In a dark, dark woods, there was a dark, dark house. And in that dark, dark house, there was a dark, dark room. And in that dark, dark room there was a photographer!
We are very slowly upgrading our home. The lighting in the kitchen and living room are both need replacing and I want to replace it with photography friendly lighting. What do I need to think about when considering lighting for a room where I also want to take photos (especially stock photos).
For example, for dessert tonight we have a pineapple. We have a different way of cutting up pineapples that I've seen on the internet so I thought I could take some photos. But the light in the kitchen is horrible! There's no way I can take a good photo of cutting up a pineapple in those conditions and I don't really want to get out the big fancy studio lights.
What do I need to think about for buying new lights for these rooms?
I was thinking of going with LED because these rooms don't need extra heat. They actually get too hot compared to the rest of the house.
Something to think about is if I'm using a mechanical or electronic shutter. If the latter, LED would be no good. But since I use the mechanical shutter, this is fine.
Position of light is important. I might need to change where the wiring is in the kitchen so that the workplace isn't in shadow.
I have a light box I got on amazon for $20. It’s how I take photos for my Etsy shop without being dependent on good outdoor light. Great for small items and flat lays, but obviously wouldn’t work for photographing an entire room.
You should google inexpensive lighting equipment, I know you can use lights and stands that can be found at most hardware stores. These also have the advantage of being movable so you can shoot from different angles.
If you don’t already follow him, check out Peter McKinnon’s YouTube channel. He has some good info about indoor product photography and is frequently reviewing photo gadgets and equipment. I’ve learnt a lot from him.
It really depends on what you want, but in my opinion, there is nothing better than the sunlight.
Check out Jan Saudek - he's one of my favourite photographers, and he made almost all of his works in one basement room, with one window. He chose the room because of this light and he used only that, despite having limited time when it was just right.
Many photographers have their favourite time of day, such as the golden hour. And timing should not be an excuse... I used to invite actresses to my photography project, and sometimes the light I needed to have was at twilight, or during rain. So here they were, waking up in the middle of the night (which 4-5 a.m. is, for us artists) or soaked in the rain. I'm forever grateful. ;)
One thing useful if you do choose to work with daylight is good lens brightness. Some cameras (even in mobile phones) have algorithms to calculate sharp night photos; my phone can produce interesting effects with that.
Sunlight - is lovely but not an option for 4 to 6 months of the year where I live.
Lightboxes and supplementary studio light - also lovely. I already have this but I can't tell someone to wait 20 min while I dig it out. I want to take photos of daily tasks for Stock photography. Everyday things like chopping a pineapple.
What I'm looking for - I'm looking for light that is PRIMARILY household lighting that is installed in the ceiling.
For complicated reasons I'm not getting into, I can't put more places in for more lights. I have to stick with the boxes that are already there. But I can change the fixtures.
It needs to - not produce heat
- provide ample light for the camera (at f8 and ISO 100, I would like it to be less than 1/2 a second so I can handhold the camera. At slower than 1/2 a second, I have trouble camera shake for handheld shots. At the moment, my current lighting is 1 to 3 seconds at f8)
- has no flicker
- The other members of the household demand that it draws a small current, no more than 20W per fixture.
What I would look for:
- 5 year warranty (LEDs can last much longer than that. If they don't provide at least 5 years of warranty, something is up. Cheap components, operating far too hot or above the rating of the LEDs.)
- Color temperature of 5000K - 6000K
- CRI of 95 (and they provide a spectrum)
Depending on how and where they are mounted spot lights may or may not be a huge win. (Not sending most of the light to areas where it isn't needed.)