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Best Light Bulbs for taking photos indoors

Posted by tropical_thought (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 4, 12 at 12:51

I decided I did not care enough to buy a light tent, due to the cost, but I am looking for a bulb that will help to show true colors when I am taking photos. Using the flash creates a bounce back effect. I am photoing macro small objects indoors and I want to show detail. Should I be looking for high CRI or color tempurature or both? Should I go with LED or Halogen? I have full spectrum light bulbs, but they are not good for photos at all. I want something not to pricey that does not heat up quickly. My halogen flood lamps create light, but it looks too yellow to me. I have flood lighting all around my house, but I wanted like one special bulb to use for photos. The cheap ones I have in the house are fine for my house lighting. Outdoor photos can work, but sometimes it's not practical to go outdoors in bad weather.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Best Light Bulbs for taking photos indoors

You balance the camera 9or film) to the lighting.

Anything but incandescent is a real PITA to get decent balance with.

higher grade films used to be available in tungsten balance and daylight (or strobe0 balance.

A decent digital camera should have color balancing available somewhere in the setup screens.


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RE: Best Light Bulbs for taking photos indoors

Philips TL950 fluorescent T8 tubes.

2', 3', and 4' versions available. These simulate daylight (5000K) and have outstanding color rendering (98 CRI). Take an available-light (no flash) photo using a film camera loaded with standard daylight film, and the colors will still be perfect. Install a TL950 or two in a cheap fluorescent ceiling fixture; it's easy to make your own lightbox with one.

They make "photoflood" incandescent bulbs for this purpose (or used to) - check your local camera store. Those halogen bulbs with light-blue tinted glass (i.e. GE Reveal) work well for this purpose (but not the CFL Reveal which is completely different).

With digital cameras, try all the manual color-temperature settings. If your camera can take filters, try those. And of course you can alter the hue extensively after the fact in Photoshop.


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RE: Best Light Bulbs for taking photos indoors

That is great advice for the general condition, but I still want a bulb that can be screwed into a standard hood lamp or just a regular desk lamp. I have tried Revel bulbs, but was not happy with them. If my digital camera can change the white balance, (I don't know if it can) then I don't know how to do it. I need the best light bulb because changing sets can change the colors but does not improve the clarity of the image. Photoshop can make an improvement with the auto settings, but I want to get the best light bulb to begin with. I asked this question to photography forums before, but no would suggest a brand. But, this is a lighting forum. Does this mean all light bulbs are beyond hope and to just give up? I would like a suggestion of a brand and the wattage. It is better to use good light to begin with then to alter the photos after the fact. I don't use film cameras and I am not a pro photographer. It seemed like such a simple question, but I guess it's not simple.


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RE: Best Light Bulbs for taking photos indoors

"These simulate daylight (5000K) and have outstanding color rendering (98 CRI)."

The CRI is based on the human eye response to colors, not film or camera response.

No discharge lighting is ever going to match the black body radiation we are 'used' to.


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RE: Best Light Bulbs for taking photos indoors

I'm not talking about how they look under a spectrograph. I'm basing my earlier comments on how film photos shot with garden-variety Kodacolor Gold print film illumnated solely by TL950 lamps looked in the pictures - and the colors all looked as they would under daylight. (with typical "cool white" fluorescent bulbs, those photos would have had an overriding green tinge).

If you need a specific bulb recommendation, ask in a photo store or online thread about photoflood bulbs (which are expensive and short-lasting), or cheaper substitutes (dark blue colored floodlights). Again, I've had good results with the GE Reveal halogen 100w bulbs (or the 72w or 76w replacements they now sell) or similar - these are about 3500K and full spectrum - cooler than regular incandescent light but still warmer than daylight. In mixed-lighting indoor shots (electric lights on plus daylight filtering through windows), this works well.

You could also try the Solux incandescent bulbs available in 4700K near-daylight high color temperatures.

For best photographic lighting, it's often good to have two lamps - one to your left, and one to your right, and have one of them set to be twice as bright as the other. This gives the resulting photo 3 dimensionality without having overly dark shadows. Having the main source of light on the camera leads to a flattening effect with no shadows. Good photo lighting often takes extra work and isn't always convenient, but if you want the best possible shot it's worth the extra effort.


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RE: Best Light Bulbs for taking photos indoors

" I'm basing my earlier comments on how film photos shot with garden-variety Kodacolor Gold print film illumnated solely by TL950 lamps looked in the pictures "

Someone tweaked the exposure when the made the prints.

While you may think it "looked as they would under daylight" unless you looked at the prints and the original colors under the same light you really have no idea.

It is likely adequate for non-professional work, along with the grainy pictures all the new 'high speed' films produce.

It all depends on what you need, want, and are required to deliver.

Color fidelity has ALWAYS been a battle with imaging systems.

Luckily most of the time anything short of gross errors is acceptable.

Color checker charts are still used to both check and adjust color balance.

Get the 'wrong' color in and image, mixed with discharge lighting and all sorts of things can go wrong.


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RE: Best Light Bulbs for taking photos indoors

>> " I'm basing my earlier comments on how film photos shot with garden-variety Kodacolor Gold print film illumnated solely by TL950 lamps looked in the pictures "

> Someone tweaked the exposure when the made the prints.

I had similar results with Ektachrome slide film, which doesn't offer the lab a chance to tweak the color during enlarging/printing


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RE: Best Light Bulbs for taking photos indoors

Slide film never has "enlarging/printing" unless yo make prints.

And then you have a chance to adjust color balance.

Slides are the exact same piece of film you took the picture with, except for a few prop grad movie films that actually make negatives, and then get printed onto another film (with color correction) to make slides.

This is how real movies are made.

A negative film that is then used to print the actual film for projection.

Non-professional results have a lot of 'fudge' room since you are NOT likely to need a perfect color match.

Despsite efforts over many years, no one has made a film that works with an arbitrary 'color' of discharge lighting.

You can adjust to a particular mix of phosphors, but it will not match any other combination of phosphors.

CRI plays heavily on how we perceive colors.
A high CRI bulb may (or may not) produce good picture color.


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I never did get an answer to my question

No one suggested what brand of light bulb and what type to buy for indoor photographs. I got a lot of advice on adjusting the camera, which is not helping, or placing two light bulbs on flood hoods one on one side and one on the other. But, even if I did that what light bulb would I put in those flood hood? I have a florescent fixture on a ceiling, but it is so high up that it does not make bright enough light. I want a regular screw in light bulb. I can't use a tube bulb for this project. I don't want to spent a lot of money on something fancy. Please suggest something cheap and practical even if it is not perfect for my needs.


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RE: Best Light Bulbs for taking photos indoors

"not perfect for my needs."

Since you have in no way described your needs (beyond more light) just use any old bulb you want and put up with the color distortion.


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RE: Best Light Bulbs for taking photos indoors

Tropical, you should go off and understand photography. Regular incandescent or halogen lights are all you need. If your camera cannot dump raw files, to be post-processed, you should get a different one. If you don't have a white balance card, to be used in your post-processing, you should get one. If your camera cannot be set for compensating white balance, you should get one that can.


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RE: Best Light Bulbs for taking photos indoors

> No one suggested what brand of light bulb and what type to buy for indoor photographs. I got a lot of advice on adjusting the camera, which is not helping, or placing two light bulbs on flood hoods one on one side and one on the other. But, even if I did that what light bulb would I put in those flood hood?

I did recommend GE Reveal halogens (or similar bulbs made by Sylvania or Philips) in an earlier post. These have a light blue coating to raise color temperature from about 2850K to 3500K. But yes, plain old incandescent or halogen light bulbs can work fine too - these are all inherently "full spectrum", even though usually not marketed as such, unlike fluorescents or LEDs. Most digital cameras, even point-and-shoots, have a manual color temperature override (as well as automatic color correction, though its effectivenes varies from one camera to another). Even my cheap cell phone camera has a color temperature adjustment.


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RE: Best Light Bulbs for taking photos indoors

I am going to try the GE reveal halogens. I had tried the regular reveal before, but I did not like them, but I had not tried the halogen, but what wattage? There is 100 but said they burn out or get too hot. I can try 75 or 100. 100 watts is not amazon prime, so maybe 75 is better. I have to go out to home depot.


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I found something really neat

Joby Gorillatorch Adjustable and Flexible Tripod Flashlight
This is a light on a tripod that can bend to a position to shine a spot light on an object. I have no tired it yet, but seem like it will be better then any other thing I can buy. If you search for that name on amazon on you can find it. I though I would post this in case someone else has the same problem.


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