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Photographers – Axial Illumination Glass Support Stand for macro photography of smaller objects

Axial Illumination Glass Support Unit

As a part-time photographer of coins and bullion I found this method best.

It provides an even “through the lens” lighting which can’t be replicated in any other way.

Made from 4mm MDF and finished in black or silver

You can have it ready to assemble (it just slots together and a dab of superglue at key points) or ready assembled (adds to postage)

GLASS is NOT SUPPLIED.   You need an A4 sheet of normal 2mm or 3mm glazing.

How to: Axial Lighting Macro Coin Photography

Axial lighting is a term used to illuminate the subject through the lens.

The light source comes parallel to the surface the subject rests on and is pointed directly to a sheet of 3mm glass placed at an angle of 45 degrees.  Some of the light is reflected downwards and provides perfect, even, overhead lighting of it.

Some of the light will pass through and it’s important to have something black (or dark) to absorb the light to stop it reflecting back which would then get passed upwards and cause lens flare.

The various images will show the equipment we use.

Important here is the 100mm 2.8 macro lens which gives more room to work with – there is room to place the glass over the subject but under the lens. We couldn’t do this with a supermacro lens like the 65mm.

The glass is normal 3mm thick window glazing.  We have taped the edges with insulation tape to aid in moving it.

The glass can be supported using any stand or simply hand held.

We have a laser cutter so made a stand for it. It’s a perfect 45 degree angle to the light and subject and allows our hands free to attend to focusing and exposure.

The copy stand hold the camera and a spirit level is used to ensure everything is lined up.

Different effects can be achieved with different modifiers.  Our preferred choice is barn doors with a grid fitted.  This keeps the light parallel and shows up more contrast.
It also shows metal objects more as they appear to be if we were holding them. Notice how the silver field (background surface of the coin design) shows the reflections and slight dimples of the metal.

Using a softbox gives a wider field of light and gives a more illustrated result.