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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎07-01-2016

lighting

Although my photos have improved I still have a long way to go.  The photos are a little too dark so when I edit them to where they are light enough they lose the crispness of the item in the photo.  I use one indoor 60watt light overhead, two light bulbs that have printed on them 60hz 120vac 1250 lumens 5000k and two cheap halogen lights that came with a light box.  Am I needing bulbs with more lumen?  I've adjusted the white balance as the instructions say.  I use the 1+ or 1 1/3+ setting, no flash and the ISO is 100. 

 

I sell on Etsy and the standards are pretty high for photos on the site.  If I could get the photos crisp to show the detail better it would really be great.

Thanks for any help from the experts out there!

Patsy

VIP
Posts: 8,426
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

Re: lighting

What camera are you using?

 

If you set the camera to Auto it should give you proper exposure as a starting point. Can you post a sample image?

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,861
Registered: ‎12-02-2012

Re: lighting

[ Edited ]

So I assume you have a white background in your light box shots?

 

A couple of thoughts:

 

Don't underexpose and then increase exposure in post. That introduces noise and fouls up image quality.  Get it right in camera. 

 

A white background like like snow or a white sheet will fool the camera's auto metering. A lit backdrop is even worse.   The subject may be too dark.  You must use exposure compensation. Try adding +1 stop. If it is not enough go as high as +2 stops or whatever it takes to not need to adjust in post. 

 

Use a tripod so you can get all the light you need by using as long and slow a shutter as you need instead of increasing ISO above 100 or 200, which also hurts image quality. 

 

Stop down enough to get max sharpness and have lots of DOF. F/5.6 or f/8.  Higher f/stop if still more DOF is needed. Thanks to the tripod you can stop the lens aperture down and make up for it with a slower shutter. 

Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,119
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

Re: lighting

[ Edited ]

To supplement what Scott said about getting bright... In many cases, the automatic exposure will be a little dark, and unless you are using full manual (Av, TV and ISO) or you are using exposure compensation in Av or TV mode, it doesn't matter what you set, the pictures will come out the same - a bit dark.

 

Not sure which camera you're using but if you can set to live view in M mode with ISO set to 100  (on a tripod -or on something so it's not moving). Don't be scared about manual mode. The live view screen will tell you in real time if you are doing it right. Set the Av to f/5.6 or f/ 8. The live view screen will look very dark. Start changing the TV value until the live view looks bright enough to your liking then press the shutter button to take the shot. Don't forget to focus. Your picture will be perfect'.  If your color is off, change your white balance from AWB to K then change the K value until the picture looks perfect on live view.  If you can do this, you might have just master the camera without breaking that much of a sweat..Smiley Happy

 

================================================
Diverhank's photos on Flickr
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎07-01-2016

Re: lighting

Hi John,

I'm using a Canon powershot elph160.  I'm using the program setting so I can adjust the white balance which has helped somewhat in my photos but not enough. I use a homemade lightbox since the one I bought was too big. The headband is gray and the background is way too dark.  As I said though went I edit the photo it loses it's crispness.  Thanks in advance.sample1.JPG Here's a sample of an unedited photo. 

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎07-01-2016

Re: lighting

Hi Scott,

I can't always use a tripod since I have to do overhead shots as well as front shots.  I don't understand all of the advice you posted.  The canon powershot I have isn't the most user friendly camera I've ever used but I'm slowly figuring it out.  What is DOF?  I've posted an example of an unedited photo for another poster and here's another one.  When I lighten it enough to use online the subject loses some of it's color and a lot of crispness and focus.  Thanks of any help! Patsy

IMG_3555.JPG

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎07-01-2016

Re: lighting

Hi Hank,

I've not sure what Av or TV is.  I've been using the program mode since it allows me to adjust the white balance where the automatic doesn't.  With the automatic mode I couldn't get the photos as light as I can with the program mode.  When I use the 1+ or 1 1/3 the photos are lighter but still too dark.  When I increase that setting above the 1 1/3 they are too light most of the time.  You can see the other replies I've added to this thread and two unedited photos.

Thanks,Patsy

VIP
Posts: 11,944
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: lighting

[ Edited ]

@paws55 wrote:

Hi Scott,

I can't always use a tripod since I have to do overhead shots as well as front shots.  I don't understand all of the advice you posted.  The canon powershot I have isn't the most user friendly camera I've ever used but I'm slowly figuring it out.  What is DOF?  I've posted an example of an unedited photo for another poster and here's another one.  When I lighten it enough to use online the subject loses some of it's color and a lot of crispness and focus.  Thanks of any help! Patsy

IMG_3555.JPG


Some tripods have articulating arms that can rotate away from the vertical plane.  There are also lateral extension arms that can mount onto your tripod, or head, that give the ability to articulate the location of the camera.  Some tripods allow you to invert the center column so that the camera is between the legs, lke this...

 

IMG_2520.PDN.png

 

What is DOF?  That refers to Depth-Of-Field. 

 

http://www.dofmaster.com/doftable.html

 

DOF refers to how much of a shot is in focus, and how much is not.  Like creating portraits with the face in focus and a blurry background, which causes the eye to be guided to the in-focus portions of the image. 

 

Focus is perfect at a specific distance from the camera.  But, there is some distance closer to, and farther from, that plane of perfect focus that the eye will view as being acceptably in focus.  The difference between that near distance and far distance is DOF. 

 

When you focus on things very close to the camera, the Depth Of Field can become very small, or short, considerably less than an inch in many cases.

 

I see some spots in this sample photo.  They can be removed with a program like Photoshop.  Unfortunately, they look like dust and dirt, either on your image sensor or inside of your lens.  Cleaning a point and shoot camera is very difficult.  Most are not designed to be taken apart and put back together by hand.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
VIP
Posts: 8,426
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

Re: lighting

[ Edited ]

The majority of your photos is the white background. Camera exposure meters want to adjust the avrage of the photo to middle gray since typical scenes average out to middle gray.

 

So, adding exposure compensation of plus 1 to 1 1/3, like you are doing, is correct.

 

What software are you using to edit. I played with two images using  Canon ZoomBrower and they improved slightly and didn't degrade.

 

original-adjusted.jpg

 

original2-adjusted.jpg

 

What image settings are you using? I checked your camera specs and it has a 20 megapixel sensor, but your image size is only ~2 MB.  DoCapture.JPG you have a Large-Fine setting?

 

 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, MX472, LR Classic
Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,973
Registered: ‎02-26-2015

Re: lighting


@paws55 wrote:

Although my photos have improved I still have a long way to go.  The photos are a little too dark so when I edit them to where they are light enough they lose the crispness of the item in the photo.  I use one indoor 60watt light overhead, two light bulbs that have printed on them 60hz 120vac 1250 lumens 5000k and two cheap halogen lights that came with a light box.  Am I needing bulbs with more lumen?  I've adjusted the white balance as the instructions say.  I use the 1+ or 1 1/3+ setting, no flash and the ISO is 100. 

 

I sell on Etsy and the standards are pretty high for photos on the site.  If I could get the photos crisp to show the detail better it would really be great.

Thanks for any help from the experts out there!

Patsy


You don't need different bulbs, you need to get more light to the sensor. You are on the right track with +1 or +1 1/3 exposure compensation. But, because of the large amount of white in the back ground it is not enough. Keep upping the exposure compensation until you don't have to adjust the exposure in post processing. 

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