How to light small things

We all know that photography is about capturing light and if we master the light, are able to modulate it, we can create great pictures where we evoke emotions and moods, and when it comes to toy shots of which I do a lot, we can even create the illusion of life.

In the following I will show how I do it, what I use and some examples thereof.

Usually, when we're talking light for photography it's expensive if we want to achieve the best, but not this time, what I have found is that the best way for this is also the cheapest. Sometimes we are lucky in what can be an otherwise very expensive métier.

The first two pictures you see are the lights I use in my toy/macro shots, two types of ordinary pen light which can be bought cheaply anywhere, I love them and have many of them. So if you have a good tripod and a reasonably light-sensitive camera it's all you need for a good toy/macro shot.

Focused light, a Duracell filament lamp with a focusing lens molded in the lamp

LED light, a pen lamp with only one light emitting diode without focus but with a bluish glow that makes it somewhat problematic, camera sensors are not happy about "bluish" but it is good at snow and winter sets

Cone from the focusing filament

Cone from the LED

Taken with one Duracell filament lamp in from the side. The white balance manually set to 2700. A soft and kindly focused light

Taken with one LED lamp in from the side. The white balance manually set to 6200

Here you can clearly see a greater dispersion and a more harsh light. Both pictures were taken with the lamps at the same distance from the object.

Picture title: At least we're warm

Taken with one Duracell filament lamp in from the side focusing on the wall, and a single light bulb of the same kind in the oil barrel, see the two pictures below.

Picture title: Midnight bloom

An example of a macro taken with one Duracell filament lamp.

I hope this has been help full to you and inspired you to start to experiment, the only way we can learn to master light, so have fun :)