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Photographic Lighting?


MPWR
01-03-2016, 06:53 PM
In my quest to take decent pics of my work, I've decided that lighting is something I likely need to improve. But other than "more is (probably) better", I have little idea how to go about creating a decent photographic set up. I've spent a good number of frustrating hours searching the internet, only to conclude that I don't really know enough to know what to search on. :dunno:

Some of you obviously manage photography pretty well- care to offer some insight on how to light models when shooting them?

What type of lighting do you use (incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, LED, fire)? Do you mix lighting types? How many lights do you use? Diffusers, reflectors?

Any help appreciated!

lezdep
01-04-2016, 11:25 AM
I have built my simple "photo studio" based on this article below. Works wonders for me.
It was cheap and not much effort involved,

http://strobist.blogspot.ca/2006/07/how-to-diy-10-macro-photo-studio.html

star21
01-04-2016, 02:12 PM
I'd agree on going to Strobist for great info. Depending on the effect you're planning to get will determine what type of lighting and how much light and equipment you'll need. This day and age with photo editing software with a decent camera and a few well placed lights you'll get a great effect. You can also pick up great detail tips from looking at food photography blogs, other modeling photography blogs, etc because lighting is so universal.

To experiment quickly and to see how light reacts just grab a regular lamp and start taking shots and seeing how it lights your subject up. Try behind, above, angled, underneath (with a glass panel perhaps) etc. From there you can add in more to get the desired effect (even adding color if wanted). You can then experiment with "harsh" direct light from the bulb versus using a simple sheer curtain or fluorescent light diffuser panel from the hardware store to get a diffused look. You may also notice fluorescents versus incandescent light will cause your camera to compensate differently because of the color hue.

Don't forget the cheapest source of light available, natural sunlight. Just after sunrise or several hours before sunset creates the perfect golden opportunity but you can play around just about anytime with simple car windshield covers to bounce light where you want it.

That said, what type of shots are you majority planning to take? Extreme close up detail shots? Full car profile? What does existing camera gear bag consist of (lenses, camera, etc)?

mattbacon
01-04-2016, 03:34 PM
I use some lights with 5xfluorescent spiral bulbs in each one, and "softboxes" to diffuse the light:

https://cmatthewbacon.smugmug.com/Hobbies/Car-Modelling/Models-gallery-32/i-WLxjvFm/0/O/camera-set-up-4.jpg

The "infinity wall" base is just a large box that once contained a printer, with various sheets of different coloured art card for backgrounds.

This is what you get:
https://cmatthewbacon.smugmug.com/Hobbies/Car-Modelling/Models-gallery-32/i-d3tLFt8/0/L/front-left-corner-L.jpg

These days, I also balance a sheet of card on top of the softboxes to reflect light back down as well.

I bought the lights from here:
http://www.photogeeks.co.uk

...but there are a lot of eBay sellers -- the lights seem fairly standard and are made in China, so they aren't hard to find.

bestest,
M.

MPWR
01-04-2016, 08:22 PM
That said, what type of shots are you majority planning to take? Extreme close up detail shots? Full car profile? What does existing camera gear bag consist of (lenses, camera, etc)?

Good questions! I hadn't thought to state them, but seems pretty obvious now that you mention it. :rolleyes:

The shots I most want to make are full car profile ones- like Mattbacon demonstrates. Recently, I'm actually using my paintbooth as a photobooth. I built a custom LED lighting setup in the paintbooth recently using 10 high power white LEDs. It's probably the best lit space in the house now, and is great for painting- but maybe not for pics.

http://i211.photobucket.com/albums/bb112/andrejmiller/318-024.jpg

I'm using an old Canon Powershot A70 point and shoot. F/8, iso100, varying the shutter time and bracketing exposures. This one is probably a half second.

Learning a bit about f/stops and shutter times have helped a lot- but they still arenít coming out the way I want.

mattbacon
01-05-2016, 03:03 AM
You should definitely consider getting a tripod. All mine are shot at F/32 or F/29, and the exposure times can be over 1s. I use the "2 second" timer as an alternative to a remote shutter trigger. I invested in this set-up to take photos for publication, and the magazine editor's only requirement for the pictures was "pin sharp from front to back", and the smallest aperture (plus the right lens) is the best way to guarantee that. I use a Canon 50mm "Compact Macro" lens. If you want your pictures to look like a real car does to you, you want to shoot at 35-40mm.

bestest,
M.

star21
01-05-2016, 05:16 PM
It's a great start you're off to. With direct lighted LEDs you may notice "hot spots" (towards the front of your example car you'll see spotlights near the hood edge). You may want to try and see if bouncing it off a white card stock or using a diffuser panel or sheer curtain may help tone it down. Black is hard to catch all the details and body lines (there's some reason to why magazines try to avoid real dark colors for cover cars). Shooting different color cars can also affect your camera settings setup. You can also try fiddling with your white balance settings in addition to what you've doing with f/stops and shutter speed.

Also, if true to life profile shots are what you're trying to achieve you should even search for actual studio automotive photographers work. The same concepts can also translate to scale autos (e.g. rig lights on top with diffusers). Remember you don't need to spend a whole lot of money to achieve great results.

MPWR
01-09-2016, 08:47 AM
Thanks guys, I appreciate your insight!

Black is hard to catch all the details and body lines (there's some reason to why magazines try to avoid real dark colors for cover cars).

Good point- hadn't really thought of that.


Shooting different color cars can also affect your camera settings setup. You can also try fiddling with your white balance settings in addition to what you've doing with f/stops and shutter speed.

I set the white balance by shooting a white card under the lighting first. What would other options be for adjusting the white balance?

and the smallest aperture (plus the right lens) is the best way to guarantee that. I use a Canon 50mm "Compact Macro" lens. If you want your pictures to look like a real car does to you, you want to shoot at 35-40mm.

Hadn't thought of extending the lens. It's an adjustable zoom, I think 35-70mm. So of course extending it would slow my f/stop even more. Out of curiosity, why 35-40 for real cars?

Remember you don't need to spend a whole lot of money to achieve great results.

That's what I'm hoping! But I'm still figuring out where to apply that money. I know my camera is certainly not studio quality, but I would like to avoid buying a DSLR if it's simply going to give me the same frustrations. Meanwhile I'd like to learn what I can using this one first.

mattbacon
01-09-2016, 09:32 AM
Out of curiosity, why 35-40 for real cars?

It gives about the same field of view as the human eye, so if you want your pictures to approximate what you'd see looking at a real car from 24 feet away, shoot your car with a 35mm lens setting, from 1ft away, with the camera about 70mm above the "ground level" the car is standing on. 45-50mm focal length is about the same as the human eye on a full frame camera, but DSLRs usually have smaller sensors, which makes the effective focal length longer...

bestest,
M.

JTRACING
01-10-2016, 06:49 AM
I have a large fluorescent light on the ceiling, a smaller one right above where I take pictures and also then my desk lamp that I can't swing down and point to light the front and side of my subject, that uses a cfl bulb or old school 60watt whatever I have in it lol.

Seems to work good, lots of people always comment on my pictures.
Been using that with an ancient Fuji point and shoot digital camera I found at a thrift store.

GirchyGirchy
01-12-2016, 12:44 PM
I set the white balance by shooting a white card under the lighting first. What would other options be for adjusting the white balance?

Use something like an ExpoDisc. It's a filter that goes on the end of your lens(es).

ianc911
01-13-2016, 01:25 PM
All mine are shot at F/32 or F/29

Maybe crank that back a bit. Most lenses start to lose ultimate sharpness around F16-22 due to diffraction. F11 should give you what you need. Set your focus 1/2 - 2/3 of the way into the desired depth of field.

ianc

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