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DIY Photography Lighting

 
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I usually put aside my camera for the darkest part of the year.  I'm better with working with natural light and some days, in a normal winter here, the sun can't get above the treeline - even if it wasn't deeply overcast and raining.  

We've been very lucky this year, in a way, that the rainy season is delayed and I can keep on snapping photos.  But, I can feel it in my bones that the rainy season is neigh.  I don't want to put my camera away.

If I'm going to keep on taking photos, I'm going to need some light.  

Let's brainstorm some ideas for affordable, do it yourself, photography lighting.  
 
r ranson
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What I mostly want to take photos of right now is crafting.  

For example, I'm setting up the floor loom with some yarn and I'm at the perfect spot for some photos.  Only I got there late at night four days ago.  Since then I've been leaving home before sunrise and getting home after sunset.  The perfect lighting for that combination of room, windows, and location in the room is about one hour before local sunset (aka, before the sun goes beneath the treeline - not actual sunset which is two hours later.  Or about half an hour after local sunrise (about 3 hours after real sunrise).

But since I haven't been home at exactly the right lighting moment, I haven't been able to take the photos, which means the project that could have been finished by now, is delayed.

I need some sort of lighting so I can take the photo in the middle of the night or any time.  
 
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I do a lot of detail photography so when I send things to the geologists, they see the mineralization that I am looking at. That is only a hobby I do in the winter so it is always dark. I know taking pictures of rocks is not riveting photography, but it takes good lighting. I use simple clip on lights with LED bulbs. No shadow is no shadow, it does not have to be fancy.

I spared you a picture of a rock, and substituted a picture I took of my cat. (You are welcome) :-)

my-cat.jpg
my cat
my cat
 
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When I tried non-natural lighting, the colour temperature of the bulbs was important, I tried to find one closest to daylight.

I prefer side light for food and craft photography. A floor-standing lamp with a lampshade that wouldn't block any of the side light might work. Or a tabletop lamp.

I also used a white board on the opposite side, to reflect light and minimise the shadows on that side.

In the end, even though I picked the right colour temperature, I still just preferred the look of natural light.
 
r ranson
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Travis Johnson wrote:I do a lot of detail photography so when I send things to the geologists, they see the mineralization that I am looking at. That is only a hobby I do in the winter so it is always dark. I know taking pictures of rocks is not riveting photography, but it takes good lighting. I use simple clip on lights with LED bulbs. No shadow is no shadow, it does not have to be fancy.

I spared you a picture of a rock, and substituted a picture I took of my cat. (You are welcome) :-)



Love the kitty.
Would be willing to share some rock photos?  Rocks are fun.

I would love to see the picture of the lights if it's not too much trouble.  I'm having trouble envisioning them.  What power/kind of lightbulbs are they?  There seem to be a lot of different LED options when I go to buy them.
 
r ranson
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Kate Downham wrote:When I tried non-natural lighting, the colour temperature of the bulbs was important, I tried to find one closest to daylight.



I would like it to be as close to daylight as possible too.  Not sure what to look for when buying a light.

I generally live in the dark when at home, with as few lights as possible (my eyes don't do well in bright light - but my camera doesn't do well in the dark), so I don't know much about buying light.  I don't think I've ever bought a lightbulb in my life.  So I'm starting from absolute scratch.
 
pollinator
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A number of possible solutions when light is limited,

Hold the camera steady and lengthen the exposure

Stabilize the camera on a tripod, allowing you to take properly exposed long exposures while keeping the aperture stopped down to an acceptable size so that you retain depth of field. Things that move become blurry. Also consider using a remote shutter cable to limit shaking of the camera (my old nikkormat SLR had the ability to lock the mirror up to limit movement, however minuscule, from it).

Maximize the available light by reflecting as much as possible on the subject using white board, tin foil, mirrors or anything reflective. We have a couple of folded foam core boards in our studio that perform this function.

Use lamps. Using house lamps can work, and while generally casting color into a warmer spectrum, this can be mitigated with a filter on the camera. Relatively inexpensive photo flood lamps, 250-500 watt can be procured and used in utility lamps such as the clamp on variety as long as they are rated for the higher wattage of photo floods.

Use flash. Obviously on-camera flash can produce an undesirable flat effect, not to mention red eye, but just moving the flash off the camera, up and to the side can give the subject an acceptable main light. One inexpensive supplement I’ve used on location is additional smaller flashes positioned to supplement the main light to model the subject better and controlled to fire in conjunction with the primary flash through the use of slaves, a small device that detects the main flash and fires the secondary flash instantaneously. Or use the flash set to a lower power in conjunction with available light such lamps or windows. Sometimes the mix of different color temperatures can have a positive effect unless absolute color integrity is sought.

Proper photo light stands with heads that accept the 250-500 watt lights and can be fitted with light control panels (barn doors). I like the Smith Victor brand, but many less expensive kits are available. One note is if you get the 250 or 500 watt bulbs, make sure the socket they are used in can handle the heat (a definite drawback to continuous light bulbs). I’ve seen kits that substitute fluorescent photo bulbs, sometimes many in a bank to create a broad light in a studio, usually shooting through a fabric scrim to further diffuse the light.
 
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Adam Savage did a "Tested" episide making workbench task lighting with some led video lights that may be along the lines what may work for you. You can adjust colour temp as well as brightness.

Nice thing about composing shots indoors is you can work tethered and get instant feedback on a monitor



https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KZLM3QC/
 
Kate Downham
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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_temperature

I think it might have been 5500k bulbs that I used. It was a while ago though,  maybe there are better options around now.
 
r ranson
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I found some VERY affordable photography light stands that fold up small on a Black Friday sale.  But, the bulb sockets are for a E27 base.  

My limited research is that we use E26 sized bulbs in Canada  (this may be wrong).

Can the bulbs we get in Canada fit in the E27 base?  Does it really matter?
 
James Whitelaw
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Uneducated on Canadian light sockets, but they make socket adaptors that adapt almost anything to anything. Check Amazon
 
Alley Bate
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Looks like e26 and e27 are for the most part mechanically compatable, the main thing is to correctly match your bulb voltage to your line voltage. Putting a 110v North American standard bulb on a European standard 220v circuit will likely end badly.

https://www.waveformlighting.com/home-residential/e26-vs-e27-bulbs-are-they-interchangeable
 
r ranson
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Alley Bate wrote:Looks like e26 and e27 are for the most part mechanically compatable, the main thing is to correctly match your bulb voltage to your line voltage. Putting a 110v North American standard bulb on a European standard 220v circuit will likely end badly.

https://www.waveformlighting.com/home-residential/e26-vs-e27-bulbs-are-they-interchangeable



So our regular plugs are 120v - is it going to be bad to use the 220v equipment on the 120v power?  

Is it going to give me different lumens than advertised?

Is there some way to test lumens?  
 
r ranson
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It would look something like ...

Wall = 120
lamp wiring and socket = 220
bulb rated for 120

???
 
Alley Bate
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Shouldn't be a problem so long as the amperage (not total wattage) rating of the fixture isn't exceeded by the 120v bulb.

For instance, a 1000W bulb @ 120v draws 8.3'ish amps which would be too much for a 220v fixture with a maximum amperage of 4.5'ish but still rated for 1000W 220v.
 
r ranson
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The bulb it comes with draws 45W.  I can't see using a stronger draw than that as it's hard to get anything other than LED locally.
 
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Constant on lamps are easier to see the results, but photography flash bulbs are overall a lot more versatile once a person learns to imagine what the settings will look like.
I started with a couple cheap lumipro flashes, umbrella and diy light shaping (cardboard, tinfoil), and never outgrew them. A good site to learn flash photography is to dig through the archive of https://strobist.blogspot.com/
 
r ranson
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I was thinking about the flash.  

I guess the reason I've decided against them (for now) is that I am toying with the idea of shooting videos and also I always need more light when crafting, so I would like a steady light that I can take the diffuser off and use for seeing by.  
 
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https://www.amazon.com/CRAPHY-Professional-Continuous-Lighting-Carrying/dp/B06XQ1W14X/ref=sxin_0_ac_d_pm?ac_md=2-1-QmV0d2VlbiAkNzUgYW5kICQxMDA%3D-ac_d_pm&keywords=lighting+kit&pd_rd_i=B06XQ1W14X&pd_rd_r=0ac1fd1d-5827-4184-b73e-2168dda4a15f&pd_rd_w=pYAkf&pd_rd_wg=GDOuZ&pf_rd_p=24d053a8-30a1-4822-a2ff-4d1ab2b984fc&pf_rd_r=SCAPQ300RFMARMBA48HD&psc=1&qid=1574696164&s=arts-crafts

here is the one I use
problem with DIY is bulbs cost as much as the whole kit.
 
r ranson
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jimmy gallop wrote:

here is the one I use
problem with DIY is bulbs cost as much as the whole kit.



Wow, the difference between US and .CA Amazon pricing.  more than twice as much even after the exchange rate.

I have my eye on a kit like that, but with umbrellas.  

What I would really like is a kit like that, but with lights that have a USB plug instead of a wall plug.  That way, each light could have a battery pack at the base.
 
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