Cheap Lighting for Daylight Effect

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Cagle, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. Cagle macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2009
    I'm on a tight budget and need to get photographs taken of some furniture in my living room for a brochure. The lighting is terrible, even in the middle of the day and I'm getting noisy, grainy pictures which look rubbish. Is there a cheap kit I can buy that will give me the artificial daylight I need to clean up the images? I saw some twin light packages on Amazon that ran about $90 - am I going to be disappointed trying to use these on an area the size of a small bedroom?
  2. chown33 macrumors 604

    Aug 9, 2009
    Please define the range of prices within your budget.

    Also please give the dimensions of the room.

    When I started reading your post, I was thinking a 150W flood lamp or two from Home Depot, and bounce it off the ceiling. Then I got to the $90 part, and had no idea what you really want.
  3. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    A small bedroom is a relatively large area, you're going to need serious light to light a room that size, and it's often difficult to position lights well in such a small space. Also, remember people are only really comfortable in a room with two light sources- as far as cheap goes, only hot floodlights will fit the budget, and you'll have to be careful trying to diffuse the light, as they can burn fabric. In the US, a 2-head 1000W system generally rents for ~$75/day- probably your best bet. I'm guessing any $90 kits are going to be nowhere near enough watts to light even a small room. If you want enough depth of field to have things in focus, you're going to need power.
  4. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    Are there people or models in your shots? Could you use a tripod and just lower the ISO and use a longer shutter instead? I don't think furniture moves.

    Otherwise, is it possible to block out as much natural light as possible and light with incandescents, possibly supplimented with gelled strobes? If you are only using one predominant lighting color temperature it should be easy to get a balanced neutral look.

    Or, shoot at night and again light with incandescents/gelled strobes?

    Just a few ideas thrown out there.

  5. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    as Ruahrc pointed out, the furniture does not move. you can put the camera on a tripod and use as long an exposure as you want.

    $90 is not enough to light a room evenly. you will probably want to take photos during the day, with the windows open. you will have to expose for the window light and light the room artifically. hot lights have the wrong color temperature, are too weak, and cannot be diffused easily since...they're hot. the cheapest monolights Adorama sells are $50 or $60 Flashpoint monolights, and there are cheap hotshoe flashes available ($40?), but you will need to put them on something (light stands), diffuse them (umbrellas), attach the flash to the umbrella if you are using a hotshoe flash (umbrella swivel/adapter), and trigger them (PC cord or wireless trigger)...and you may need more than one light.

    maybe HDR? you can't control the light, but it's probably the cheapest option.
  6. Cagle thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2009
    what about this setup

    it's $56 for 4 days hire and the guy said it gives you some general light to bounce off the ceiling and some spotlights to highlight the furniture. there are no people in the shots, just objects. with this kind of work, would you wait until night so you don't have to worry about blocking out natural light or is the natural light an advantage you should try and use?
  7. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    I guess it really depends on what kind of look you're going for. You can "control" the amount of natural light present by adjusting the time of day when to shoot. If you're having big problems with natural light flooding the windows and blowing the picture out, just wait until late afternoon/evening/sunset so that the amount of light is lower?

    However, you said that the lighting is terrible even in the middleof the day, suggesting that there isn't enough natural light coming in the room? Guess it would help better if you could explain the specific issue you are having with the light. Too much? Too little? Not in the right area?

    I still think that some long exposures on a tripod would work fine. Especially as I am imagining that you are having trouble getting enough light (as indicated by your saying you are getting noisy grainy images). Another problem with renting the lighting setup is, do you know how to use it? I've never used that kind of lighting setup before and I would probably have just as much trouble controlling the light setup for a good picture as I would in controlling the natural light. In my case it would probably just be replacing one problem with another.

  8. Cagle thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2009
    I’m trying to get consistent lighting across the whole of the subject, in this case a long table (90” wide) The pictures I got at the brightest point of the day were coming out grainy, they honestly looked like cellphone pics. I don’t even care if it’s not a natural daylight tone at this point, even at work with the strip lighting you get consistent lighting, getting this at home would be great.

    I will try some different settings, tripod etc before renting the equipment :)
  9. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    if the problem is just grain and camera shake, get a good tripod and use longer exposures.

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