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Using a Continuous Light for Photography

Using the Colbor CL220R in 3 Different Ways

By Sophia CareyPublished 3 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - January 2024

Studio photography is something that I struggled with for the first part of my career. It can be difficult to learn how to shape lights when you don't have access to them or to the spaces to use them, but one of the things that I've found over the years of working as a photographer is that this problem can be simplified when you realise that you can achieve a lot with just one light. Further, using continuous lights, as we will do in this shoot, can be a great way to get to grips with shaping lighting in a way that feels more natural and much easier than using strobes.

The light in question that we'll be using is the COLBOR CL220R, a continuous light that can be used for both video and photography, can be controlled with an app on your phone, and has RGB capabilities.


We're going to explore how we can use this light, or one similar, to achieve different lighting setups: two setups using just one light, and a third setup that introduces a second light.

Example of Setup 01

Setup 01: Overhead Softbox

The first setup that we'll be looking at is a really easy setup that can be replicated with any light, strobe or continuous, and is a great method of creating evenly spread light that's perfect for everything from e-commerce shoots to fashion editorials. It is simply to attach a large modifier (such as a large softbox, in this case) to the light and rig it on a C-stand with a boom arm so that the direction of the light comes from above.

Attaching the COLBOR CL220R to the Bowens mount softbox

The COLBOR CL220R utilises a Bowens mount, which is great as most studios will stock Bowens-compatible modifiers, such as this softbox, that you can then attach to the light.

The COLBOR studio app that is compatible with the CL220R also gives the added benefit of being able to easily customise the settings of the light even when it’s rigged in difficult-to-reach places, meaning that once we got the light into position, we could keep it there until we decided we were done with this look.

The COLBOR studio app

The brightness of the light also means that it’s okay for us to rig the light further away from the model, and also makes it more compatible when shooting with film and predetermined ISOs.

For example, we shot a couple of frames using Polaroid film, on the Polaroid I-2, which has an approximate ISO of 640. I didn’t shoot any other film on this shoot, but the light is bright enough for you to be able to easily shoot with an 800 speed film or maybe even a 400 speed.

Setup 02: Mixing Two Lights

Setup number two used two lights, one being the COLBOR CCL220R and the second light was a Bowens XMS 500 strobe light with a beauty dish. For this look, we placed the COLBOR behind Kolade without a modifier but behind a sheet of plastic, and set it to the RGB mode, meaning that we could quickly customise the look by altering the colour of the light.

Example of setup 02 part 1

The light being behind and to the side of Kolade and behind a sheet of plastic gave the illusion of a background colour whilst also adding a side light to Kolade.

We shot this lighting set up in two different ways.

For the first, we used the strobe as a flash that light the front side, opposite to the COLBOR light, of Kolade. We utilised a slow shutter speed to help the colour of the continuous light come through and also to get some images where we dragged the shutter.

Example of dragged shutter

For the second approach to this setup, we kept the strobe light where it was but disconnected the camera from the trigger so that it would only act as a modelling light, giving us a soft light on the front of Kolade. We were then able to achieve a split lighting look, with a warm neutral light coming from the Bowens light and a colour light coming from the Colbor light.

Example of setup 02 part 2

Setup 03: Hard Light

In the final setup, we attached a reflector dish to the COLBOR light and utilised a direct light, harsh look, making use of a coloured wall in the bathroom of the studio.

Using a hard light look can give a really different vibe to using diffused light and using a reflector dish is the perfect modifier to help achieve this look.

Example of setup 03

The possibilities of using the CCL220R or another RGB light with a Bowens mount can be endless when you consider all of the different modifiers you can pair it with and all of the different colours across the spectrum you can use with it. As someone who shoots film a lot in my practice, having a strong continuous light is an instrumental part of my kit, but it's also a great way to see the changes to your lighting setups in real-time, making it easier to adjust and find the perfect solution.

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About the Creator

Sophia Carey

Photographer and designer from London, living in Manchester.

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Comments (8)

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  • Mike Singleton - Mikeydred3 days ago

    Hi we are featuring your excellent Top Story in our Community Adventure Thread in The Vocal Social Society on Facebook and would love for you to join us there

  • Carol Townend2 months ago

    These photographs are amazing. I love how the light has been positioned to achieve various effects and the angles used to add much character to Kolade's poses. Your model looks fantastic!

  • Aaliyah Madison3 months ago

    Congratulations to TS

  • Kodah3 months ago

    Back when I studied photography, I was always reminded that light is the most important thing within a photo! Loved this ❣️

  • Andrew Zuk3 months ago

    Congratulations 🎉🎉🎉

  • Naomi Gold3 months ago

    This was so well put together and informative. Amazing presentation. I’d love to see more content like this on the front page! Congrats on your Top Story. 🥂

  • Test3 months ago

    Dazzling job! Keep up the outstanding work—congrats!

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