blog for ideas, inspiration, and tools from wedding and portrait photographer Adam Cotton

Blog page of Pensacola, Fl portrait photographer Adam Cotton.  Tools tips and ideas be had here.  All things photography related- Wedding, portrait, fashion, and reviews of different types of camera gear.

3 Reasons the Rotolight Neo Will Make You a Better Photographer

(This video is an updated review of my experience with the Rotolight Neo.)

So I recently ordered the Rotolight Neo from Rotolight, a studio and location LED lighting systems company based out of the UK.  I was in the market for a continuos light to use on shoots, and had recently seen videos of other people using them and thought I would give it a try.  

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Once it arrived, I began the ever involved process of playing with a new toy.  My first instinct was to practice using it with objects. I mean c'mon, they don't move; they don't fuss; and they are always available!

I grabbed a couple of off camera flashes and positioned one for backlighting and one for bounce flash off of the wall or ceiling.  Then, using a mirrorless crop censor camera (the sony a6000) and a flash for backlighting, I would hold the rotolight in my non-shooting hand and put it where I wanted to in order to get the effect I was looking for.  With a little time and effort, some pretty decent shots were created.

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(Top left: wedding rings in front of a pair of heels on a mirror.  Bottom left: a toothless doll in front of a christmas tree.  Above: a bowl of chili carefully prepped for presentation -for picture sake-)

But after a couple of days of rousing photo shoots with teddy bears and thumb rings, I decided to put some people to work.  It turns out the rotolight was beckoning for this type of attention. It is as though it came alive when coming face to face with an actual person.  The roll-off this baby creates on the face is beautiful, and yet, you can turn and maneuver it to create unique, detailing shadows. I have barely had this thing for a week, but I have managed to create very different images in an inside setting (I don't have a studio, and it's been raining all week) 

OK, that is all fine and dandy, but how can this little light make me a better photographer?  Well, first of all, I am a beginner.  Most seasoned pros don't buy new equipment hoping it makes them a better photographer, just that it might make certain things they are already doing better and/or easier.  But as a beginner, the rotolight has helped give my photography skills a boost in a way that I believe any beginner could benefit from.

  1. It can help you learn how different lighting looks, and show a little about how to get it!  Holding the light and seeing it painting the subject as you move it, shows what different lighting setups can do!  The Rotolight Neo has adjustable output power from 1 to 100%, so you can adjust the intensity of the light right on the spot. Moving the light closer or further away...trying different angles...adjusting brightness and Kelvin, can show you just how many variations of lighting techniques there are.
  2. The portability of the Rotolight Neo leaves no excuses for not setting up and shooting at least Something! I was able to take all of these shots holding the rotolight while shooting, or having the model hold it while I shot them.  It was incredibly advantageous to be able to whip out an extra continuos light source that easily!  It comes with a power supply, but takes batteries so it can be carried around at shoots.  Even if you can't whip out flashes or set up studio strobes or see anything because it's too dark, you can get enough light from the Neo to practice!
  3. Better shots equals confidence... confidence equals more shooting... more shooting equals better photographer!  Continuos lighting can show you what you are working with without having to take a shot to see.  This helps you move faster and therefore allows you to move around and rearrange more to get in more shots.  Trying more things can make you a better photographer and will improve the quality of your shots!  And better shots usually make people more confident!

I am not affiliated with the Rotolight brand in any way.  I am just a newbie who bought a light and watched his skills improve!

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