BetterPhoto.com - Become a better photographer today!
EMAIL:
PASSWORD:
remember me:     
     


BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

To participate in the Forum, become a BetterPhoto member or Sign In.

 
Photography Question 
Alison E. Copeland
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/2/2005
 

Light Therapy Box?


Has anyone experimented with a light therapy box for portrait lighting? I'm kind of a newbie, and I have a 1000W tungsten beast with a softbox. It's so hot, and not at all natural. I can fix the color cast on the computer or change the color temp on the camera, but the main problem is that I can't successfully mix it with what natural light I do have coming from the windows in my home studio. If I do, some parts of the image look too blue and some too red. What about other ways to make the best of natural ambient light?

4/27/2006 2:29:21 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Remember the old math rule, you can't mix apples and oranges? Well, that's essentially what you're doing. You can't combine two entirely different light sources - i.e., tungsten and daylight - in the same color shot without color shifting.
Soooooooooo, if your camera is set for tungsten, then you need to do something to your daylight source to lower its color temp from about 5500 Kelvin to 3200-3400 degrees kelvin (which is roughly the temp of your tungsten lighting). You could get some Roscoe Cinegel and cover the windows with it, OR bring your tungsten light up to 5500 degrees Kelvin by hanging a gel off of that.
The light therapy box you mentioned, for those who don't know, is simply a box with daylight flourescent tubes that people use to treat or avoid seasonal affective disorder. Remember, though, a fluorescent by any other name (or color) is still a fluorescent, and while it may simulate daylight, its true color temperature may not and it may produce different color casts as well, including blue-green, yellow-green, or some variation. So the answer is no, a light therapy box is not a substitute for a true tungsten-rated hot light, a strobe or anything of similar ilk.
Take it light.
Mark

4/27/2006 9:42:21 PM

 
Alison E. Copeland
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/2/2005
  Thank you! So I need to get a gel for my light kit. Will do. I wish there was something I could do in my studio/bedroom to make the most of my light in there, like reflective paint, or some ceiling treatment. Have you heard of anything creative like that?

4/28/2006 5:33:18 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Howdy. IMHO, Alison, I suggest you invest in something along the lines of a monolight strobe that puts out daylight, rather than using a tungsten light ... and for a few reasons. First, as a tungsten light is used and its filament burns, the color temperature changes and continues to cool toward lower values. That makes it increasingly difficult to accurately balance and correct for precise compensations.
Second, tungsten lights are pretty warm for people sitting for portraits. Unless you're trying to defrost them, strobes are much more comfortable for the subject.
Strobes also give you more bang for the lighting buck. You can either buy a monolight new or used, I own a number of Bowens monolights sold individually or in kits from bhphotovideo.com. These are great lights. One rated at 1000 watt seconds should solve your lighting problems.
BUT if you can't afford a new light, instead of using the window light as fill or gelling, try using a large sheet of white foamcore positioned opposite your main light to bounce fill light back into the subject. That way you should be at the same temperature, OR you can use the fill card to move light around where you need it, within limits, like how much output you've got, absorbency and reflectance of various materials in the room, etc.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Take care.

4/28/2006 9:54:35 AM

 
Paul Michko
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/23/2004
  I have used one for headshot portraits in b&w. It works fantastic for that since light temp is not a factor. Gives a nice soft glow.

5/4/2006 4:36:13 AM

 
Amanda Murray

member since: 10/24/2005
  Mark, thank you for including your "for those who don't know" portion of your response in your answer to this quesiton. I learn so much from reading these strands when those responding use clear explanations and give background information.

5/8/2006 8:51:45 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  My pleasure Amanda. Glad to do so.
Mark ;>)

5/8/2006 12:17:31 PM

 

To participate in the Forum, become a BetterPhoto member or Sign In.
 

Copyright 1996-2014 BetterPhoto.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved.