iOS-Controlled LED Lighting for Photography?

Today I found out that Philips will sell iOS-controlled multi-colored, energy efficient LED Light bulbs through Apple Stores. We have smart phones, smart appliances and now smart light bulbs from Philips called Hue.

Philips Hue Lighting Kit

These bulbs will allow the user to select a multitude of colors, dim lights and schedule different options, all via an app for iPhone / iPad. The system will be upgradeable and offer additional capabilities in the future as the product evolves and grows.

Here is a video of some of its capabilities:

Within the app, you can select any color, use a supplied photo or one of your own to become a color palette. You can also select any color within a photograph and your Hue light will change to that shade. Pretty cool, huh? So I got to thinking, how nice would it be for a photographer to be able to change lighting without gel, bulb or filter changes? Wouldn’t it be nice to change the lighting and instantly see the effect of each change on the photo subject? A video light with any color of choice! There are a couple of “gotchas” though. These bad boys produce about 600 lumens, which is equivalent to a 50W lamp, so there is not much power. On top of that, the Hue system requires a bridge device that communicates with each lamp and the bridge must be connected to your router via a standard LAN cable. Therefore, while the Philips Hue could potentially be a great choice for studio and home environments, it would be too difficult to set up for remote jobs. A video light version of this system for videography and photography needs would be neat – imagine being able to set the light to any color and have it run on a battery. And icing on the cake would be to have the capability to control the light with a small remote! Oh well, maybe someday…

The Hue kit from Philips will sell for $199 for the wireless link (which supports up to 50 bulbs) and 3 bulbs. Extra bulbs will be $59 each. These should be available starting today, October 30, 2012. I may be late to the party as there may be other offerings already available. For instance, there is another product being promoted by Kickstarter called Lifx – very similar, but not in production, yet. Either way, with the technology evolving as it is with new sensors, more affordable good lenses, new software and new tools, it is a great time to be a photographer, isn’t it? What do you think?


  1. October 30, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Wow, pretty amazing stuff…………. another good reason why I should buy an iPad

  2. 2) Adeel Ahmad
    October 31, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Why is it that everywhere only stuff from Apple gets promoted. Please do your research before you post such things. I know that you are not trying to promote these products but you should also mention that there also control available through an App for Android. Here is the link to prove it;

    Name of this Article should be Android/iOS Controlled…

    • 2.1) Nicks
      October 31, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      Baaah! He mentioned the OS that shall not be named. DELETE!

  3. 3) Ryan
    November 1, 2012 at 10:44 am

    A lot of studio strobes and indeed even speedlights have remote power settings. Buy three and a red, green and blue gel and you have something much more suited to photography.

    • Profile photo of Tom Redd 3.1) Tom Redd
      November 1, 2012 at 11:18 am

      Ryan, you are correct, these lights are way underpowered for studio work, in fact, at 50 watt equivalent, they are a bit dim for even regular room lighting, IMHO. I just thought it was an interesting product.

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