Continual lighting for Fungi Macro

I’m hoping to get my photography mojo back, buy having a wander around some local woodland with my Canon 750D, and my Sigma 105 f/2.8 Macro, along with tripod.

Now my subject will be woodland fungi / lichen, rather than use flash, I’d be hoping to use continual lighting.

I know that you can get specialist continual lighting setups for macro photography, however I’m hoping to try this on a budget.

My cunning plan, is to get a couple of USB Flexible lights (which you normally plug into a laptop USB socket to illuminate the keyboard), and then run these from a USB powerbank, a bit like a poor man’s Adaptalux.

Of course one issue will be getting USB flexi lights with first of all decent brightness, and secondly a sensible colour temperature, ideally 5000K.

Any thoughts? Good idea? Terrible idea? Or worth a try for the sake of a few ££ for the lights?


I don’t think you’ll be impressed with the results of such a light. If you’re shooting in the day, that light probably won’t be brighter than the ambient light except in the darkest of places.

1 Like

Even under trees, where a bit extra light might be needed?

Ideally I’m wanting something relatively compact and lightweight… Maybe a cheap LED head torch or two?

Alternatively, if there is enough light shining through the trees you can take a piece of foam poly to use as a reflector. This has the benefit of not mixing colour temperatures.

1 Like

I think that’s a good idea. You could also wrap the foam in an emergency planket if you need more reflected light. Then you can choose between gold and silver. It’s widely used in still life photography i think. But I have absolutely no experience in macro. So I’m not sure.

But why don’t you use flash? I’m just cuious.

And your idea could be cool as well. I would just try it with the LEDs or a flashlight. Can’t lose anything and maybe the effect is interesting.


Actually I do have a flash, along with a MK1 diy macro flash diffuser. I figured continual lighting using USB powered lights / torches would allow for more flexibility?

On accident I came across this guy and his photographs of small insects. Maybe it’s interesting to watch for someone. The last link also shows his setup. And I think you can see it in the ted-talk as well. Have fun.