Photographing LEDs


Since we rely on you, our loyal readers, to supply the tasty projects that we thrive upon, we felt this writeup about how to photograph LEDs could be very useful. Photographing them can be quite difficult at times, they throw off the standard settings on your camera pretty easily. EMSL takes us through all the settings for best results. While you’re brushing up on your photography skills, you might want to consider making a flash ring, or some kind of macro lens. Now go take some awesome pictures and submit your projects.


  1. Wow, they never even mention using a flash in their article.

    I find the best way to take photos of brightly lit things (such as LEDs) is to use a flash to light the rest of the shot…


  2. Michael says:

    That is a LCD, and using a flash is not desired effect they are looking for.

    The article is for LED’s

  3. michael says:

    Shiz will fluff you up!

  4. @michael oh yeah, it must be one of those backlit-by-nuclear-fission LCDs, not the regular LED type… my mistake.

    the flash gets results similar to their HDR image without having to muck around with image editing software.

    anyway, just a suggestion, feel free to take the advice in the article (which can be summarised as: try different settings, use a tripod, watch your white balance, ooh look HDR)

  5. michael says:

    LCD’s are usually backlit with electro luminescence. Still mysterious glowing force :-P Sorry for correcting you :-D

  6. KVirtanen says:

    What Mephistopheles said about the flash is actually a good way. It reduces the huge contrast between the diffused PCB and the brightly lit LEDs. Just like photographing paintings and other flat objects, you just have to learn how to direct the flash. You’ll probably just need an external flash strobe to fire indirectly from the side. That way the reflection of the flash doesn’t bounce back to the camera.

  7. dustin says:

    “sorry for correcting you :d”
    [sarcasm] … no your not [/sarcasm]

  8. octelcogopod says:

    also backlighting != bare leds
    backlights are by definition diffuse, whereas leds are focused even if they are the diffuse (milky plastic) kind

  9. bbum says:

    The photo above is one that I took that EMSL used [entirely with my permission / blessing / yadayada].

    Original here:

    2009-01-31 Never Forget

    Taken for this rather snarky bit of nonsense:

    Which all started with this original writeup:


  10. marph says:

    dustin: No his what is not?

  11. I did two close-ups that ended-up not bad at all …

    Inside the LED, full frontal


    Inside the LED, profile

    For those who care, that is a “joule thief”, as seen here before ;)

  12. tomca says:

    This is extremely handy! I’m currently working on a LED scrolling marquee so I will be sure to follow these tips when it’s actually finished and it’s bragging time.

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