Cheap Lights

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by LukeC79, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. LukeC79

    LukeC79 TPF Noob!

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    If you wanted to go cheap and not spend a bundle on lights, are there any tips that you could give me. These might be used with a light tent or softbox. They would be mainly pictures of jewellery, so silver and semi precious stones.
    Pics would be used online mainly, would there be any limitations?
    Are there any specific kinds of light that should be used or not used? Assuming that you have a tripod and can custom white balance your shots, would you be able to get away with a set of cheap lights?
    Any sites that have info on this?
    Thanks
     
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    For $20-50 you can get some of those portable work lights from the hardware store.

    They're not as bright as a strobe, but for inanimate objects that won't matter. Diffuse them with tracing paper or a sheet. As long as you do a custom white balance, or shoot a white card it'll be fine.
     
  3. Alleh Lindquist

    Alleh Lindquist TPF Noob!

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    Buy a couple used SB-28's or 26's and some V2 cactus remotes off ebay. Go read www.strobist.com to get more info on lighting. I can spend $50 to $100 on cheap stuff that will go in the garbage in a few months or $200 or something that will last you a very long time and allow you to grow and experiment with flash photography.
     
  4. KD5NRH

    KD5NRH TPF Noob!

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    Sunpak DS20s are cheap. Get a couple of Cactus triggers and either the dollar-store mini-tripods or the small Gryptons from Walmart to position them. You'll have to fiddle with settings, but inanimate objects rarely get tired of sitting still while you reshoot, so it's not like getting action shots or child portraits.

    Another option, since you don't need battery power, would be to get a couple of these lights and some standard household fixtures to position them. You can either trigger a master unit from a PC cord or Cactus trigger, or just use all slave units triggered by your built-in flash.

    What camera are you using?
     
  5. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I agree with O|||||||O... you should consider hot lights if there will be no models, especially if you plan to do a lot of close-up work.

    -Pete
     
  6. KD5NRH

    KD5NRH TPF Noob!

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    The problem with the 500W hotlights is that diffusing them with anything short of asbestos or bouncing off a wall from a few feet away poses a fire hazard. They dump several hundred watts each of waste heat into the studio, which is great during the winter, but if the outside temps are over 60, you might find things getting a bit warm. Sure, there are high-temp diffusers available, but they're not as practical for a small eBay merchant-type setup as finding a way to avoid the issue altogether.

    I've used 100W-equivalent CFLs in $6 clamp-type holders a couple of times, but they always needed either a bit of fill flash or a long shutter speed to get the exposure up to what it needed to be when using a background other than white paper.
     
  7. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I do it all the time with a 1000 watt light. Yeah, it gets hot - but not that hot. The sheet doesn't have to actually be touching the light (I would actually recomend that it doesn't). Just drape it in front of it.


    They get hot, but not hot enough to set a sheet on fire from three feet away.
     
  8. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The only cheaper thing I can think of is "open the blinds" or "go outside".
     

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