Cheap lights, Cheap setup...

Discussion in 'Photoshop Tutorials' started by systmster, Mar 13, 2006.

  1. systmster

    systmster Guest

    I am looking to get some lights for doing some close up (macro pics),
    nothing extreme just close ups of small objects. Are there some cheap
    lights that I can purchase that are pure white or closer to white then
    standard light bulbs...

    What about the light bulbs called "Pure White" has anyone tried those?

    Does anyone have a link that describes how to setup a cheap light box to
    minimize shadows on objects?

    systmster, Mar 13, 2006
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  2. systmster

    Clyde Guest

    First, you probably want some shadows. If you don't have shadows,
    everything is the same degree of luminosity. That is very flat light and
    can be very boring. However...

    You don't need a light box to get rid of the shadows. You need a light
    tent. This is a small, white, translucent tent that goes over the
    product. Your lights are outside the tent. The tent defuses the light to
    make it come from all directions. Well, to a degree; that depends on how
    many and where you place the lights.

    The best product shots I've seen used many complicated spot lights, few
    big (soft) lights, and many light blocking devices. This is an art that
    is beyond me though. It seems to be an art that is beyond all but the
    very few.

    Your light color problem may be more of a computer and camera setup
    problem. If you work with standard colored lights (studio flash or hot
    lights), your camera probably has a White Balance setting that is darn
    close to those. If you want to be more accurate, shoot with a camera
    that has a Custom White Balance setting and set it.

    If you are looking for very accurate color, you have to have a
    calibrated monitor and software for setting colors exactly. (I use
    Curvemeister inside of Photoshop CS2.)

    If you are looking to do this really cheap, you are in for trouble.
    Incandescent bulbs are not very consistent in color or luminosity. They
    change over time and conditions. For example, the variable voltage that
    is coming into your house may change the color of the lights, if you
    don't have plugged into a UPS.

    Florescent bulbs are more consistent, but they may have or lack colors
    that you really need in your picture. Metal Halide lamps are very
    inconsistent in light color. OK, they aren't cheap either. Flash is very
    consistent in color.

    If I were going to shoot cheaply, I would use my Alien Bee flashes.
    Oh... OK. A light tent could be made pretty easily with cloth. Go to a
    fabric store and hold up different white cloth to the light to make sure
    you don't have too "hot" a spot. Buy all your bulbs at the same time,
    place, and batch, if you can. Plug the fixtures into a UPS. 15 minutes
    after you turn them on, calibrate the Custom White Balance in your
    camera to the white floor inside your tent. Shoot.

    Of course, I can't see myself shooting without my Alien Bee flashes, my
    Spyder2 monitor calibrator, Curvemeister, and a few other things. These
    have all made getting correct color much easier.

    Clyde, Mar 13, 2006
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  3. systmster

    systmster Guest

    Thanks for the reply!
    systmster, Mar 13, 2006
  4. systmster

    Mike Russell Guest

    This is a bit of overkill, but here's a wonderful and free book by Dean
    Collins on how to make a variety of lighting stands and other apparatus
    from PVC tubes. Most of the projects are larger than you're talking about,
    but you may be able to adapt the "adjustable light box 16" project to a
    smaller size.
    Mike Russell, Mar 13, 2006
  5. systmster

    Jimmy Guest

    Jimmy, Mar 14, 2006
  6. systmster

    KatWoman Guest

    KatWoman, Mar 14, 2006
  7. systmster

    Hunt Guest

    Might want to do a Google.Groups search in I, and many
    others have given tons of advice as to tabletop lighting setups on the cheap.
    You can do a lot without a bunch of $. If you shoot digital, just set a custom

    Hunt, Mar 14, 2006
  8. systmster

    C J Southern Guest

    I think you'd have a lot more luck posting in the likes of
    C J Southern, Mar 14, 2006
  9. systmster

    Hunt Guest

    Actually, the OP did. However, it was as a multi-post and not as an X-post, so
    the answers only show in the specific NGs.

    Hunt, Mar 15, 2006
  10. systmster

    iehsmith Guest

    I haven't kept up with the entire thread here. Has anyone tried the OTT Lite
    True Color bulbs, and if so, are they any good? I have to be extremely cheap
    about things and save space too. My application would be comparing printed
    material, photos and Pantone swatches to screen. Also, I just need to start
    being more kind to my eyes.

    iehsmith, Mar 15, 2006
  11. I have several of Dr. Ott's bulbs installed in the compact desktop
    thingie they made. Have always intended to use them as lighting for a
    small tent, but havent' gotten around to it.

    Is there a specific thing you are concerned about? Volume of light?
    John McWilliams, Mar 15, 2006
  12. systmster

    Hunt Guest

    I have not tried these. For film work, I have relied on the 5000k "blue bulbs"
    when I replaced a normal incandescent bulb while shooting strobe + ambient
    window light. They yield good results, but do not last very long and are
    extremely fragile, not to mention rather expensive. However, there are times,
    that a normal incandescent just doesn't look right in a lamp in a darker part
    of a room.

    For product shooting, whether digital, or film, I usually use strobe, but have
    done tons of "hot-light" shoots, as well. My tungsten kit is all Lowell from
    420W up to 1KW. As I am not familiar with teh OTT Lite True Color bulbs, are
    they standard-base replacement bulbs, or tubes for specialized instruments?

    If I have to mix light sources, I will often replace flourescent bulbs with
    either 3200K, or 6000K tubes, or just sleeve the existing lamps.

    Sorry to be so dumb on your question,

    Hunt, Mar 16, 2006
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