How to Use Rotolight’s AEOS 2 and NEO 3 LED Lights for Incredible Portraits

We were recently invited by Rotolight to try their new AEOS-2 (opens in a new tab) and NEO 3 (opens in a new tab)LED lights in the beautiful Knowle Hall, UK, with a mix of lighting patterns and configurations, hosted by The Creativity Hub.

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Flash is the conventional light source of choice for portraits, so we were eager to see how these two LED lighting options from Rotolight performed. With the best LED light panels (opens in a new tab), the AEOS 2 and NEO 3 lights were certainly powerful and we were able to create fantastic portraits. Since these are constant LED lights, you can see how your lighting is performing in real time, much like a modeling light on a flash head. They also have built-in color gel options, which means you don’t have to carry around plastic gels which would also reduce the light output of a flash.

Modifiers like a diffuser and barn doors can also be attached to change and manipulate the light, and there’s a high-speed sync flash mode that charges LEDs for a super-bright burst that works with a wireless radio trigger on your camera.

Constant lights like the Rotolight AEOS 2 and NEO 3 are also ideal for video, making them versatile accessories. See for yourself how we fared and why not try some of our tips and lighting setups on your own portraits.

1. Add a “fill” light

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For this portrait, we had our model, Betsy, pose on a reclining couch. There was natural light coming from an out-of-screen window to the right, which illuminated him from the right and from behind. However, that meant his face was in shadow and details were lost.

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To give some definition to the face we used the smaller Rotolight NEO 3 LED with the handle so that his face was lit, this could also be positioned on a light stand to free up our hands for taking pictures. Having the bright white light of the “key” shining from a 45º above lit it up beautifully.

2. Inject color

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The Rotolight AEOS 2 and NEO 3 have 16.7 million colors and 2500 filters to choose from, so you can apply gel lighting without physical gel, which would reduce light output. This can be set on the back of each LED panel or via the Rotolight app available for free via Apple iOS or Google Play Store.

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We asked our model, Simone, to pose against this fantastic ornate wall with natural light streaming through a window to the left. The Rotolight AEOS 2 was then positioned on the right with a medium purple digital filter activated to add a pop of color to the shadows.

3. Try a moody mono

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After experimenting with the built-in color filters, we wanted to try something different and decided to ditch the color for a moody monochrome portrait. We kept the setup simple with a single AEOS 2 positioned at 45º to the front of our Hamish model.

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To see the mono effect in real time, we went to the Canon menu and set the Picture Style to Monochrome, this then shows you a black and white version when using Live View, so you can just focus on lighting and composition. Shoot in Raw so you can always create a color image later if you decide you prefer that.

4. Try mixed lighting

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For this setup, we mixed two different colors on our lights to give our photos even more color, and shot through candle flames with a shallow depth of field to turn them into bright, high-contrast foreground interest. .

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Our large AEOS 2 light was set to green and lit our model, Alexandra, on the right side, this was also the main light for the background, while our smaller NEO 3 light was set to a purple color to fill in some of the shadows. The lights can also be set to a flash mode for twice the output and synced with a remote trigger, this doubles the LED light output when you need to freeze a moment in time.

Read more:

Portrait Photography Tips (opens in a new tab)
The best LED panel lights
The best lenses for portrait photography (opens in a new tab)

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