Monday, February 27, 2012

Fluorescent Lighting in a Nutshell

We've spent quite a good deal of time recently informing you about photography lighting equipment. You already know about Tungsten lighting and you're more comfortable with strobe lights. Now it's finally time to discuss fluorescent lights. Most photographs that use fluorescent lights indoors seem more natural, especially black and white photographs. However, color photos tend to look a bit more unnatural. Fluorescent lights produce more blues and greens and lack in reds. Without the use of filters, you can expect a blueish/greenish tint on your photos. This can seem light a major disadvantage and might discourage new photographers. When used properly though, fluorescent lights can really shine –pun intended.

Fluorescent lights are brighter and more evenly light a room than Tungsten. With a higher level of light it is easier to receive enough exposure and can capture more detail that may have been lost in shadow areas. They are also not nearly as hot as Tugnsten, so your subject won't feel the heat after a long photo shoot. Another positive is they will create very soft light, similar to that of a softbox. Keep in mind that when photographing people, fluorescent lights can cause dark shadows underneath the eyes, making they appear sunk in.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Get Familiar with Strobe Lighting

Last week we delved into the world of Tungsten lighting and weighed the pros and cons. Today's discussion will be about strobe lighting. Light is created when a spark is thrown through a tube filled with gas. The result is a light with a very short duration. While that might seem like a disadvantage, it's actually not. The short duration means you need not fret about movement in your subject or camera. Another advantage of strobe lighting is that the light is the same color as daylight. If you remember from last week, Tungsten lighting is more yellowish in appearance.

Strobe lights are powerful little devices that need to be well maintained. The capacitor in the light can store nearly 4,000 watt-seconds –not a small number! Because you're receiving so much light from a small light source, the light can often be harsh. Light modifiers will be necessary to better control the light. Strobe lights need some form of reflector to control where the light is pointed. Umbrellas and softboxes are both excellent choices, which we discussed a few weeks ago.

Strobe lights are an essential part of studio photography and photography lighting equipment. They offer versatility and the most control. New users will quickly learn that you cannot see the effect the light has on the subject. A flash meter will be needed to determine exposure. Take a few test shots to see how they come out.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Understanding Tungsten Lighting

When lighting up a studio for the next great shot, there are numerous types of bulbs to choose from, each with their own benefits and disadvantages. Tungsten lights, also known as continuous lighting, are a type of incandescent lighting and are different from both fluorescent and strobe lighting. The filament in these bulbs are made from the metal tungsten, hence their name. They are a popular choice among studio photographers, offering great flexibility and much warmer and softer light than fluorescent bulbs. Tungsten lighting reigned supreme for many years until the introduction of strobes, but it is still preferred by many photographers, as well as cinematographers.

Tungsten lights work continuously, making them easier to work with and consistent. They are also popular among wedding photographers because they can create dramatic shots. However, the main drawback to this photography lighting equipment is that they generate a lot of heat. When using them in conjunction with reflectors, umbrellas, etc., you must purchase equipment that can withstand higher temperatures. Don't be surprised when the room becomes quite uncomfortably hot after several hours of shooting. The filaments also age faster than those in strobe lights causing them to become more unpredictable. You will need to replace them much faster. 

Tungsten lighting will also create a yellowish appearance. Photographers utilize different daylight filters to correct the temperature or they choose a tungsten white balance on the camera to minimize the yellow tint. Consider the benefits of tungsten photography lighting equipment for your studio.  

Save 5% off your next purchase of Tungsten lights at by using the coupon "tungstenlight5" at checkout. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Illuminating Small Objects in a Light Tent

A light tent, also commonly known as a light shed, is used when photographing small items such as jewelry or small electronics. The tent is made out of a translucent nylon material and most come with backgrounds that attach to the inside. The purpose? To diffuse light evenly around the subject, soften the light, and reduce shadows.

When using a light tent, choose your attached background carefully. The biggest mistake is choosing a background that will blend into the subject. Subjects that are reflective by nature, though, will need a surface that is similar in color. For example, if you're photographing a vase with a black glaze, a white background will create a white reflection. Instead, choose a darker color surface to create a less noticeable reflection.

Lighting around the tent is just as important. Use at least two light sources –add a third to the front if you still see shadows. Daylight balanced fluorescent bulbs produce the most natural lighting. The lights should be set at the same level as the subject. You will need stabilization to ensure the best shot, so utilize carbon fiber tripods to reduce the chances of blur in the photograph. When you're ready to shoot, place the camera in the small opening of the shed.

Light sheds are part of the vast selection of photography lighting equipment offered at Save 5% off your next order, through Friday the 10th, by using the coupon code LightShed5.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Utilizing a Barn Door

There is a lot of photography lighting equipment on the market these days. Today's focus are barn doors, an item many of us are familiar with but few of us really know what they're for. We've probably all noticed them during school picture time. They are typically used for just studio photography and portraits. Barn doors allow you to adjust how much light hits the subject and where it will be directed. Most barn doors are fairly similar, differing mainly in size; 

After attaching the barndoor, you can then adjust the swiveling doors by pivoting them on the hinges. The closer you bring in the doors, the narrower the beam of light that will hit the subject. How far you open them is dependent on the effect that you are going for. A narrow beam will create a more dramatic look. Keep in mind that you will not get a straight edge of light from the doors because the light will bounce off the walls and will soften the edges.

Look to for some great deals on brand name barn doors, other photography lighting equipment, and much more. And don't forget to save 5% off your next purchase using the coupon code BAR5PERC, good through Monday, February 6th.