Unusual Use for an iPhone
The iPhone provides a continuous light source for these images
Here is a photographic use for an iPhone (or iPod) that doesn’t involve its camera. It does, however use its flash. As the flash has to stay on one free app is required – to be precise a flashlight app – just search for flashlight. It is a really good app to have regardless of whether you ever use it as illumination for a photograph or not.
As far as the camera is concerned a DSLR/Mirrorless with a macro attachment on a normal lens is fine. I used a Nikon 18-55mm kit lens with a ten dollar 10x attachment from Amazon. Some form of image stabilization is useful as this will allow for a smaller aperture and a corresponding increase in depth of field. A point and shoot would be an excellent choice of camera for this type of photography as the smaller sensor will automatically increase dof and the macro or close up facility is usually built in.
Transparent or translucent objects work best. The bokeh in the photo at the top of this post is caused by imperfections inside the marble – that gives the image its apparent depth. The die which appears in some of the other images in this set (rest of the images) is translucent even though it appears to be opaque. The light passing through the objects is every bit as important as the light that is bouncing off the surfaces.
The light needs to be close to the object – ideally within about two inches. Placing the object on the light itself also produces interesting photos. The trick here is to experiment – trial and error is the key. Also play with the ambient light and not just the LED as much as possible.
Editing is just a matter seeing what works. Generally speaking upping contrast works well but their can be a problem with areas burning out. The trick is not to worry too much at this stage – go for impact rather than a perfectly clean photograph. If someone sees your work and offers you hard cash for a clean image then you have a nice problem on your plate. One more tip regarding editing; Forget about how the object actually looks – remember that the viewer will only see the image and not the original setup.
Also, don’t automatically reduce to black and white. , color also works really well.
This setup also works well for color images
An alternative way to do this without an iPhone would be to use one of those LED lamps that attach to a laptop computer via a USB port. This would also allow for the use of the screen as a backdrop and no color cast problems as the white balance from the LED and the screen would be roughly the same.
By Steve Johnson