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Thread: Photo Light Box

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    zib
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    Default Photo Light Box

    I recently built a photo light box to take some better pics, not only of stones but all things shaving. The box I choose is about, oh, I don't know, maybe 20" H x 24L x 20d, Give or take...I cut what I was supposed to. I have two goose neck lamps with natural lamps, 60w each, plus a metal clamp on shop light with a 100w bulb for the top. All openings are covered with that muslin fabric....

    I have a good camera. It's a Nikon coolpics L100, and I do have a small tri pod I use. After all that, The pics still didn't look all that great to me..
    They still had a yellow tint, which "Windows" fixed. Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions, etc....

    Rich
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    Born a Hundred Years Too Late aroliver59's Avatar
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    I think you have to use bulbs designated as "Daylight" bulbs.

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    zib (12-18-2009)

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    Senior Member superbleu's Avatar
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    While the light may look white to you, your camera will incandescent bulbs see the light as orangish. If you use standard fluorescent lights it will have a bluish tinge. Quick fix try setting the white balance on your camera to custom or to the incandescent setting. Better fix get your hands on some high output fluorescent bulbs that match daylight, (5500 K)
    these work much better for me Replacement Photo Light Bulbs from ALZO digital
    I got the 45 watt bulbs, but wish I had gotten the 85W, one can never have enough light. Also you will need socket extenders most likely, but buy them from lowes or home depot for a dollar or 2 and not from alzo. Amazon also sells these bulbs.

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    If your camera has it, you can play with the "white balance" settings. If not, various image editing programs have the ability to adjust the white balance. If you include something in each shot that you know is white (such as white paper in the backgound), you can just fiddle around until the know object appears white. You'll probably see that "auto white balance" (which is likely what your camera uses if it has no manual setting) will respond differently based on the actual subject you photograph, even under the same lighting. For example, a green object may require a different correction than a blue one - so if you do find settings (using an image editing program) that work for one photo, they may not work for another shot.

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    If you are looking for a free and powerful photo editing tool, The Gimp may be for you. It's also available for Windows (and Photoshop users may want to google "Gimpshop" for a more PS'ish look and feel). Here is a tutorial for adjusting the white balance: Really basic photo editing with GIMP: Part 3. Adjusting color and brightness.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    I use flash units instead of incandescents - flash is already the same colour temp as daylight, give or take a bit. You only need to build an enclosure out of stiff white card, then use one large bounced flash (don't point the flash at the subject, bounce it off a white wall or the sides of the enclosure - this softens the light) or two small flash units bounced off different angles. If the flash is powerful enough you can diffuse (=soften) it by shooting it through a mesh or net curtain or tracing paper - you can have two or more of the sides of the enclosure made into 'windows' with tracing paper and shoot the flash through from the outside.

    This setup can be very cheaply put together - a couple of small slave units and mini tripods for the flash (the slave units are dirt cheap - they sense a flash of light and fire the flash they are attached to). You use the cameras pop-up flash to trigger the slave units. You will have to set your camera on to manual and take a series of test shots to see what f-stop/time values work best, but once you have the correct exposure just measure everything, draw a diagram and you can set up again straight away.

    If you can set your on-camera flash to the minimum setting it will not cause harsh shadows (which is why we want to soften the lighting - direct lighting is harsh, indirect is soft - direct light shows and magnifies every flaw and line) - but if it is not that controllable you can either construct a reflector in front of it so that it still triggers the slaves but doesn't light the main subject or you can buy a tilt-head on camera unit and not use the built in flash - turning the tilt-head away (eg aiming it at the ceiling) works well.

    If you stay with the incandescent bulbs and your camera white-balance can not be set satisfactorily, you can get light-correcting filters to go in front of the lens - the blue-tinted ones usually correct light somewhere near the correct colour, but they can cause colour casts. Photo-editing software sometimes has light-correcting filters built-in too.

    Regards,
    Neil

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    If you can shoot RAW, then post processing the color temp is a lossless operation; otherwise, if you have custom white balance that would be the best. The next best would be to filter the light to adjust the white balance. You would use gel color correction (cc) filters to do this, and place them in front of the light. The next best would be optical glass filters over your lens, and last is post process them to the right color balance.

    As long as there is a known neutral object (white, black, gray) it is easy to adjust the color temperature. If you are just looking for an easy way to do it google picasa does a good job with little work.

    If you are using GIMP there is a plugin for white balance that works very well. I haven't used GIMP in a while, so the plugin may be included by now.

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    zib (12-19-2009)

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    It's all getting a bit complicated - why not just swap out the bulbs for incandescent daylight equivalents and make do?! The blue sylvania lamps aren't bad and the compact flourescents are better (but might be a touch too blue).

    Regards,
    Neil

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Miller View Post
    It's all getting a bit complicated - why not just swap out the bulbs for incandescent daylight equivalents and make do?! The blue sylvania lamps aren't bad and the compact flourescents are better (but might be a touch too blue).

    Regards,
    Neil
    I agree that it's a bit complicated. If all you want is photo's that look good over the web then picasa is an easy way to get that, plus it will down size the pictures. Unless you have a camera that makes ridiculously small files you will want to down sample them anyway. Plus: Picasa is free, and you won't get photo floods that cheap.

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    zib
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    Here's the deal. I have a light box. I use two goose neck desk lamps with daylight Incan bulbs, (The blue ones) On the top, I have a work light, with a 100w daylight bulb in it.
    All the opening are covered with Muslin fabric...I've experimented with the light through the fabric, and then shining right in the box directly, which seems to work better. The pics are still yellow, lucky for me, Windows fixes it. As Neil suggested, I may try the flash. I just dont' see that much of a difference with the box. More experiments I guess...
    We have assumed control !

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