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Author Topic: Isolation lighting  (Read 6652 times)

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« on: January 04, 2007, 23:37 »
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I think I'm going to try some isolation shots and was wondering what people thought of this setup:
http://www.photekusa.com/


« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2007, 04:19 »
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well with the little bit of looking at it, it doesn't look TOO fancy.  Those little lamps look like desktop laps sold as photography lamps.  200W of light isn't too much.  It would be better to go to home hardware and get a couple 1000w florescent work lights for half the price (or less)  I don't have much to comment on their photography tent, other than that I wasn't impressed by their lights, and am sceptical to their tent as well.

If you are looking for great starter lighting i would check out alienbees
Alien Bee Lighting  Great lighting and economical.

as for light tents, i would go to bhphoto.  they have the same sized tents at cheaper prices, from more reputable names. 

« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2007, 05:27 »
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Well Alien Bee is out of my price range. I'm not looking to shot models, only small isolated objects.
As far as softboxs/lightents that is what the best photo store in the area carries. www.overlandphoto.com.

This is more of what I had in mind and they're doing it with 2 30W bulbs: http://www.tabletopstudio.com/documents/jewelry_photography.htm

« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2007, 06:48 »
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Here is what I did.

Bought:
A few clamp lights at the hardware store
A few ECT 500W bulbs from B&H
A few sheets of Rosco Rolux from B&H
Some large sheets of white foam core board from Staples

I then built a few light stands out of wood. Just something to hold a piece of wood upright, nothing fancy. This is just to clamp the clamp lights with the ECT bulbs too. I then made wood frames and stapled the Rolux to them. The Rolux goes in front of the bulbs to diffuse the light.

Then I built a box using the white foam board. That's it.

This works pretty good for me. I want to get some sheets of white acrylic and try lighting that from the back next. I will still use the homeade lights.

« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2007, 14:23 »
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yeah, the page you forwarded looks decent.

My point was basically trying to say that i think you could get stronger better lights at the hardware store.

10-$20 for a worklamp that is a ton o watts, or $50.00 for a 'photography' lamp

I agree that it is quite possible to get great shots with only 30W lights, You could shoot with a 2 watt light if you wanted, it will just mean longer shutter speeds.  With more watts though you will only be waiting 1/2 second each time you press the shutter instead of 10 seconds.

« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2007, 16:43 »
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I made my light tent out of some PVC tube, and the 'tent' out of some white nylon fabric..  Total cost about $20NZ in bits from the hardware store, and I think $10NZ for the fabric..

I've used everything from 100W work lamps to strobes to light it,

Most of the time I use some 2nd hand Vivitar 285's I got of ebay for $30US each, into similarly cheap umbrellas..  as per:

http://www.dpchallenge.com/image.php?IMAGE_ID=250940

Works really well..  as per:

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-1418146.html
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-826408.html
http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-1256520.html

« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2007, 20:34 »
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This kind of setup at Photek site gave me an idea.  There are street vendors here selling a kind of basket like that, but of a netted material (I believe it is supposed to be used as a dirty clothes basket).  I could buy one and put the white cloth I have on it and still have the background I want inside it.

I normally use two corkboards (one for the bottom and one for the back end) where I can pin a sheet of paper or textile for the background.  I use two or three common lamps for the lighting (sometimes natural window light plus lamplight), but only recently I have upgraded to using some sort of diffuser.  I haven't yet found a perfect material for me, but I haven't tried much.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2007, 00:22 »
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OK. What am I doing wrong? I have a softbox with a white velvet background and 2 x 250 watt halogen lights. I used photoshop's auto white balance function to compensate for the incorrect white balance of halogen lights, and yet I can't seem to get the wonderful white backgrounds that are required at stock agencies. Thanks.


« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2007, 05:27 »
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if you want a blasting white background you have to light the background more than the subject.  Either by putting more light behind the subject and infront of the background (so they shine ON the background).  Or make the background out of a slightly transparent white fabric that you can shine a light THROUGH.

lots of those blasted white images of things on istock (or most likely ALL to some extent) are isolated.  Which means using the selecting tool with photoshop and cafefully selecting around the object and painting everything else 255 255 255 white.

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2007, 13:17 »
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I wouldn't rely on the photoshop auto white balance, if I were you.  I'd do it manually, either in a RAW developing program or using the channel mixer in PS. 

This image looks pink and somewhat flat on my monitor (perhaps underexposed due to the white background throwing off your metering somewhat). 

I took the liberty of adjusting the image in Elements 2.0 to show how easy it is to fix (I'm sure the larger, original image was better than the reduced image you posted, of course).  I adjusted levels and contrast, and I converted the image to sRGB for display in a browser.  It's not perfect, but it's better I think.


OK. What am I doing wrong? I have a softbox with a white velvet background and 2 x 250 watt halogen lights. I used photoshop's auto white balance function to compensate for the incorrect white balance of halogen lights, and yet I can't seem to get the wonderful white backgrounds that are required at stock agencies. Thanks.


« Last Edit: January 07, 2007, 13:23 by Professorgb »

« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2007, 13:24 »
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Yingyang,

As Leaf said, you have to add more light to the background.  Also overexpose a bit - your subject looks a bit underexposed to me, so it reflects also on the background.  I am not used to adjusting white balance automatically in the editor and I use color filters such as curves and color balance for that (but then I'm no expert in edition). Be careful that some reflections are starting to appear on the top of the subject, so maybe you have to reposition your lights.

I also complete my isolations by carefully selecting and deleting part of the background, but I always start from something very close to white.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2007, 16:42 »
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I wouldn't rely on the photoshop auto white balance, if I were you.  I'd do it manually, either in a RAW developing program or using the channel mixer in PS. 
RAW developing program? Photoshop CS2 is a RAW developing program, isn't it?

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2007, 19:51 »
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CS2 isn't a RAW program per se.  However, the Photoshop Camera Raw plugin gives it RAW processing capability.  CS2 ships with Camera Raw included.

I don't use Camera Raw, so I can't comment on how to use it.  However, I use Raw Shooter Essentials, Adobe Lightroom, and Canon Digital Photo Professional.  Each of these programs has an eyedropper tool to help set white balance.  I find that the eyedropper works better than the automated white balance settings for most programs--or cameras, for that matter.

You might also try using a custom white balance by taking a shot of the velvet background and using that as your white point.  I find that this works quite well, especially since what is "white" to the human eye can vary extensively.  Your velvet background may in fact be slightly blue--like snow.  That would account for the very slight magenta cast I see in your image.

One other thing--part of your problem might be due to uneven lighting.  I notice that there are shadows at the edges of the frame and in other spots, as well.  Uneven lighting of this sort makes it more difficult to isolate the subject.

You might do a search at the SS forums for this topic.  I seem to remember a discussion (er, argument) involving Laurin Rinder and a few others.  The discussion was about how much to light the background.  One person suggested adding 2/3 stop to the background; Laurin suggested adding as much as 2 stops.

I wouldn't rely on the photoshop auto white balance, if I were you.  I'd do it manually, either in a RAW developing program or using the channel mixer in PS. 
RAW developing program? Photoshop CS2 is a RAW developing program, isn't it?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2007, 20:00 by Professorgb »

« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2007, 20:34 »
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I only take the time to shoot RAW for isolated subjects.  Selective Color white -100 and mask back in where needed plus levels, I think works well.

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2007, 22:53 »
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Sounds like a good technique.


I only take the time to shoot RAW for isolated subjects.  Selective Color white -100 and mask back in where needed plus levels, I think works well.


 

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