Colored lights can take your photography to new heights. Whether soothing or flashy, they can help you create just the right atmosphere for your vision or add an unusual, unexpected effect. These LED lights are an alternative to buying gels, which are useful but must be mounted manually over standard lights. The best colored lights come with lots of settings and features, allowing you to tailor their output in an instant. Ready to add vibrancy to your images? Browse our top picks below.
1. Pixel G1s RGB Video Light
Slimmer than a brick and weighing just over half a pound, this handy little light panel can do a lot for just under $70. Equipped with 150 individual LEDs—a mix of white, warm, and RGB lights—it can emit a broad array of colors and color effects, from strobe to candlelight. You can fine-tune the lighting by using adjustment dials along the panel’s side that control full spectrums of brightness, color temperature, saturation, and hue. Bright enough to light up a small room on its own, the light can be mounted onto the included stand or onto your camera, and it comes with an articulating arm for easy, flexible positioning. The aluminum alloy body is sturdy, and the battery can last more than two hours on a full charge.
2. GVM RGB Led Video Light
If you’re in the market for larger lights to create a more traditional studio setup, consider this pair of standing, collapsible LED lights. Each features barn doors and an approximately 10-inch-square lighting panel attached to adjustable legs that can extend to more than six feet. The legs also detach so the entire package fits into a carrying case. Stable and bright, these lights can be adjusted according to desired color temperature, hue, and color saturation—and you can wirelessly change the settings via a smartphone app. Like our top pick, you can experiment with lighting modes such as lightning and disco settings.
3. Ulanzi RGB LED Panel Light
If you’re on a tight budget, we recommend this compact square panel that shines any color on the RGB spectrum and gives you a lot of control over color saturation, brightness, and color temperature. It’s equipped with just 60 LED beads, but it’s effective as an accent light or in close-up imaging. On its back, find intuitive control buttons and a small but highly readable LCD display that lets you see your settings at a glance. This side is also magnetic so you can mount the light on any compatible metal surface. It also has a screw thread to mount on a tripod.
4. Youkoyi Handheld LED Light Wand
Resembling the blade of a light saber, this light offers a fun and unique way to light your scenes. Capable of emitting eight colors, its LED bulbs are arranged in a bar shape to cast a near-360○ dimmable beam. These can also be adjusted by remote control to any of 12 lighting modes, including “portrait,” “product,” and “flashing.” We also like that this wand can be mounted onto a tripod stand, hung up via loop attachments, or simply held in the hand—nice for experimenting with light painting. It’s also waterproof, should you want to take it on an underwater adventure.
5. Lume Cube Panel Pro
Similar in concept to the Pixel panel, the Lume Cube combines top-grade hardware with user-friendly software. This light is packed with 263 LED bulbs that emit a crisp, seamless beam that is almost blinding at its strongest. In addition to brightness, you can adjust the color temperature, choose from thousands of color options, and experiment with strobe effects. All this can be done via your phone, since this panel is equipped with Bluetooth technology. When set at 50 percent brightness, this light can last for more than four hours between charges.