Flashlight photography is an emerging technique being pursued by photographers. Using a flashlight in photography allows a photographer a new avenue of imagination and creativity for the photographer. When used correctly, LED flashlights can mimic natural lights and create effects not possible in photo imagining and manipulation software. LED lights allow the light source to be directly controlled by the photographer’s vision. The following are some basic equipment tips and techniques.
The Right Camera
The single-lens reflex camera, or SLR, uses a mirror to accurately reflect to the photographer the same scene that the camera does. The digital SLR, or D-SLR, has the same capabilities as the film SLR, but uses a memory card instead of film. Either type of camera is great for flashlight photography because you can adjust the shutter to a long speed, which is perfect for LED light techniques.
LED Light Tips and Techniques
It is helpful to use a lot of LED lights to get a good quality picture. LED lights tend to be on the small side, and don’t give off a whole lot of light. But don’t worry – LED lights are fairly cheap and you can get dozens of them for just a dollar or so.
LED lights are wonderful hard lighting sources, because the light of LED flashlights is extremely focused. A photographer can use the LED flashlights by placing one or more flat on the ground in order to light up the bottom of an object or some other specific focal object. If you need LED lighting going upward, stack LED lights on top of each other in tripod fashion.
Another way to use LED flashlights is to use self-adhesive Velcro to make a hook strap that wraps around the lens of your camera. Allow two extra centimeters slack for attaching some loop Velcro. Connect the loop side to the hook side with the adhesive side facing outwards. Next, attach the LED lights to the adhesive side one at a time until you cover the entire strap, and voila! You now have your very own LED lighting source for pointing LED light directly at objects, and you hardly spent a dime.
Natural Photography and LED Lights
Combining LED lights with other flashlights, natural light or camera lights can achieve interesting experimental effects. Try using a flashlight held in front of your camera flash with no direct sunlight. The combined lights can add a natural warmness to your photo, making your photo interesting and unique. Another experiment is using different white balances through different colored gels or color filters in front of white LED lights. This technique can simulate several white balances of natural light. LED lights can also be used to “paint” light across an image by using a slow shutter speed and sweeping the LED flashlight across the scene.
Using macro techniques, where the lens to subject distance is much closer than usual, LED flashlights allow the photographer to mimic and/or enhance night shots. This method can allow an aesthetic white balance in spot lighting photography sessions.