I was wondering the other day why nobody had thought of using digital photo frames as lights for macro photography. So I thought I’d find out for myself. I’ve got a couple of little frames (the ones that you can now pick up less than 20 quid in some places). So I made some images of single colours using Photoshop Elements and spent some time balancing the frames precariously over the two model cars I wanted to photograph.
You can see how I arranged things here. I used one frame as the “sky” and the other to light the background. You can just see the front of the cars peeking out from underneath the black frame at the front. I just used white paper as the background.
Once I had the frames lined up I put the camera on the tripod and fired it up. I was using a macro lens to focus onto my tiny cars and it was hard to keep everything sharp. I ended up using a really small aperture (F16 or so) to get as much depth of field as possible. At that aperture, with the camera set to 200 ASA, I was exposing for a couple of seconds or so.
I’m quite pleased with the results. The great thing about working like this is that changing the colour of the light is very easy, you just advance the frame to the next coloured image. On the picture frame I had, I could do this using the remote control for the frame, so I didn’t have to touch anything.
So, as a light source the frames do work. The light you get is not that bright, but it is very even, which is nice. This is probably as effective as using a small light tent, and it works best if you can get the frames really close to the items being photographed. I’m certainly going to try some more later.