DIY Photography LED Studio Lights for Portraits & Headshots – DIY Kino Flo Lights – Diy Lighting


studio lighting can be darn expensive in this video I’m going to walk you through the steps that I took to build a four light studio lighting setup with LED light bulbs for less than $300 stay tuned hey gang about four years ago I posted a video about building a four light studio light setup with t12 fluorescent light bulbs three years ago I posted a video about building a similar setup with t8 bulbs it eliminated the fluorescent flicker problem now it’s time to move on to LEDs and that cool part is that the LED lights are lighter in weight here to build they cost less they last longer they don’t liquor they stay cooler and they use less electricity how awesome is that the fixtures that I’m using are 4-foot LED shop lights in an aluminum casing made by lights of America in Walnut California I purchased six of these in a BJ’s Wholesale Club for 36 dollars each you can find them online at several retailers ranging in price from thirty six dollars to forty nine dollars I was even able to find them on eBay I’ve posted some links in the info section below please understand that things go in and out of stock so you may have to do some searching to find more these fixtures contain two LED strips with a total of 240 bright white LEDs that measure about 4500 lumens their color temperature rated at 5000 degrees Kelvin these lights are completely quiet which also makes them awesome for shooting video in fact I’m being lit with them right now the aluminum casings are quite strong and the LED bulbs are covered with a hard plastic which means that you could even throw them in the trunk of your car and take them on location as long as you have access to electricity now before you ask these lights do not dim currently there are two types of LED bulbs dimmable and not dimmable as you can imagine the dimmable ones are more expensive and while the price of LED technology is quickly becoming more affordable dimmable light fixtures with LED bulbs are still pretty expensive and honestly I see no point in making them dimmable they’re very light and very easy to move for the main lights in this four light setup I wanted to be able to pair two of the lights together to make a broader light source each of these lights is just under six inches across now to do that I wanted to keep it simple so I use two small three-inch hinges one placed about six inches from the top of the fixture and one place at about 16 inches from the bottom I drilled right through the wings of the light fixtures amount of the hinges on the back side using short six by half-inch sheet screws then to be able to hang the fixtures I use two number 0 conduit hangers mounted at the same height is the hinges for one of the pair’s I mounted the hangers on the right fixture and for the other pair I mounted them on the left I closed the top of the conduit hanger with a 1 inch bolt and adjusted it just tight enough to slip over the top of the light stand I left the bottom conduit hanger open so that it could just snap onto the larger section of the stand and stabilize the unit now to be able to hang the units on the closet track that I’ve been using for my fluorescent rigs I needed to add closet glides to keep it simple I used a 12 inch 20 gauge strap tie and bolted it to the fixture using two one inch sheet metal screws and two nuts to ensure that it wouldn’t loosen then I use two 3/4 inch wood screws to mount a 12 inch section of a 1 inch by 1 inch wooden down then it was a simple matter of adding the closet glides to the wooden dowel with the screws that were provided and there you have it a simple easy to build and easy to use lighting fixture that can mount on stands or hang on a closet rack each of these LED lights has a pull chain for an on and off switch have five foot long cord if you’re not comfortable with the electrical stuff you should leave the cords as is and simply plug them both in or you could hire an electrician which of course would cost you Oh much as much as the lights did I told you my plan was to keep it simple so I used a shallow PVC electrical box and splice the wires together inside the box I also added a small carabiner with a cable tie that came with the light to help me store the ports and now I have an eleven and a half inch wide strip light made from two led shop light fixtures for the to room or background lights all you have to do is Mount the number zero stand-off conduit and they’re ready to go i mounted the hangers at the same distances as the main lights six lights a little bit of hardware about an hour of assembly time and I have a four light studio set up that looks like this or it can be used like this you’ll notice that I’m able to use fairly lightweight stands the double units weigh less than nine pounds and the single ones are just over four pounds here is the very first shot that I created with my LED lights be sure to check back next week and I’ll post a video that breaks down a bunch of different lighting arrangements that you can do with these LED lights so until next time remember your best shot is your next shot so keep learning keep thinking and keep shooting adios thanks for watching if you find these videos helpful please give them a thumbs up and subscribe so that you don’t miss a single episode and if you’ve got a question that you’d like answered post it in the comments section below your question could be my next video

100 Replies to “DIY Photography LED Studio Lights for Portraits & Headshots – DIY Kino Flo Lights – Diy Lighting”

  1. First time viewer and as soon as I finished I hit subscribe. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this information. I do have a question: Where can the stands be found, or do you have a particular brand of stands you recommend? Thank you again for posting this video.

  2. another great video, thank you!
    how is the color output of these lights.
    I trided shooting width my "home-led" and had noticyble peaks in my histogram.

  3. What is the white balance like on the LEDs? I had seen these in my local store and thought of doing exactly this based on your old video.

  4. Joe, you are simply awesome. No other way to put it. Regarding the shot in the video, did you make use of ONLY the LED lights? ( no flash or other light source?)

  5. Great idea Joe! One question – did you need any kind of diffusing material or are the LED lights soft enough alone?

  6. Oh I see you've answered that question already – good info. I don't do a lot of studio work but I really enjoy your videos.

  7. Joe, this looks really great, but I'm struggling. I bought the Lights of America model 8140SE2-WH5 lights, but the dimensions seem to be different from the model you used. When I went to drill the hole for the conduit hanger, it penetrated the casing for one of the light strips! Not fatally, but it precludes attaching the way you did yours. So I'm looking hard to find a way to attach the conduit hanger to the light. There doesn't seem to be room for it.

  8. Awesome as usual, love to see the light technology future to see your next invention. Greetings from beautiful Costa Rica.

  9. Amazon sell LED Dimmers, like this:
    https://www.amazon.com/Lutron-TTCL-100H-WH-Credenza-Dimmable-Dimmer/dp/B004DE5ONC/ref=sr_1_1?m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1467182119&sr=1-1

    Have you tried these?

  10. thanks for the info Joe! The only ones I could find on Amazon are 4200 lumens – do you think the 300 lumens makes much of a difference?

  11. you are creative mind with mesmerizing vision mr. joe i have question i get always confused about my speedlights i need to know to use them perfectly and mix them with ambient light.

  12. hi joe ! please is a diy softbox with a continous light is considered as an ambient light or not ? im so confused and i really wanna understand how to control it, with the shutter speed or the aperture?

  13. Ya..nice. I'm not about to spend the ridiculous costs on a spot light for 400 bucks!!! That's just one. My ROI just doesn't agree with that

  14. You don't think the cri rating is too low? The video does look good, but I'm wondering what the lights would look like compared to something with a higher cri rating than 80. Something 90+

  15. Another great Video Joe Edelman! The LEDs crossed my mind as I went shopping last weekend for the T8 setup (I hadn't come across this video yet), but liked the amount of lumens from the Fluorescent bulbs. Each of your prior main lights (6) T8 light bulb set up was probably about 16,800 lumens vs about 9,600 lumens with the LEDs (please correct me were wrong) – do you have a preference now that you have created both awesome DIY lights ? As always your expertise thoughts are always appreciated. Thanks!

  16. Hey Joe, I can only find single T8 LED lamps here in Brazil, they come as single lamps with 1600 lumens each. Do you think I can do your set up with 4 lamps of 1600 lumens on the right and plus 4 on the left as the main lights? And 2 lamps on the back-left and plus 2 lamps on the back-right as the fill-hair lights? Btw, great content in your channel!

  17. Should I be concerned about the CRI rating of the LED lights i use? Or are skin tones easily fixed in post to not worry about it?

  18. Joe … another question. I see there are TWO bulbs in each case. Can you turn on both OR one of them? There are times when I might not want the full brightness (i.e. when lighting a greenscreen which should have less light than the subject).

    Ideally I'd like to have all the bulbs on when lighting up / blowing out – a white background, and at 1/2 power when lighting something like a greenscreen.

    If they don't already come pre-wired/ pre-switched for turning one bulb on or off, I'm assuming it'd be easy enough to put a switch inline to be able to turn one of them on and off?

  19. at what ISO, Fstop, speed, and distance from subject did you take the shot?
    I have been using Savage LEDs. $35 each. I have 9 in a 36" oct box 10 to 12 from subject . ISO 800 F 5.6 @ 125 (flash to light up background )
    I have to remember to say click so the model goes on to the next pose.

  20. Could this possible be done to one individual tube light. I want to do a photo session where i have several single led tube lights hanging from the ceiling in different points around the model. What would be the most cost effective way to do this? is there a way to do it without having to have the aluminum framing around the light? ( i hope i was detailed enough in my description of what I want to do?

  21. Just started watching your videos…wow, great stuff Joe! I have a couple of these 4 ft. LED light fixtures from Costco…do you know if they work work for this setup?? Specs are 38W, 4000K. Thanks!

  22. Good Morning Joe…One of your contemporaries has a 4 LED light panel setup that is very pricey…I'm going to get one of these light panels and check it out. I'll keep you posted…https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/led-panel-light-high-voltage/50w-led-panel-light-fixture-4ft-x-2ft/3152/#/tab/Photos&Videos

  23. The light looks good on the model, but the reflection of the light sources in her eyes is not so fine. Otherwise, I love your videos.  Keep up the great work.

  24. Hello Sir. Can you please recommend a decent brand for the light fixture stands? I'm planning on setting up a home studio. Awesome video! So much good info.

  25. I just obtained my lights here in Canada. Can't wait to set things up and get shooting. Cause my next shot will be my best shot. ;o)
    Thanks for the wonderful videos.

  26. thanks for ur videos, very helpful. What do u recommend for self portrait Indoors studio lighting? this is a hobby, so can't go too crazy on price, yet, I want to be creative, thanks!! 🙂

  27. Hello Joe,
    I really enjoy your work. I have learned a lot around studio lighting from your videos, looking forward to your next video !
    I live in Sweden where we have 230V and I am trying to find LED shop lights for that voltage. Would you have any ideas where I can source suitable lights (Ebay, Amazon) ?
    Best Regards
    //Mattias

  28. Hey Joe, What do you think of the 100w LED's Daylight Flood Lights behind diffusion screens as a studio Light for portraits? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  29. Anyone looking for them in the uk I think these should do the trick

    http://m.costco.co.uk/view/p/feit-4ft-led-shop-light-917972

  30. love the video, gonna start building the led version, almost went with the T8 version, until I saw this video, got my Light of America 2pk at samsclub online for $57, ordered 3 sets, http://www.samsclub.com/sams/2pk-led-shoplight-4-ft-led-shoplight/prod20051839.ip?xid=plp:product:1:1

  31. I found these at Walmart and bought a couple to try out. Using them on myself first, I found the LED lights (on these and other units – even ones designed for photography) a little hard on the eyes for a session. As a last-minute hack before a non-paying subject came in, I used some regular Reynolds kitchen wax paper as a diffuser! Have you had any feedback from your clients as to how they feel sitting in front of LED lights vs. flourescents vs. flash?

    By they way, Joe, are you going to WPPI in Vegas?

  32. Hello, Joe;

    Thank you so much for sharing your excellent advice and talent.. It's been a joy to learn and share in your physical transformation.. I mentor younger photographers and find it immensely rewarding.
    I've been converting a finished basement to use as shooting space as I am licensed as a home business.. about 1,000 sq feet. I use PCB Einsteins but am eager to build some Kino type lights as described in your LED lighting video. This is the first time I've seen this video and wonder if you have any opinion as to the T5 tube florescent lights as opposed to LED. The evolution of your DIYs have from from T12 to T8 to LED but I've seen the T5s at Home Depot and they were my go to until you went to LED.

    Thoughts?

    Regards and thanks again!!
    SS

  33. Hi Joe, can't say enough about your video. Really want to say thanks for your Hard Work on this stuff. I'm backing away from the expensive LED panels … think you are right – saying that they are not quite there yet and expensive. I'm going to try to put together this LED shop light idea and then will go for speed lights when I decide on my main camera (heard Nikon may be in trouble – by the way … possibly just alternative facts online). For now my question is trying to set up a softbox for the shop light (if possible)… any suggestions? My photo studio is quite small. I'm actually going to set up a different system to hang lights from the ceiling …

  34. Went out and bought all the stuff from Home Depot and Sam's Club online. Got 2 pack of LED Shop Lights for $57 (at Sam's online)!!!!! Bought 3 packs and was on my way. Spent all-in $220. Set up was fairly simple as Joe stated and the light is great! Did my first test shoot a week ago and I can see this set up working for many applications. Thank you Joe, appreciate your work.

  35. Love the video! Thinking about using these as a part of a small studio with green screen and other backdrops; any thoughts on that?

  36. Another great video by Joe. 4000 or 6000K? I guess their would be round catchlights if you use a round light? thankz

  37. Hey Joe
    great tips and video. im just thinking should i go with LED or Fluorescent T8? also i cant find 6 pcs one in Canada. they only sell with 4 florescent.do you think i can get enough power with 4 each side? i know LED one is much easier but whats ur personal choice if you wanna keep one in your studio for portraits?
    thanks again

  38. great idea. 2 ideas. 1)use regular shop fixtures and replaceable led lights $45 at Costco about $11 each, 2) hinge some black barn doors made from poster board on the outside of the fixtures to give better light control.

  39. Any idea if these lights would do the trick – https://www.amazon.ca/MW-LED-Daylight-Certified-Lighting/dp/B0743NKZ5L/ref=cm_wl_huc_item – ? Seems hard to find options in Canada for 4500 lumens, 5000K LED shop lights. The ones in the link are rated to 25,000 hours vs 50,000 for the 'Lights of America' brand. For other Canadians looking, I found some other options here: http://www.tscstores.com/SHOPLIGHT-LED-48-40W-P42144.aspx#.WZUR-1GGMuU – but I think they only deliver to the store. So, you'd need to be near one or drive out to it.

  40. Just in the process of building my studio here in the UK. So was looking at lighting on a budget, what do you think of these: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Biard-Panel-Light-1200mm-Natural/dp/B071DSSDPN/ref=pd_sbs_201_9?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=58PE4Y6EBR9YH7423VEZ  or would you recommend the tubes to give the lines in the subjects eyes??

  41. Hey Joe! Question. Have you ever experienced the bulb going out as soon as you assembled ? I patiently put this all together and then excitedly turned on the first light and it flickered a bunch and then popped and blew out right away 🙁 it was plugged into a surge protector. I know you're not an electrician but do you think the drilling could have caused damage to the bulb? Now I'm nervous to plug in the other lights. So bummed!

  42. Joe thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise in this area, if you don't know the CRI of the leds is that a factor and do you have to be concerned about contamination with different sources of light temperature particularly if you lower your shutter speeds?

  43. Another exceptional video as usual, Joe. Is there any reason why I can’t use speedlights as rim and hair lights along with these LEDs as my main lights?

  44. If you use Honeywell's shop lights, you can connect 2 shop lights together with included cables instead of splicing wires together as you mentioned. The only downside of Honeywell's lights are CRI is 80 instead of 85 for the ones you used. I appreciated your simple design, Joe.

  45. I wonder why they don't flicker when powered by AC. Mine all flicker. Maybe there is a DC power supply in the housing on these from LOA. Guess I will have to take one apart if I can find those exact units. Been wanting to try this for a while.

  46. I can't thank you enough. I was pricing out something similar from Amazon and B&H You saved me several hundreds of dollars. I found the lights on Amazon for $70 (Prime is a wonderful thing) and found some Neewer stands for $30 for a pair. Along with $5.50 at Lowes… Two lights under $150. Here's a picture -> https://photos.app.goo.gl/3QbNKnVNzOiixoMl1

  47. Sir, most of the led bulbs flickers at 1/100 sec time, so we can't change the shutter speed. We are bound to use 1/100 sec. or 1/50 sec. shutter speed. Is there anyway we can break this problem while using LED lights for shooting, please Sir make a video tutorial on this. Many of like me are waiting for a solution of this problem.

  48. Joe this is perfect. I have already ordered some of the lights and can't wait to build my new set up. thanks

  49. Hey Joe, thanks for your amazing videos. I have watched about 20 and the info is unprecedented. I have read some reviews on Amazon about this light and a competitors version. I have a question: is 2 fixtures bright enough (one placed on each side, forward facing as front key lights) for lighting a model's face? The reviews said they were bright as hell and I wondered why you chose to attach 2 together for front lights. Also, do they buzz at all? One competitors version of the identical light got horrible reviews about loud buzzing. I'm planning to do some video lighting as well and it would be an issue. Thanks for any info you can provide.

  50. hi joe
    there are some led lights from neewer or yongnuo who have more leds/lightpower and are more practical i would guess if i look at the specs…
    i am thginkimg about to buy the neewer led kit with 3 Neewer 660 bi-color lights or 2 of the Yongnuo YN-600L II.

    i would love to hear your opinion on what I should buy 😉

    thanx very much

  51. Hi joe. You are doing amazing work. My favourite person to learn lighting. Need your expert advice to build an ecommerce product photography studio. I am planning to invest in godox sk400 II strobes. Would that be a good investment? Or if you can suggest something it would be a great help.

    Awaiting your response.

  52. Do you know of any LED T8 tubes that don't flicker on video? I have a set up similar to your T8 build with florescent bulbs, but I want to replace them with LED bulbs without flicker. I've tried a few, but they all have flickered on video. Can you help?

  53. Just wondering if you still use these Joe? I'm thinking of using them again, but adding a soft diffusion material in front of them.

  54. it's quite impressive how your presentation/video quality has improved over the years! You are also looking a lot better weight/style-wise. Keep it up, this is easily one of my favorite channels.

  55. Thank you so much for this awesome video! I have my lights on order, and I'm putting my husband to work this weekend. He, too, was wowed with the awesomeness of your video and your DIY skills after watching this and your basement studio video.

  56. Great video, but I've never been a fan of the catchlights, even the Peter Hurley ones make subjects look like aliens.

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