Any tips on photos of black objects? Never quite right to me.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by vigilante, May 3, 2018.

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  1. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It might be time for you to look into getting a studio strobe there are lots of options out there but this will give you much finer control over the light at a relatively cheap price point. A soft box would do you quite nicely as well.

    2+ seconds is quite an exposure time when you have control over the lights.

    One cheap and easy light solution I have used in the past for video work is common industrial halogen setups they are cheap and can be had locally in a pinch.


     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    There's no issue on non-moving subjects with ISO 100 at f/16 and 2 to 6-second exposures...that's fairly normal with "average" constantly-on lights of the type you have...pigtail type fluoros! As far as it goes, manufacturers' statements about flourescent light bulb output levels are often pie in the sky optimistic.
     
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  3. PolkaDoz

    PolkaDoz TPF Noob!

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    100%. When it comes to taking pictures of dark especially black objects, you must take in consideration the shadows and even more importantly, how light would be reflected off of a black object. Then you make the proper adjustments. A really smart client told me about it. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty impressed actually. We had a 6 month professional relationship and he always paid his invoices on time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2018 at 5:18 PM
  4. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I recently read an interesting description of black and white photography: it is 1 white, 255, one pure black at 1 and 254 grays. I like the idea of introducing a highlight. A specular highlight edge transition can be slow or fast, just like a shadow edge transition. The specular highlight transition tells the brain the surface texture of an object. Example: small flash light shining on a black car from a foot away, the specular is instant highlight edge transitions to black and says is is shiny. Flash light shining on a piece of black suede has a slow specular edge transition telling the brain it is textured.
     
  5. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    [/QUOTE]

    The lamps are big curly CFLs, a couple 45w and a 60w I think. The one brighter one I use as the main and the others to fill in the light box. Stuff like this https://www.amazon.com/LimoStudio-45-Watt-Photo-Spectrum-AGG1758/dp/B0161NTZ4G/ref=sr_1_11_sspa

    I just did some more shots today, it's bugging me. When my lighting is pulled down, the dark surface of the object looks very grainy, textured, and splotchy. Usually splotches are green for some reason. When I go brighter, it eliminates the splotches and graininess and contrast and looks nice, except that it's not very black any more. Maybe I need a better lens.

    I don't have a light meter but I wonder if I can look for the "right" settings via the histograms on the camera? I try to go bright but never touching the right edge or dark edge entirely.

    I always keep ISO at 100, the cheaper camera and lenses just don't do higher ISO at all. I keep the aperture smaller because on products I don't necessarily want out of focus areas when taking photos in perspective angles. 12 to 16ish. That leaves only shutter speed ya? And good lighting of course. So these CFLs claim they are like 200w regular bulbs but that seems like crap to me. They don't seem all that bright really. But I've got three of them for Pete's sake!
    Still I need a shutter to be like 2+ seconds. I do wonder if the really slow shutter could be causing grainy and splotchy issues.
    Would it be better to get even brighter lights so I can speed up the shutter?[/QUOTE]

    Several problems that you have to look at.

    #1 - the lights.
    - - CFLs are NOT bright, no matter the advertising.
    - - Unless you put them into a good SHINY reflector, you will loose a lot of light from the bulb.
    - - You need the light as close as you can get them.
    > I would use a flash, but they are harder to use for many people. Because unless the flash has a modeling light, you cannot see the shadows and how the lighting will look, until after you shoot.

    #2 - metering.
    > You said you don't have a hand meter. You can use the one in your camera. Get a grey card to place where your subject is, then meter off of the card. Then you have a metering system that will not be affected by your subjects color/brightness.
    - - If you want a BLACK object, you do NOT want to set the histogram to the right. That is making the object brighter/lighter.
    - - A black object is hard to meter, because there is no spike on the histogram. Black is the ABSENCE of light. If you see a spike, it is from something else, or a reflection off the black object. So you have to meter off the grey card, then adjust exposure based on how the image looks.
    - - Unless you have your meter in spot mode, your meter and histogram is also probably metering the background of your light box.
     
  6. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Use a Light Meter and a SpyderCube
     

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