I have to do a photoshoot for leopard geckos in the near future, it will be for a breeder so I want to focus on proper lighting- no shadows, good color replication etc.

However, I feel that shooting reptiles one need to be versatile as they aren't very stationary- needing to me to adjust positions and angles of lighting very often.

My two options are:

1) LED- Clip on reading lamps with flexible tube necks- like the ones from IKEA, I've read they're rated for high lumens (brightness).

2) Another flash unit- I will be needing another one in the future anyhow, but the price is much more restrictive in the short-run. I feel like the power options of an external flash are overkill for Fill and Back lighting a small gecko. Additionally I would have to buy a stand to mount the flash on, and this is a further expense even considering the Yongnuo ones, for a student

Gear: D3200 + Sigma 70mm + YN560TX + YN560 III. Feel free to ask for any further information.

Context: The gecko will be shot in some sort of DIY lightbox, mostly white background.

  • \$\begingroup\$ To lower your costs, you can use a tripod as a flash stand as well...assuming you have a tripod. \$\endgroup\$
    – Robin
    May 30, 2016 at 17:15

2 Answers 2


You can get some cheap flashes and use them as slaves. I believe flash like that costs around $70.

Do not use light sources with different color temperatures (like flash plus IKEA lamp)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! I've edited to mention that I'm a student, so the 70$ is actually a big investment for me, that's why I'm considering alternatives. I agree about the later! \$\endgroup\$
    – HelloWorld
    May 28, 2016 at 18:21

I feel you still need to provide more information, for example if the gecko is going to be on a flat background or a "natural" environment, some branches here and there.

But In reality the gear you already have can do.

1) Use it on a big white board, or use a big softbox or umbrella on the top of the set. Use the second flash with another difuser as fill light.

2) Use aditional white boards as aditional fill lights.

3) You can built a light tent.

4) A ring flash, or a ring flash softbox.

The problem using a diferent "cheap" light could be that you get a diferent color.

The advantage could be that if it is strong enough you know exactly how it looks, if the gecko does not move very fast this could work, but I don't know if the gecko is scared by the bright light, or on the contrary, would be scared by the flash.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Leopard geckos actually need bright light during the day, and like to bask in it periodically... they're also pretty slow moving when not chasing prey, so hot lights are feasible. I've taken decent pictures of my nephew's with only the heat lamp as a light source. \$\endgroup\$ May 27, 2016 at 0:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @junkyardsparkle- fascinating- never owned one. However I wouldn't want to shoot in heat lamps, they're warm white and would require extra post processing. \$\endgroup\$
    – HelloWorld
    May 28, 2016 at 18:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Rafael- Thank you, I like the idea about the white boards to bound extra light, I think this is what I will go with. But I still need to choose another light source, that's cheap, but does the trick. \$\endgroup\$
    – HelloWorld
    May 28, 2016 at 18:23
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @user2440943 - No, I didn't mean to suggest you should shoot by heat lamps, just pointing out that you probably don't need super fast shutter speeds for these critters, and could probably get by with some diffused halogen bulbs in a pinch. If they're kept away from the heat lamps before the shoot, they should be happy to sit in the light for you. \$\endgroup\$ May 29, 2016 at 6:32

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