Lighting System for Photography

Hi all,

We’re using the HQ Camera on the RPi looking directly downward to a crop of seedling plants. The camera is roughly 40cm away from the soil. I’d like to create some form of lighting that I can control in the RPi to turn on say 10 or 20 seconds before I take a photo, then turn off again after we’ve taken the photo. Given that I’m photographing directly vertically, I’m hoping to cut down on shadows as much as possible.

Given that we’re photographing from only about 40cm from the ground, could I use a bunch of LEDs to light up the area? Would they be strong / bright enough? Are there other things better, or things I should consider?

Thanks heaps,


Hey Kirk,

That’s an excellent question, I’d say that you should be able to use one of the super bright LED for that application, they’re very simple to use and should be extremely bright (well super bright :sweat_smile: although you can tack a few together to increase the output further) the only problem is that they have a current draw of 80mA which is significantly higher than the draw possible on any model of the Pi, so you’ll need to use an optoisolator, MOSFET, or some other method to seperate the power from the GPIO of the Pi itself.

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Hi Kirk
I have seen cameras for minimum shadow have the flash circular with the lens in the centre. The amount of light required would depend to some extent on the camera sensitivity. I have a small fairly late model Sony which takes very reasonable pics under quite poor lighting.
I would suggest mounting some LEDs in a circle around the camera. A bit of experimenting would be needed to establish the number of LEDs needed to provide adequate light and minimal shadow.
The colour you finish up with will depend on the colour temperature of the LEDs and white balance of the camera. I think some experiment may be required here also depending on your needs.
Cheers Bob

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Thanks for the info. on those LEDs @Bryce. Really appreciate it.

Thanks @Robert93820 - I was looking at strip lighting actually, so that may indeed be my next step.


Hey Kirk,

It’s a bit of a price jump but this LED Ring Light combined with a USB to 2.1mm Booster Cable would likely be a good solution that can just be plugged directly into the Pi! The only drawback is that you can’t change the brightness of the LED…

Regardless, I hope this helps!