Makeshift Lighting

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Mr Ski 73, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. Mr Ski 73 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2007
    #1
    I have been thinking and am keen to try some indoor macro photography now that it is the winter season. I have not got much cash so was going to improvise a bit with set up. If I had say 3 desk lamps and say created a white box would this be effective in creating a mini lab?
     
  2. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #2
    It depends on the lamps, the bulbs (esp. the temperature of the bulbs) and the diffusion material. However, old Vivitar flash guns and optical triggers aren't that much more once you go matching good bulbs, and with the addition of some improvised stands, you can actually use them in the field and for non-macro photography too.
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #3
    It works for static subjects shot with a tripod, you can make the exposure as long as required. One trouble you may run into is "mixed lighting" That's where the color temperture of the lights may not match. You can't fix this in post processing, well not without spending hours at it. So just make sure to use lamps all of the same kind. Or just one lamp and a reflector

    It is easy to color correct if you first shot a grey card then without changing the light replace the gray card with the real subject, Or shoot the subject first grey card second. Then in post processing correct the grey card to neutral grey them apply that same correction to the subject. Using "real photo lights would save you much of this hassle. Shot RAW so that you have more options in post.

    It is actually easier to shot this way than with a flash because you can see the effect of the light and how the shadows fall before you snap the shot. My strobes have modeling lamps built in. I don't know how you'd set up a shot without them.

    Use the self timer to trip the shutter, any vibration will blur the shot
     
  4. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #4
    With digital it's not that bad- you position the lights, snap a shot and see where everything falls (preferably tethered,) then you adjust distance, angles and product and reshoot. Once you get a feel for the lights, it may take a couple of test shots to get you where you need to be. It's just like after a few weeks in the studio you can adjust light heights and angles pretty-much on sight w/o the heads on and you'll have to adjust a shot every now and then but mostly get it right even when you get a subject who's 2' shorter than the last one.

    I did a bunch of jewelry shots a couple of years ago with the cardboard box and tissue paper DIY macro studio thing and doing key and fill and back light wasn't all that difficult w/o modeling lamps. The hardest part was working in the dark to cut out any ambient light overflow, which was a pain with highly reflective gemstones. I actually started out trying to do it with lamps, but the color temperatures were more of a problem than predicting shadows after the first few test shots.
     

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