Pocket-size light packs studio power for your iPhone shoot

By

Palm-size studio lighting by Lume Cube just got smaller with the new Life Lite.
Palm-size studio lighting by Lume Cube just got smaller with the new Life Lite.
Photo: Lume Cube

For all the magical powers coded and wired into the iPhone camera, it can’t rise to every challenge. You still need light to make a decent photograph and good light can be as fleeting as the moments you are trying to capture.

But what if you could put good light into your pocket and pull it out when you need it?

The makers of the popular Lume Cube have created a nifty but powerful light called Life Lite, ideal for mobile photographers who want to keep shooting even as darkness closes in.

The light is tiny and could easily be misunderstood. The Life Lite weighs just 2 oz but packs the power of large studio light. It is fully adjustable with the tap of a single button and has some 10 different levels of intensity up to 1000 lumens of power.

Life Light by Lume Cube
Mobile content creators have greater control of lighting their environments with the Life Lite.
Photo: Lume Cube

It’s not just a hot light. It can be set as a strobe for still photography and with a simple-to-use iOS app, the Life Lite – or several – can be adjusted from as far away as 90 feet.

The Life Lite is currently available for $39 on Kickstarter, where it quickly shot passed its funding goal after it went live over the weekend.

To understand why, do a search for reviews of the company’s first product, the Lume Cube. The little light quickly gained popularity among photographers and videographers because two or three Lume Cubes solved several lighting problems while little more than a power cord.

In its first year, the Lume Cube won several awards, including USA Today’s “Best of CES” award and sold more than $1 million in product and sometimes struggled to keep up with demand.

I was skeptical because reading about it didn’t give me a sense of what it did. I ordered a couple and found them valuable in a range of situations. If I had a shoot in harsh sunlight that casts a hard shadow on a face, I could use a single Lume Cube for a wink of light to fill that shadow.

Life Lite by Lume Cube
Lume Cube takes up no space but can fill almost any environment with lots of light.
Photo: Lume Cube

A dark room could be brightened significantly. I may not haven gotten the same light as if I lugged around two studio flash heads with soft boxes but with a little creativity, I had greater control and could make a dim situation more workable.

It was especially popular because Lume Cubes – as well as the new Life Lite – can work underwater without special housing to photograph submerged subject matter.

Lume Cube users have been really creative with the light, incorporating DIY modifiers to diffuse or change the color of the light. From watching the community of users explore how to use the Lume Cube, the creators saw mobile content creators struggling to control the powerful light.

Life LIte by Lume Cube
Control Life Lite from a button or with an app on your phone.
Photo: Lume Cube

More than 2 billion people carry smartphones in the world today and for many, it is either the only camera or the main go-to camera to document life as it happens.

Life Lite by Lume Cube
Shine light on your mobile content with Life Lite.
Photo: Lume Cube

Mostly because of the size of the light, the Lume Cube throws a hard light that many would find harsh. It can be tamed but Lume Cube took feedback from mobile shooters to create a portable light source that throws a softer, warmer light.

At 1.5 inches by .75 inches, the Life Lite is sleeker than the first product and at about half the cost.

If all goes according to schedule, the Life Lite will sheep in March 2017.