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Technical Forum => Photo help => Topic started by: Les on January 14, 2011, 03:55:37 AM



Title: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Les on January 14, 2011, 03:55:37 AM
I'm sure this has probably been discussed before. I've tried searching through old threads, but my brain is all fudgy this morning ....

This dull time of year is playing havock with my camera and I NEED to get good photo's whatever the light is like outside....

So my question is ..... what do you guys use as a light source, for taking lovely, clear bead photo's ?

Thanks :)


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Lush! on January 14, 2011, 03:58:53 AM
A window! I only ever take pics on my kitchen table or window sill with natural light. Then brighten them up on the pc if necessary.


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Les on January 14, 2011, 04:01:51 AM
And your photo's are always so beautiful and bright too !

That's what I'm doing at the moment... but this house is so dull, some days I can't take any photo's at all ... not good when I need to list stuff for sale :(
I think it's probably down to having a cheap-o camera tbh ... can't afford a new one atm though ....


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Flyingcheesetoastie on January 14, 2011, 04:05:14 AM
Sometimes I use a couple of plug in spotlights with daylight bulbs, one on each side to cast as little shadow as possible.  It's not the best, but it's a start before tweaking on the computer, especially if you're a nightowl like me that usually misses the actual daylight!


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Les on January 14, 2011, 04:06:57 AM
I wonder if a couple of cheapo desk lamps would do the trick ? I'm sure there are daylight bulbs that fit them ... Might have a poke around in wilko tomorrow and see what I can find.

I'm on a mission to find the cheapest solution possible !


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Flyingcheesetoastie on January 14, 2011, 04:16:12 AM
That's preety much what I use, think I got them at BM or something and they clip on the side of a table or wherever there's a free surface!  I also have a lightbox, which I have used for beads and things that are mostly or all transparent, which I've had forever and picked up from a seller on Ebay.  My best tip though would be to have a really good tripod, even if it's one of those little ones, it really helps the focus without relying on the flash.  I've had a cheapy compact fuji for the last 3 years and just got a lovely new one for Xmas, but only because there was a permenant smudge on the lens of the old one that i couldn't get rid of.


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Kalorlo on January 14, 2011, 04:18:56 AM
Mine could be better, but I use a daylight lamp (it's one of the craft ones that has a doughnut-shaped bulb with a magnifier bit in the centre so you can use it to magnify things). I also use a diffuser made from a clear plastic mixing bowl that I've sanded to opacify the surface a bit more. That's got a window cut in one side and is lined with aluminium foil on one half to bounce the light back in. It's based on Boo's diffuser tutorial (http://boojewels.blogspot.com/2010/01/ive-pimped-my-lighting-diffuser.html).


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Les on January 14, 2011, 04:19:49 AM
I've had this camera for a good 5 or 6 years now and it's getting a bit outdated I think.

I am going to set Dan on at making me a little lightbox I think :D
I have a brilliant tripod ... I inherited it from my uncle when he died .. he was a 'proper' photographer .. it weighs a ton but I couldn't manage without it  :D

Am deffo going on a light hunt this weekend ... I'm fed up of getting grainy results when I tweak my current photos on the computer, Grr


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Les on January 14, 2011, 04:20:26 AM
Ooohh... thanks for that tutorial Heather ... looks really interesting :)


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Steampunkglass on January 14, 2011, 04:30:49 AM
I've spent ages moving around the house, changing lights, trying a big daylight lamp I have, but in the end a couple of desk lamps worked best of all! I bought one of those fold up light tents from Maplin ages ago, it has nylon/muslin sides to diffuse the light, but I don't think it's much better than a box lined with white card or tissue paper  :-\ I did read on a US forum of people putting coffee filters over the front of their desk lamps to make a quick diffuser (being carefull that they don't overheat and catch fire!!!!)

I do like the look of the 'bucket' idea, I might give that a try!


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Les on January 14, 2011, 04:33:36 AM
Oh Glenn, I've tried every accessible window in this house, and there is never a happy medium ... they're either too dark, or the sunlight is straight into the camera, grrr.... it's a pain !


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Dickie on January 14, 2011, 05:07:50 AM
You can always just use normal lights and ensure that the white balance is set correctly for tungsten.
If your camera has manual white balance use that by pointing it at a white/grey card.

If you look at the Photography section in the Wiki (http://www.frit-happens.co.uk/wiki/Photography), all the pics in there were taken under tungsten lights (deliberately to make the point)

If you get it right, there should be no need to correct in Photoshop afterwards.


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Les on January 14, 2011, 05:11:04 AM
I don't even think this camera has a white balance control, LOL ... I've looked for it before and haven't found one ... maybe I'll google the model number and have another look later .. thanks Dickie :)


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Princess Peggy (Priscilla McGirr) on January 14, 2011, 05:34:26 AM
I'm finding that flash photography is quite reliable, although you need a fairly dark place to do it, or natural light and adjust the white balance on your computer.....I use Microsoft office picture manager....just use the enhance colour option under 'picture', and then place the pointer where the background should be white. (that's if you have a white background), and it restores all the other colours to what they should be..


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Billie on January 14, 2011, 05:45:02 AM
A window! I only ever take pics on my kitchen table or window sill with natural light. Then brighten them up on the pc if necessary.

Same here.  Place them on a piece of driftwood under the largest window in the house.  I've never had to fiddle around with them using software other than to crop them.


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Fruddy on January 14, 2011, 07:54:48 AM
I've got a Tut for making a lightbox Les, if you want me to send it to you??


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: garishglobes on January 14, 2011, 08:42:27 AM
Glenn, are you photographing boro inside? I've never managed to do that very successfully at all!


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Les on January 14, 2011, 08:54:36 AM
I've got a Tut for making a lightbox Les, if you want me to send it to you??

Thanks ! All advice is much appreciated :)


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: ★★Terri★★ on January 14, 2011, 02:32:25 PM
On really dull days I use my craft light that has a daylight ring bulb in it.  I make a little hood with greaseproof paper to diffuse the light a bit - just make sure it doesn't get near the bulb in case it gets hot and catches on fire.

I also have a couple of daylight bulbs that I use in clip on lamps - thoough since we moved I can't find them ???


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Steampunkglass on January 15, 2011, 08:34:01 AM
Glenn, are you photographing boro inside? I've never managed to do that very successfully at all!
Yep, I struggle to get enough light to get any decent photos with daylight here, and it means I can photo stuff at any time as I don't manage to get time during the day so I do most photos late in the day


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: helbels on January 15, 2011, 09:17:35 AM
My flat is north facing, so always quite dark, so I struggle to get good pictures. I have 2 photographic lights and use a light tent, but even then they tend to come out dark and I have to tweak them to lighten them up.


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Dickie on January 16, 2011, 07:14:58 PM
My flat is north facing, so always quite dark, so I struggle to get good pictures. I have 2 photographic lights and use a light tent, but even then they tend to come out dark and I have to tweak them to lighten them up.

That's most likely not a problem with the lights but the camera settings, basically adding 2000 watts of lighting will STILL mean your pictures are too dark. ;)
I discussed this in the Wiki article I wrote

http://www.frit-happens.co.uk/wiki/Photography

basically you need to adjust your exposure compensation.


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: ★★Terri★★ on January 17, 2011, 03:06:29 AM

http://www.frit-happens.co.uk/wiki/Photography

basically you need to adjust your exposure compensation.


That is probably the best tip I've seen.  But it assumes that the camera offers the option - a lot of the digital compacts don't have this feature.

If the pictures are coming out dark even if you have managed to get enought light to take it then try to sort it out in Photoshop (I don't know other editing software but I am sure you could do something like this)


Open the photo in Photoshop. In 'Layer' make a duplicate as a safety back-up. Then go to Image - Adjustments - Levels (not auto levels) and a window pops up with a graph in it and three pointers directly underneath.  The one on the right (usually - it's the clear one) controls the 'white' or 'light' light.  If the graph ends before it gets to this marker then you haven't got enought light in the photo.  Correct this by sliding the triangular marker towards the end of the graph (technical term is histogram I believe).  You will see the photo start to lighten up.  You may need to move the one at the opposite end a little (just a very little) as well - this controls the darkest areas.  Then perhaps a tweek on the middle one - when you are happy click 'OK'.  Then go back to Image - Adjustments - Hue/Saturation and slide the 'saturation' slider slightly to the left - just a little.  When you are happy click 'OK'.

Well, that's the way I do it - I know that photoshop has many 'ways to skin a cat' - but I find this the simplest whilst giving the most finite contol.  Apart from cropping it's all I use photoshop for really.


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: Dickie on January 17, 2011, 08:12:20 AM
If your camera does not have exposure compensation (and many do... check your manual) then most will have a setting for taking pictures in Snow/Beach, this will have a similar effect, it won't be exact but the chances are it will give a better result than full auto.

(Note: this assumes you are taking pictures on a white background)

The other alternative is to NOT use a white background but something mid-toned, like slate or something else grey, to allow the camera to expose correctly.


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: stuwaudby on January 17, 2011, 08:57:10 AM
Desk light should work fine. The more light there is the better the photos will be. If buying a light then opt for incandescant lights rather than flourescent.

Flourescent lights emit lights at very specific frequencies (colours) which when mixed and enter the eye appear to be white. The sensor in a camera also works at very specific frequencies, if they dont match then the colour is distorted. A flourescent lamp also flickers at high frequency and can cause the photo exposure to be off.

Without spending alot the best type of light to buy is cheap halogen lamps, something like: http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/20133810 (http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/20133810) should do the job. Get two to avoid shadows.

The next thing to think about is the light spread, if you just place a lamp on your desk and fire off a picture there will be a very bright spot where the lamp is reflected, the camera will compansate and the rest of the bead will be under exposed. Either use a light tent or place some white objects around to reflect the light in from many directions. A pillow case or sheet hung over half a cardboard box will be enough.

A flash can also work well in a light tent. It will be better if the flash is diffused. A diffuser sits infront of the flash gun and causes the light to be emitted from an area, rather than a point. Anything white and semi trasparant will do it. Have a look in the kitchen for an old ice cream or margarine container, cut it up and position it in front of the flash gun.

Personally I use a conservatory :)


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: turnedlight on January 17, 2011, 12:17:05 PM
I use my conservatory but recently even in there, in the middle of the day, it's been too dull. I hate photoshop, it's too complicated for me, no matter how many times I'm shown it I just find it has too many buttons.. so I use Picassa which many would probably spit on, but I don't care, it's quick and simple. I use a photo cube (full of black cat fur, he keeps sleeping in it the little b****r and it takes ages to clean up!) and desk lamps though you have to set the white balance on the camera. Daylight is much better though.


Title: Re: Best lighting for indoor bead photographs ?
Post by: stuwaudby on January 17, 2011, 03:06:17 PM
Glenn, are you photographing boro inside? I've never managed to do that very successfully at all!

Click here for an indoor boro photo: http://runnyglass.co.uk/stus/dslr2.JPG (http://runnyglass.co.uk/stus/dslr2.JPG)

It was taken with a Nikon on a tripod using a standard lens on a macro extension tube in manual. Exposure about 1/10th of a second and about F5.