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Old June 9th, 2008, 12:12 AM   #1
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Lighting for digital photography

Hey guys,

Just last week, I got a new position at work. I'm in charge of taking pictures of all the new products and cleaning them up and prepping them for the website so people can purchase. Now, our current setup is a Canon EOS40D camera. It's a great camera, but a bit too complicated for our purposes.

Right now, with our current studio lights, the pictures come out very yellow. Even after the white balance has been set. The camera still registers the light as yellow. In fact, the light is yellow period.

My question is, what are good WHITE lights? The ones we use have a very yellow hue. I'm not good at lighting, so I'm assuming this has to do with the color temp. of the lights, correct? If so, what is the proper color temp. for studio purposes?
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Old June 9th, 2008, 06:18 AM   #2
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Get an expodisc

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Old June 9th, 2008, 09:24 AM   #3
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What are you using for studio lights? Tungsten? This shouldn't happen if you're using the white balance correctly and the lights are normal lights with a high CRI and a usable color temperature.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 09:52 AM   #4
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Roger,

Its really quite impossible to get yellowish pics if your white balance has been done. It may be that something has gone wrong with the camera. Did you try the Tungsten preset balance? That should give you at least a not so yellowish pic as compared to a Daylight setting.

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Old June 9th, 2008, 03:39 PM   #5
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Is it possible you are allowing AWB (auto WB) to take over?

I know my pocket cams I use for eBay product shots sometimes "see" something when started up that shifts their decision making process towards "yellow" - I can restart them, and no problems...

Maybe start the cam pointed at a white sheet of paper placed in the general area where you shoot your product shots? That should allow the cam to get a proper reading of what it shoudl interpret as "white". If that doesn't work, you may need to "fool" the WB - do a search for "warm cards" for some ideas.

Failing that, maybe you will need to change your lighting setup - a lot of small product shots use a "tent" to diffuse lighting.

Just some ideas for you!
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Old June 9th, 2008, 10:02 PM   #6
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Wow.

All these many years I've been doing field white balances in a very successful professional video practice using scrap foamcore, pieces of available notebook paper, and/or the t-shirts of my crew - and NO ONE EVER TOLD ME that what was ACTUALLY required was a $50-$150 special white plastic lens gizmo that nobody had invented yet.

How silly do I need to feel to atone for my decades of uninformed foolishness?

I guess I better RUN right out and buy one of these - right after I run down to the pet store and get some pants for the cat, of course.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 10:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Roger Rosales View Post
My question is, what are good WHITE lights? The ones we use have a very yellow hue. I'm not good at lighting, so I'm assuming this has to do with the color temp. of the lights, correct? If so, what is the proper color temp. for studio purposes?

Standard tungsten studio lights are 3200 Kelvin which appear yellow to the
eye. Try setting your 40D to the 3200 K setting shooting with the K setting also.
Now see if your photos are still yellow? you can still lower the kelvin setting a little more too...

Sounds like you aren't WBing correctly......
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Old June 9th, 2008, 10:50 PM   #8
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Roger,

I would ask the company to fund some education on the 40D if you are going to be using it for important tasks like product display.

I don't believe the camera is too complicated, you just need to to learn how to use it!

Since you will have the same lights for each shoot in the studio, once you set the camera up, you can probably leave it alone as nothing else will change.

Or, maybe hire a photographer to come in for an afternoon and teach you some things along with setting up the camera for your future use.
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Old June 10th, 2008, 07:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
Wow.

All these many years I've been doing field white balances in a very successful professional video practice using scrap foamcore, pieces of available notebook paper, and/or the t-shirts of my crew - and NO ONE EVER TOLD ME that what was ACTUALLY required was a $50-$150 special white plastic lens gizmo that nobody had invented yet.

How silly do I need to feel to atone for my decades of uninformed foolishness?

I guess I better RUN right out and buy one of these - right after I run down to the pet store and get some pants for the cat, of course.
Hehe. Silly me, I just use a sheet of white printer paper.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 06:57 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the replies! Sorry it took me a while to come back. I've been scrapping by with what we have, but it's definately hindering productivity.

Ok, after further investigation on our set-up I still don't know what we're using. Nobody else in the office knows since they don't deal with what I'm doing and the guy before me didn't leave information on the set-up.

Anyway, all I know is that our light stands are Hensel Studio Technik Integra 500. They have an option of 115V and 230V. I *believe* the lights that are being used are OSRAM Halogen Photo Optic lamp lights. At least that's what one of the guys says. He says he's positive.

on the box for the bulb, it says "120V 300W".

I've managed to get better looking images with setting the White Balance to Tungsten 3200 It takes the best shots thus far. I still get very very very little yellow hue to the images, but not much. FOr some reason the custom WB I did was worse. I'm pretty sure I didn't do it right. Right now that I have time to breath I can actually play with the camera more and learn it's intricate features.

It just strikes me as odd.

Another big problem we're having is the connection with the external lighting system. When the lights are connected, the timing is completely off by just a few milliseconds. Often times, it's worse. The images come out darker with the external flash lights and more yellow. The camera doesn't even read that external lights are connected to the camera so I can't even mess with the timing settings.

It's kinda hard for me to explain so I'm going to take pictures of our setup tomorrow and post them. This is the best I can explain. I hope you guys get an idea.

I'm thinking our lighting setup isn't compatible with the Canon EOS40D. Can anyone recommend a really good external flash lighting system that is meant for the Canon EAS40D?

Thanks in advance!
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Old June 25th, 2008, 07:37 PM   #11
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Your lights are probably connected to the camera's "PC" cord, which means you have to set the camera to use the "PC" (Flash X-sync) connection. When you do this, it should sync the shutter opening with the external flash.

Page 106 of the EOS 40D manual states you need to use a shutter speed of 1/16th second or slower for a "large studio flash".

Page 68 details the specific method of setting a custom white balance. First you have to photograph a white object with correct exposure settings under the same lighting conditions as your subject (fill the frame with the white target), select custom white balance from the menu, import the image of the white target you just took and select OK. Then, on the top of the camera, press the WB button and use the dial to select the icon that looks a bit like >O<

I don't have that camera, but the manual is available in the download section of www.canonusa.com
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Old June 27th, 2008, 03:00 PM   #12
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this may have been said, but after you choose the shot taken in the same lighting conditions of a gray or white card make sure you set the camera to custom, its often overlooked, you have two steps, set the custom then choose it as the WB, it is stored so you can use it later again if its the same,.
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Old June 30th, 2008, 04:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julian Frost View Post
Page 106 of the EOS 40D manual states you need to use a shutter speed of 1/16th second or slower for a "large studio flash".
I had to double check the manual, to make sure, it's 1/60th sec. 1/16th would be brutal as it's a challenge to get people to hold that still.

Depending on how large the objects are that you are shooting, I would take a look at the rather inexpensive Lowel Ego http://lowelego.com/
(There is some good tips on that site too)
Here's a short demo movie I made with the Ego http://dvcreators.net/products/ego_movieframe.htm

Or for larger stuff, I'm using the Photoflex strobes. They're on the pricey side, depending on how much you really want to get into it. Again, they have really good tips on their site http://www.photoflex.com/
When looking at some of the strobes, they show how they positioned the units along with reflectors to get certain looks.

You might also want to check out http://www.shootsmarter.com/ and http://www.dvcreators.net/dv-enlightenment/
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Old June 30th, 2008, 07:41 PM   #14
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I had to double check the manual, to make sure, it's 1/60th sec. 1/16th would be brutal as it's a challenge to get people to hold that still.
Urgh! So much for proof-reading my own stuff! Yes, 1/60th, NOT 1/16th. Sorry!
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Old July 7th, 2008, 11:15 PM   #15
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yeah, I definitely need to go over the manual some more and play with the camera a lot more. I've been managing so far, but I need to figure it all out soon.

Guy, we actually already have a great set of lights. I found them on B&H, here's the link:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...re_accessories

We're using older versions of these lights, but these are it. Our problem is the chord that goes to the camera doesn't fit proberly. We need an adapter but I don't know which or if it even exists for this camera/studio light combo. Any clues?

I'm looking at the canon site and e-store and there's so many different adapters that I'm assumming there's one for our needs, but which one?
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