Much has been written about the pros and cons of strobes vs. continuous lighting for still photography. I've recently seen YouTube videos showcasing the use of both types of lighting simultaneously, but primarily for special gel/motion effects. One exposure challenge is to ratchet down the output of your strobes enough so that they don't overpower the continuous sources. Other than these limited special effects, what are the general benefits, if any, of using both sources?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Where, when, and by whom was all the writing done? What does it opine? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 21, 2022 at 4:21

1 Answer 1


You would appreciate strobes better if you lived the era of hot lights. When I was a boy helper, I hauled the lights upstairs and down and set them up and blew the fuses and ----. The poor subjects, under the hot lights overheated and some fainted. Then came the strobes, Still needed to haul them, but they did not over-heat the subjects.

Hot lights have the advantage, you know how the play on subjects. You get to see the effects of light and shadow “chiaroscuro”. You get to see and feal the lighting ratio. Not so much with strobe. You can measure ratio with a meter, you can see how they play if they have a modeling lamp.

Knowing how hot lights effect the subject, I would go for strobes every time. As to a benefit, mixing and matching hot lights and strobe in the studio, I don’t think there is any mix & match advantage that can’t be worked out using strobe.

Let me add, I grew up with hot tungsten, modern LED is bright and a lot cooler. I have never used them, if they are cool running and comfortable from the subject’s point of view, then likely they are the studio lighting of choice.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm far newer to this field, but by dint of my day job I get to see both in use. On location, trying to light an entire building interior [from outside] to look daylit even at night, they use 18KW lights, one at each window. You cannot stand within yards of these, they're like hot sun. On smaller sets, you can do it all in LED these days. Their downside is now only that they cannot pump out the massive spot/floodlight effect of the big 18k's, so you have to use them more selectively. They do still use smaller, 1k & up tungsten/halogen lighting indoors, but the LEDs are getting there. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 21, 2022 at 18:23

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