How to Photograph an LCD Screen When Using a Flash

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One of the toughest things to photograph at times can be an LED or LCD screen when a product is turned on. The reason for this because of reflections that could get caught in the screen or the fact that the viewer won’t be able to see very many details. In order to capture a screen while using a flash though, you’ll need to be able to strategically place your light and have a bit of knowledge about shutter speeds.

EXTREMELY Indirect Lighting

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To start off with, you’ll need to find a way to get lots of indirect light to illuminate the scene. To recap:

– Indirect light is light that is not not directly aimed at a subject. An example of this is a flash being bounced off of a ceiling.

– Direct light is light that is directly aimed at a subject. An example of this would be a bare flash or a softbox.

How direct or indirect the light is on the subject determines the directional quality. And for starters, we recommend that you use some sort of indirect lighting setup that is incredibly powerful. Direct lighting can be used if done correctly, but we usually find it to be the biggest pain when it comes to working with light reflections in a screen. That’s really the last thing that you want.

Large Light Source/Modifier

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Next, you’ll need some absolutely superbly soft light. And in order to do that, you’ll need a large light source or some sort of large light modifier that makes a small light source seen larger in the final image. The reason for this is once again because you want the eliminate any traces of lighting appearing in a reflection on a super clean LED screen.

Your light source can be as simple as light bounced off of a wall. Many higher end professional photographers use light tents, but they require the right amount of light to be produced on each side and can sometimes still cause reflections. It’s easiest to just work with large light modifiers in our experience.

Great Placement

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To really get the best results without any sort of weird reflections and by making the scene look totally natural, you’re also going to have to place your light source very strategically in a room and also shoot from an angle where you’re not at all reflected in the LCD screen that you’re trying to capture.

So if we had to recap this so far in a step-by-step process, we’d need to say that it’s:

– Getting a large light source

– Making said light source very indirect lighting to ensure no reflections

– Strategic placement of said light source and your camera/lens to ensure even less reflections.

A Slower Shutter Speed

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Finally, the key to capturing a better LED or screen at all is to have a slow shutter speed. The reason for this is because you’re trying to capture the output from a screen. The faster your shutter speed is, the less ambient lighting it will soak up–and you need your camera to soak up a lot of ambient lighting for this. As a quick reminder: when dealing with flashes the shutter speeds capture more or less the ambient light while your aperture controls depth of field and how much of the flash output affects your scene.

Now go give it a try!

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.