Lighting problems - limited resources

Discussion in 'Specific Technical Assistance' started by Markus10527, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. Markus10527

    Markus10527 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New York, USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I am usually in charge of photographing our company's products and I use my own Pentax digital camera (6.1Mpx) for the images. Our General Manager got a white background sheet/stand, and 3 spotlights - 2 have large reflectors and photo umbrellas, one is a small reflector spot. The large reflectors have GE Photoflood bulbs in them.

    I've tried setting my camera's white balance for tungsten lighting, fluorescent lighting, and even for natural daylight. Just using the lamps I'm still having shadow issues. If I use a flash, then the flash over powers the light from the bulbs (plus it throws the white balance off). My "photo area" is approximately 9 feet deep by 10 feet wide (all the space the Co. could provide for a makeshift photo studio). The only other thing I have is an old Vivitar Electronic Flash 2000 bounce flash attached to a sensor unit that makes it work as a slave flash.

    Products that I'm having the most trouble with are large endoscopy carts (they're like heavy-duty TV/Media carts for medical equipment). They're usually an off-white color - kinda like an eggshell white. I usually have to set my camera back pretty far to get the entire rig in the picture holding it sideways (portrait) on a tripod.

    Given the space and the materials I have to work with, does anyone have suggestions on how to setup to photograph these products? My lighting always looks off! :-(
    My photo area:
    [​IMG]

    Using flash white balance setting:
    [​IMG]

    Direct spotlights - set with Tungsten light white balance:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Welcome to the forum.

    One of the problems that you are having...is that your flash and the continuous lights probably don't have the same color temperature. So if your White Balance is set for one of them...the other will cause a color cast...and visa verse. The room lights are probably fluorescent?...which doesn't help.

    I suggest dropping the flash and working with the continuous lights that you have. You can probably set a custom WB on your camera. You do this by taking a shot of something white, under your lights, then go into the menu and set a custom WB...and select your white image as the benchmark. Then choose custom under your WB setting.

    Does your camera have the option to shoot in RAW? If so, use that. Because then you have the option to change the WB on the computer, after the shot has been taken.

    Once you have that down, you can concentrate on the other aspects of lighting. Like the position of the lights etc. For this, you probably just want soft even light. So set the lights on either side of the unit and the umbrellas should make for soft light. To make the background white, you should use another light or two on the background.

    You may still need to do some editing on the images to make them presentable. With something like this, it would be fairly easy to select the background and tweak it, so that it's completely white....which leaves your unit on it's own.
     
  3. Markus10527

    Markus10527 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    New York, USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks Big Mike - I'll try to white balance on the camera. I can take RAW images, but the problem is that my computer applications won't read the Pentax RAW format. I tried to download a plug-in for Photoshop 6x that's supposed to be able to read the Pentax RAW files, but the plug-in won't recognize the file extension that my *istDL creates - even though the plug-in listed that camera as one of the cameras it can read the RAW files of. However, I don't even see it as a file format to select when I go to the "open file" window. It IS listed in the "About Plug-ins" menu item, but it seems to not work.

    Do you know of any free, downloadable conversion tools that'll work on a Windows XP Pro machine which will read Pentax RAWs?
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Older versions of Photoshop won't accept the newest versions of 'Adobe Camera RAW'...which is the application that reads RAW files...so you would need a newer version of Photoshop...unfortunately.

    There are several RAW conversion programs available...try a Google search. I'm quite certain that your camera would have come with software for this...so why not use that. Typically, the RAW conversion software isn't the best for editing...so the workflow is that you open & convert the RAW files (setting the WB etc) then save the file as a JPEG or TIFF. Then use Photoshop or whatever to edit it.
     

Share This Page