Newbie with Lightbox Questions

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Cirrus, May 5, 2009.

  1. Cirrus

    Cirrus TPF Noob!

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    I'm new to the forum and fairly new to digital photography. I have an Olympus E-500 camera and I'm pretty good at point and shoot stuff. But I make exotic wood products and I needed something professional looking for my website. I decided recently to make a homemade lightbox for my products. The plans I used are at this link: Homemade Light Box for Product Photography ยป StudioLighting.net . I've got 2 big shop lights with bright halogen bulbs. But for some reason, when I take pictures the background isn't the pure white like it's supposed to be. It's more of an off-white and doesn't look very good at all. There is tons of light in the little box, I'm sure. I turn all of the other lights in the room off so that all the ligh is being directed in the box. I don't have a flash except for the little pop-up that came on the camera. But I shouldn't need it should I?

    How can I get the background color to be more of a pure white instead of the murky off-white I'm getting? Is there some kind of setting that I can do on my camera to remedy this? As I said, I'm pretty much a newbie so I don't know all the photography lingo. So break it down really simple for me. Thanks!
     
  2. Jaszek

    Jaszek No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    check you white balance settings.
     
  3. Cirrus

    Cirrus TPF Noob!

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    I would love to do that. But like I said, I have no experience with changing those settings. I'm not really sure what I'm looking for. And if I need to adjust something, I don't know what to do or what exactly I need to be looking for when I do check the settings.
     
  4. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I doubt that your camera will have a white balance preset for halogen lights... You'll probably have to do a custom white balance.

    I'm not familiar with your camera, but the manual should tell you how to do that. It shouldn't be too hard.

    Also, depending on what software you're using, it's easy to do after the fact too. Usually there's an eyedropper tool where you basically just click on the part that should be white.
     
  5. Jaszek

    Jaszek No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    did you read your manual? Check where you have a button to change your white balance. Also if you find out how you can set custom white balance, or shoot in RAW and fix WB in PP.
     
  6. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm looking up the manual now... Man, it sucks. The part on "shooting" basically just says "put it on auto"...

    (That was in the "basic" manual...the "advanced" manual is still downloading.)
     
  7. LarryD

    LarryD TPF Noob!

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    Perhaps you should invest in a couple of good photo lamps that are color corrected.......
     
  8. Cirrus

    Cirrus TPF Noob!

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    Well I've been looking on the camera and there is a WB access button. It has icons like "auto", one with a pic of sun so outdoors I assume, one with a cloud so I'm assuming low light, and another with a house so I'm assuming that's indoors. I haven't tried to use that yet, but I will. I can't seem to figure out how to get into the custom white balance menu though. From the charts I've found, 4000 is about what flourescent white is. If anyone knows how to get to the custom WB setting, let me know.
     
  9. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    OK here's how you do it. Read page 89 of the Advanced manual.

    Apparently this is the only way to do it - not quite as easy as it would be with Canon or Nikon... (With Canon all you have to do is take a picture of the 'white' object; I understand that with Nikon all you have to do is point your camera at it.)

    Set your white balance to CWB (It looks like a box with two little triangles under it). You have to dial in the color temperature, not knowing the temperature of your lights - that means trial & error. Does that camera have live view? If it does you might be able to see the changes as you go. Just keep adjusting it untill the white background is actually white.

    edit
    I forgot - to 'dial it in' you have to hold down the +/- button while rolling the wheel.

    Check the manual - it has pictures, lol.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2009
  10. Cirrus

    Cirrus TPF Noob!

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    The little box with the triangles in the corners means that's the quick setting. You hold that button down and press the shutter button while you're shooting against your white and it sets your white balance. But when I did that, it totally distorted the other colors in the photo.

    I found the CWB menue and set it to 4000. It looks a lot better than it did before. I'm not a professional, but as long as it looks like it wasn't taken by a 5 year old, I'm happy.

    I wonder why the auto white balance messed with the other colors in the frame though?
     
  11. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That sounds easier than the way I said to do it. You may want to do that with nothing in the box though - so that the entire frame is filled with the white background.

    The color of your lights is going to affect everything it falls on, not just the white. If you get it to where the white is 'right', everything else should be right too.

    Maybe your eyes have just gotten used to seeing the wood box (or whatever you're taking pictures of) with the "wrong" colors, and now the right colors look off.
     
  12. Cirrus

    Cirrus TPF Noob!

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    Well I took everything out of the box when I did the quick white balance deal. When I took the picture with the subject in the box, it changed the purples to blues and totally got rid of the oranges.

    Now that I at least know where stuff is and how to get back to auto, I'll just have to experiment with it I guess.

    Thanks for the help though!
     

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