it pleases when you want to achieve a specific result (in subject photographyEg). On the other hand, i'm like a bloggerI often use constant light. Working with constant light has developed in me a love for the evening and a dislike for the light from the windows. After all, it is in the evening that there is no stray lighting from the window, which changes the color temperature and adds stray light where they should not be.

Also read about how to choose a softbox

Remind me that I can book a consultation, where I will tell you in detail and tell you which light to buy and how to use it.

film recipes from fujifilmxweekly

About Fujifilm film profiles from FujiXweekly

Fujifilm cameras give their owners a very wide range of options for setting up color profiles for JPG files.

Default, fujifilm cameras are equipped with image profiles that mimic old films from Fujifilm. For instance - Provia, Astia, Classic Chrome, Eterna other. At the same time, the cameras do NOT contain imitations of film profiles from companies such as Kodak or Polaroid. But it's not a problem.

There is an English resource fujixweekly.com, where you can peep absolutely free of charge the settings for Fujifilm cameras that imitate any kind of film, including the same Kodak or Polaroid. And when you get more experienced, you can offer your ideas for settings there.


You will need to configure the camera yourself, there is no quick import of settings. However, there is a thrill in this. These are the settings in question:

fujifilm profile settings

Depending on the novelty of a particular camera model, these settings may be more or less. Therefore, the site has separate sections:

This way you can set up any Fujifilm camera, even if you don't have the latest model.

Next, I will show examples of my photos in various profiles - they are also called recipes. The chosen recipe greatly affects the perception and mood of the photo.

Photos taken on the island of Rhodes on the camera Fujifilm X-S10 with kit lens XC 15-45mm f3.5-5.6, telecom Canon EF-S 55-250mm f4.5-5.6 STM (across Adapter) and a little Viltrox 23mm f1.4. The examples below are JPG files from the camera without additional processing.

  • Bright Summer Recipe

As the name suggests, this profile has a summer vibe to it. It has a characteristic warm color, and the Clarity -5 setting, combined with deliberate overexposure, gives the feeling that everything in the frame is simply melting from the heat. The profile is specific, not suitable for all scenes. He reminded me of frames from films when they want to show you the sultry heat.


  • Recipe Vintage Vibes

Collective image for film photography. Just like Bright Summer, this profile does not mimic any particular film. Vintage Vibes produces a soft image with muted contrast and slight overexposure. At first, I had a hard time forcing myself to set the highlights to plus when shooting high-speed scenes. This leads to slight overexposure in the bright areas of the image. But then I realized that this is the buzz. You imitate the imperfections of old films and it looks atmospheric. Fujifilm cameras have a very decent dynamic range, but in this case we narrow it down in highlights to create an artistic effect. At the same time, the shading in this recipe is good, so photos in bright sunlight don't look washed out in dark areas.


  • Recipe KODACHROME 64

There is already an imitation of a specific film. Cassette with this film looked like this:

Kodachrome_64profile specific. Gives muted colors and looks gloomy in my opinion. The feeling of "filmness" is definitely present.


  • Recipe X-T30 Polaroid Simulation

From the name it is clear that here we will imitate Polaroid film. The base for this recipe is the Eterna profile, so the photos will be muted and “cinematic”. Characteristic features are low saturation and low contrast. For shooting on a bright sunny day, it is suitable for creating a vintage mood. But I would not shoot in such a profile in cloudy weather without bright lighting changes - it would look flat.

In this recipe, the shadows are very elongated, which can sometimes make photos flat. However, overall I liked the profile. I would use it for contrasting scenes. Keep in mind, this Polaroid recipe is quite distinctive and has a noticeable effect on the image.


  • Recipe X-T30 Analog Color

This recipe has X-T30 in the title again, but it can be used on any Fujifilm camera. This is another composite profile for simulating analog tapes. To be honest, I didn't like it subjectively. The specific white balance and low dynamic range were not to my liking. However, I have no doubt that someone will like Analog Color on the contrary. Here - a matter of taste.

The series was filmed on Viltrox 23mm f1.4


  • Recipe Analog Cool

Despite the name, this recipe does not have a pronounced cold tint. The white balance is even, the contrast is normal and the dynamic range too. Built on the basis of the standard Provia profile. Suitable for any scene.

In fairness, I will clarify that these photos were taken using polarizing filter. This made the sky more saturated and increased the dynamic range even more.


  • Recipe Velvia V2

A variation on the theme of Fujik's vigorous Velvia film. A characteristic feature is the saturated colors of the pluck-eye. A thing for an amateur and for the plot. The colors are too cartoonish in my opinion. I remember poor micra 4/3. The dynamic range setting of the DR200, when shooting in bright sunlight, gives overexposure to the photo. On less contrasting scenes, dynamic range problems will not show up.


  • Recipe Fujicolor C200

Built on the basis of the Classic Negative profile, which appeared in carcasses X-S10, X-T4 and other latest models.

I liked this recipe. It gives the impression of a faded old film with a warm undertone. Lowering the Clarity setting creates a glowing effect that is enhanced in backlit situations. Something reminiscent of Glow mist filter. In general, the photos give the impression of a pleasant film nostalgia.


  • Recipe Polariod II

This is complete darkness. I remembered the poster of a metal concert with the title "Doom and Depression“, that is, “The Last Judgment and Depression”. With this profile you will bring such atmosphere even on a bright sunny day to the beach by the Aegean Sea.

Watch and enjoy. I also specially picked up the “winning” angles to emphasize the mood of the profile. By the way, this is an example of how you can create the right mood through photography. For example, if you want to annoy someone, take a photo in this way and revenge will be complete. The base for the recipe is the Eterna profile.

Would you like to relax on such a beach? Hardly. But look at the next recipe in the same place.


  • Recipe Kodak Gold 200

Cheerful recipe based on the Classic Chrome profile. It is characterized by warm, saturated colors, pronounced grain, and a strong overall filmy impression.


  • Recipe Amanda Classic Negative

Recipe with settings I wouldn't voluntarily set myself: knocked out highlights at +1 and failed shadows at +1.5. On the other hand, when you do this, you increase the contrast of your photos. There is no separate parameter for adjusting the contrast in Fujifilm cameras, this is done precisely due to highlights and shadows.

I kind of liked him. It is very different from the previous warm recipe, has its own character.


  • Recipe AgfaChrome RS 100

Based on Classic Negative, but with a very cool white balance. I took these photos in Greece in September in 30 degree heat, but they feel like they were taken somewhere in Canada and it was very cold there. It's all about the color profile.

This is an imitation of such a film:

AgfaChrome RS 100


Let me remind you that you can find these and many other recipes on the website. fujixweekly.com


Film recipes/profiles are rightly criticized for their capriciousness. You need to choose a profile for what you are shooting. Or select shooting for a specific profile.

Often the selected profile will look bad on dull cityscapes (however, they are dull in themselves). You must use trial and error to determine the optimal combination of WHAT you are shooting and WHICH recipe is best for it. This is the whole quest. Who doesn’t want to participate in it, but needs high-quality photos in any conditions, you need to shoot in RAW format and not play with JPG settings. When shooting in RAW, you can always correct the color information.

On the other hand, you can only play around with color settings on Fujifilm cameras, and that's great. I really liked this idea on vacation. But as a safety net, I shot RAW + JPG right away so that I could fix something when I got home. Be that as it may, I recommend that you try it, and then decide for yourself what to do with it all :)

See my video for details:

🛒 Recommend Hoya protective filters for your optics
(I.e. Good Hoya filters in Ukraine

How to shoot a subject?

Object shooting Is one of the most boring, difficult and underpaid genres in photography. Its plus is that there is always a demand for it. Even if there are no weddings, if there is a crisis (and this is always with us), if it is winter / spring / summer / autumn - high-quality subject photos are always needed. There is little left to do - to make them at the proper level.

What is the difficulty of subject shooting?

The difficulty is that from the outside for people who do not understand anything about it, it seems simple. Moreover, this applies to both clients and people with cameras. Already a classic phrase “there on a white background, nothing complicated"Is still killing me. Getting a solid white background is much more difficult than anything else. In this case, you still need to not overexpose the subject and correctly convey its color without parasitic shades and glare. And so of course - there is nothing complicated, JUST ON A WHITE BACKGROUND.

Novice photographers believe that subject photography is when the subject is in the frame and that's it. Once I saw on Instagram a photo of a bottle under club lighting (that is, - some horrible one) with a boke for some cattle-fifty and the caption "subject shooting". No, this is not a subject shooting. This is just a random photo with side by side.

What is subject photography?

First of all, this is preparation.

Recently held Master Class and watched from the side as the girl took pictures. What struck me was that she pressed the shutter button constantly, without pauses, without peering into the frame, without changing the light / camera settings. Before each shutter release, you should think about why you are doing this. How the new photo will differ from the previous one. A thoughtless series of shots will not make each next one better than the last. In product photography, before you take 1 frame, you can spend an hour or two adjusting the light and preparing the subject for shooting.

To shoot a subject against a white background:

  1. firstly, you must organize this very background (the size of the background depends on the size of the subject);
  2. secondly, arrange lighting. And no, window light is a bad idea. The light from the lamps on the ceiling is even worse. You are a photographer (or you want to be). This word comes from "photos" - light and "graphos" - to write. A light painter, in other words. So you need to completely control the light and create it. The lighting will differ for each type of item.

Shooting on a white background simple in that you don't need to look for props and prepare interior / backdrop decorations. And if there should still be a person in the frame, that's another story. Shooting objects is pure staging. If something is not in the frame, then someone should think about how and where to get it, how much it will cost to get it and how long it will take.

You can talk about subject photography for a long time. The main point is that if you want to achieve a really high-quality result, it is not as easy as it seems from the outside.

For more details, see my videos below: which camera to choose for the subject, flash, lens, etc.

Here I will tell you about the technique for shooting objects and show you how to do it and NOT to do it:

Video about complex subject shooting: