Table Top Photo Lights

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by tracecom, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. tracecom

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
    Like some others on this site, I sometimes make "table top" photos of small projects. Indoor ambient lighting is usually inadequate for sharp details and good color, and it isn't always convenient to go outdoors or set up the big lights. Closeups with flash are also problematic.

    So, I decided I would build some small LED lights to supplement ambient lighting for table top photos. I built a couple of LED light panels and attached them to stands adapted from cheap "helping hands" usually used to hold small projects for soldering, etc. I designed the light panels to power each of 12 white LEDs at 20 mA from a 12V supply.

    When I tried the lights, I found that they were too bright in some cases, so I built an adjustable regulator to be able to dial in the light output I needed. So far, they seem to work well enough that I decided to post the details here.

    Not counting my time, they were cheap.
  2. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    Nice. Thanks for this great idea.
  3. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    They are so cute :)
  4. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
    Nice work!

    I usually wire up two slave strobes, one to either side, with diffusers, then the main/front flash is also very diffused (handkerchief or kleenex in front), that gives enough light to set off the side strobes, and fill in any shadow they left.

    Your method looks easier. :D
  5. tracecom

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010

    That's the key for me...easier...but not necessarily better. As you can see, I don't really do a great job controlling shadows.

    Back in the days of film (if anybody remembers), I used to get unpleasant (and sometimes expensive) surprises because of mistakes I made with flashes. Now, I still shy away from them in favor of existing light, supplemented when necessary.

    ETA: I plan to add diffusion in front of my LED lights and see how it works. (Of course, it will have to be cheap; I'm thinking about cutting some pieces from a plastic milk jug.