outdoor vs. indoor lighting

tbone13

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im running an online business and i wanted to improve my picture quality but i cant figure out how to do it. i didnt have a huge budget so i made my own light fixtures (foam board and white sheet covers) and used full spectrum bulbs (http://paralite.com/compact_fluorescent.shtml).


here is a sample of 2 pics that i took

natural lighting:
http://www.snowflake02.com/test1.jpg

indoor lighting:
http://www.snowflake02.com/test2.jpg

i cant seem to get the indoor pics to come out clear like the natural pic. is there something im missing? should i try a different setup? is my only solution to buy a pro light fixture/box?

the room that ive converted to a studio is approx. 10ft x 10ft. the wall color is slightly off white. i have 6 boxes about 4 ft. away and pointed at 45 degree from each side of the target.

for my business, picture clarity is everything and b/c i work mostly in the evening, taking daytime pics can be difficult and sometimes impossible when the weather doesnt permit.

any help would be appreciated. thanks!
 

zedin

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Well first question I would ask is are you using a tripod? (assuming you are) With the lightboxes you will have less overall light then a window so will need longer exposures. Also was the apature for both pictures the same? For the natural light since there is more available light it might be using a smaller apature if it is on auto and a larger apature (thus softer pic) for the indoor lighting.
 
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tbone13

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yes, all the settings were the same for both pics. i am using a sony digital camera. it is set to outdoor mode.. and for aperture (if you mean the 100, 200, 400 setting), that was set to auto.

im using a tripod that was given to me and since i am new to photography, i assumed a tripod is a tripod. but im beginning to suspect that its a crappy tripod.

i will try a new tripod as well as no zoom.

any other input would be apprecated. thanks!!
 

zedin

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The 100, 200, 400 thing is the speed. This basically has to do with how much noise you get in your digital pic (higher speed more noise but need less light). Apature is also reffered to as f-stop and this is the size of the hole the light passes through to get to the sensor. A larger hole (smaller f-stop number but still reffered to as large apature) means more light gets to the sensor in a given period of time but less depth of field. Depth of field here refers to the distance in front and behind your focus point that is considered 'in focus'. A smaller apature (larger f-stop number) means less light comes it for a given period but that your images are more sharp since you have a larger depth of field. I would look to see if you can set your f-stop manually via a menu or something and shoot at f8 or f11 both with outdoor and indoor to see if they are the same sharpness.
 

Soocom1

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im running an online business and i wanted to improve my picture quality but i cant figure out how to do it. i didnt have a huge budget so i made my own light fixtures (foam board and white sheet covers) and used full spectrum bulbs (http://paralite.com/compact_fluorescent.shtml).

Hello. As someone who shoots Indian jewelry for presentation, I can offer this advice:

First aspect to remember is that the full spectrum bulbs that you cite are primarily not used for photographic purposes. People do and have used them many times with success. Photographic bulbs typically shoot around 100-5000 watts. The ones you use are 25 watt and thus cooler in actual temperature. Nothing wrong with them ad full spectrum, but you will see that using MORE of them will give a little better result. I suggest adding two or three more to the mix, strategically placed.

here is a sample of 2 pics that i took

natural lighting:
http://www.snowflake02.com/test1.jpg

This picture is fine, but if you use ambient light, you might want to try outdoors, on a bright day with a screen casting a shadow over the object.
This allows ambient light in its natural 'wrapping' aspect around the object without causing bright or 'hot' spots.

indoor lighting:
http://www.snowflake02.com/test2.jpg

The problem with the second image is only that you used a black background to do your comparison. White, off white, or any other light color will reflect your light to such a degree that it will actually cause a major change in the way the light behaves. To test this, set up you camera's light meter to read the image with the black background, and record the f-stop, and shutter speed ratings. Or use a light meter. Then without changing anything on the camera or light meter, remove the black and you will see the meter jump as much as two to three stops. The black will absorb light, but is actually more pleasurable because it cuts down on reflections, hot spots, and increases the desirable contrasts. Set up the object approx 8-14 inches from the backdrop, and add one or two lights to softly illuminate the black. This gives a pleasant 'back fill' effect if done properly.

i cant seem to get the indoor pics to come out clear like the natural pic. is there something im missing? should i try a different setup? is my only solution to buy a pro light fixture/box?

Mostly because natural light is 5500K, but remember even the 'natural light' lights and flash strobes are not throwing out the actual light spectrum that the sun it. (Too much in the way of physics here to explain). Strobes and your lights come close, but not quite there. No man made light is. I would advise that you buy the stated equipment when you can, but until you can afford it, work with ambient light as best as you can.

the room that ive converted to a studio is approx. 10ft x 10ft. the wall color is slightly off white. i have 6 boxes about 4 ft. away and pointed at 45 degree from each side of the target.

Look at these...

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1582971269/102-3890220-7613703?v=glance&n=283155"]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1582971269/102-3890220-7613703?v=glance&n=283155[/ame]

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0817463003/102-3890220-7613703?v=glance&n=283155"]http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0817463003/102-3890220-7613703?v=glance&n=283155[/ame]

for my business, picture clarity is everything and b/c i work mostly in the evening, taking daytime pics can be difficult and sometimes impossible when the weather doesnt permit.

Keep this one point in mind. Some of the best product photography is typically shot with a slow ISO/ASA. Sometimes as slow as 1 min. This allows for a solid 'burn' but requires a rock solid tripod, and remote cable.
The slower usually the better.

any help would be appreciated. thanks!
 
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tbone13

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thanks for the help!

i am in desperate need of new equipment so i hope with your info and a small investment my pics will come out clean.

for the time being i will have to fidget with what i have :(

i also have a LOT of reading to do!

thanks again!
 

Rob

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Get a load of tin foil and make some reflectors, set both light bulbs at 45deg to your subject with a big tin reflector behind each.

Separate your subject further from the background, and if possible, get a little anglepoise with a small daylight bulb to back light.

Tripod essential, low ISO highly desirable.

Also, your focus looks a little iffy in those two examples, so make absolutely sure you achieve focus lock before shooting the main shot.

Good luck, you're not too far off.

Rob
 

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