Photographing Products with LEDs & display screens

From iPhones to kettles, self-illuminating dials, LCD screens or LED lights are key components of many products nowadays and while many photographers find it a challenge, it’s actually quite simple. For our next live show I’ll be showing you how to photograph a voice recorder that has both self-illuminating buttons and a LCD screen.

If you’ve ever wondered how to shoot products with existing continuous light (LED lights or a LCD screen) I’ll be going into detail about the effects various shutter speeds have when it comes to capturing existing continuous light and the importance of flash sync speeds. I’ll also be demonstrating useful post production techniques for finalising the shot.

Portrait by Tom Oldham

The process can be simplified to two steps. First, light the product as you would normally. Make sure you’ve positioned it correctly and highlight the main attributes. Don’t get caught up by the fact that there are LED buttons or a LCD screen.

Only once you are satisfied with your overall lighting should you turn your attention to the LED or LCD part of the product. For shots such as this, while we can’t control the existing continuous light we can control the amount of light we allow in, in other words the shutter speed.

To achieve the best result, two of the most important elements to consider are the shutter speed and lighting. The relationship between these two are crucial to achieve the desired result. I’ve included a brief explanation of each below and will be going into more detail during the show.

Shutter speed

When photographing these items there are a number of important factors to consider, one of which is shutter speed. In order to capture the illumination on screen or on the buttons of the product, a slower shutter speed is essential. Balance is key. If the shutter speed is too fast it will cut out too much ambient light and the illumination will be lost, but the opposite also applies. If the shutter speed is too slow it will be washed out and not give an accurate capture.

During this live photography workshop I’ll be demonstrating different techniques you can use to ensure you are able to correctly expose the buttons or screen and explaining how you can find the right shutter speed.

A useful tip for product photography where you’re using a slower shutter speed is to fix your camera - I always have my camera in a fixed position for product photography. If your camera or item is not fixed even the slightest movement of your camera or subject will be recorded.


Many articles detailing how to shoot products with a LCD screen or LED lights will advise using a large, soft light source. While modifiers such as octaboxes or softboxes are well suited because they don’t create harsh light with strong reflections, don’t limit yourself to just these. 

In this video where we shot an iPad, we used a scrim to achieve the smooth, even light that we wanted on the object (you can watch the full shoot here).

For this live show I’ll not only be discussing the best lighting modifiers to use, but also show you how you can make use of point light sources, reflectors or mirrors to highlight specific elements of the product.

Another useful product photography tip to remember is slow shutter speeds mean more ambient light will be captured, which means it’s important that you completely darken your studio or shooting area. In order to have complete control over your lighting, make sure all unnecessary lighting is switched off — this includes modelling lamps from your studio lights.

Portrait by Tom Oldham

Flash sync speed

Flash sync speed is another important element to consider. I’ll be explaining when to use your maximum sync speed and when not to as well as discussing why. To understand more about flash sync speed before the show, you can watch this video here.

In this information packed show I'll guide you from start to finish through the process, showing you just how simple it can be. I'll also be answering your questions live as I go. The principles and techniques I’ll be demonstrating in this show can also be applied to a wide range of photography fields, including interior and architectural photography where you have to work with existing continuous light so it will be a valuable show, whatever your genre of photography.

To find out more about the show, which kicks off on Tuesday 24 July at 18:00 BST / 13:00 EDT, click here.

Live Photography Photography Show

Shooting Products with LEDs & screens

Tuesday - July 24th 18:00 BST / 13:00 EDT

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  1. DavidMorgan

    Once again the main take-away point for me is the painstaking attention to detail. The range of equipment is out of my league but, whatever the photography subject, it’s the small things that can count, even if on a budget.

    The other takeaway is the methodical approach – tackle things in sequence, one at a time. Again, a plan that will work with whatever I’m shooting.

    Beautiful final image.

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