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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I purchased a halogen light for the purpose of taking better pics.

I have a few questions that I haven't been able to find the answer to.

1) Placement of the lamp; should I place it directly over the model, in front or behind? I have tried all three positions with limited results.

2) how far away should I place the lamp away from the models, 6" or 1' or further?

3) should I turn out all the other lighting in the room or should I just have the room lit normally?

Any help on this or even better tips will be greatly appreciated. :feedback
 

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(1) if the your camera is 6 o'clock relative to the car's position, I position my lights at 4:30 and 7:30. To bring out the detail of your wheels, you'll need to position your light-head lower to cast light on the rims.

(2) I actually use 3 halogen light "heads". All are over 2' (~60cm) away. I lower the shutter speed (i.e. leave shutter open) for a longer period of time to allow more light in. One of my lights is a floor lamp with one fixed light facing upwards and another on a "gooseneck" arm. My second light is also a halogen floor-lamp on a double-joint arm.

(3) By bringing up the overall light level, the more evenly lit your picture will turn out.

I usually use my dimmer switch on the lights to adjust the brightness so there are no glaring reflections off the car and particularly the windows/windshield. Again, my lights are generally further away to reduce glare/hot spots.

I've found lighting to be the most difficult aspect of photography to master aspect. You'll need a bit of patience and perseverance to try different things. In addition, PhotoShopping skills make a huge difference in the way a picture ultimately turns out too. I think VR or Rat provided some tips some time ago (I don't recall the thread :crying )

I'd love to hear others' tips too!! :cheers

p.s. building a "light tent" helps as it diffuses (i.e. softens up) the light to eliminate "hot spots".
 

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StygianMax said:
(2) I actually use 3 halogen light "heads". All are over 2' away. I lower the shutter speed (i.e. leave shutter open) for a longer period of time to allow more light in. One of my lights is a floor lamp with one fixed light facing upwards and another on a "gooseneck" arm. My second light is also a halogen floor-lamp on a double-joint arm.
I think SM just exposed maybe the principle aspect (in a pratical sense) for a good shot: three lamps and the right angles between the camera and the model.

The best would be a light tent of course, but if you have three lights correctly positioned you can get some very good shots.
 

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Not much to add to what SM has already said, but another aspect to consider is the camera. If the auto "white balance" doesn't work to your satisfaction, see if it has a manual setting and try out the one for halogen light. I found this works well for me. The photo edit program I use (Photoimpact 8) has a good auto-correct function for colour and brightness that works great for me too. :cheers
 

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Ronan said:
Not much to add to what SM has already said, but another aspect to consider is the camera. If the auto "white balance" doesn't work to your satisfaction, see if it has a manual setting and try out the one for halogen light. I found this works well for me. The photo edit program I use (Photoimpact 8) has a good auto-correct function for colour and brightness that works great for me too. :cheers
Ronan - That a very good issue you raise about the camera's auto white balance feature. It tried a bunch of photos with that on and used a gray speckled bristol board for background. The background turned out too yellow! I couldn't save the pictures through photo-editting either. I tried to reduce the yellow hue but then the colour of the car would get distorted also.
 

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StygianMax said:
Ronan said:
Not much to add to what SM has already said, but another aspect to consider is the camera. If the auto "white balance" doesn't work to your satisfaction, see if it has a manual setting and try out the one for halogen light. I found this works well for me. The photo edit program I use (Photoimpact 8) has a good auto-correct function for colour and brightness that works great for me too. :cheers
Ronan - That a very good issue you raise about the camera's auto white balance feature. It tried a bunch of photos with that on and used a gray speckled bristol board for background. The background turned out too yellow! I couldn't save the pictures through photo-editting either. I tried to reduce the yellow hue but then the colour of the car would get distorted also.
Yes indeed, I used to have problems with certain background colours (especially white) looking too red or yellow. My new camera has excellent white/colour balance features so I'm much happier with my photos as a result.

Certainly the way to do it is experiment with all the white balance options to find the one that looks "right" and also to try a range of background colours to find one that looks best with the lighting you have. White I find to be a difficult background colour to work with, and black (even though it looks cool!!!) absorbs too much light. I've settled on light blue for the moment as it looks consistently good to my eyes, after considerable trial and error!!! :cheers
 

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Thank goodness we don't have to blow a lot of money on film development as we learn through trial and error. That's why I didn't pick up photography earlier in my life.

I tried white bristol board once and I think that's where it'll stop. Black is VERY challenging to use as a background. I agree that it just sucks up light like a black hole.

This is my best shot with a black background. Frankly, I think I got a little lucky. There's no question the vivid red of the Viper really jumps out.



Do you find white cars challenging to photograph and do editting on? I have a dog of a time with my white/red McLaren Art Soorts. I haven't mastered the lighting to illuminate the car sufficiently without saturating it to the point where the lines and features "disappear". Do you have any tips of shooting white cars?
 

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StygianMax said:
Thank goodness we don't have to blow a lot of money on film development as we learn through trial and error. That's why I didn't pick up photography earlier in my life.

Do you find white cars challenging to photograph and do editting on? I have a dog of a time with my white/red McLaren Art Soorts. I haven't mastered the lighting to illuminate the car sufficiently without saturating it to the point where the lines and features "disappear". Do you have any tips of shooting white cars?
I agree film photography would be a tad more expensive for trial and error!!! :lol

White cars can be a challenge, too much light just washes them out, too little and the look dull and flat. To be honest, I have no special tips apart from using good image processing software. The auto correct feature on Photoimpact 8 is very good this way in that when for example a photo of a white car downloads off the camera and comes up very dark, the auto correct instantly brightens it up to perfection I find!

Perhaps some sort of light tent to diffuse a bright light would give both the illumination you need without the hot spot/washout effect that ruins the picture???
 

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Yup, I better build that light tent. I'm quite overdue with it.

The question that nags at me is what material is good to use as the "tent" fabric? VR - any suggestions?
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for the tips, my cameras software has enhancing software, I might take advantage of it as well.

Taking pics today is quite different from the days of Polaroids. :lol
 

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Thanks for the link VR. It made for a good read. Now for me to find one of those stretcher bars and a big vellum sheet. :cheers
 

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RichardM said:
What is vellum? :confused
It a type of drawing paper used by draftsmen and artists. It's a little bit like waxpaper but it's got a fairly smooth feel to it. Given it is semi-tranluscent, it will diffuse light quite nicely. You should be able to find the stuff in a specialty art supply store.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I must admit, as difficult as this comes across to a beginner such as myself, it has been quite fun. I'm still getting the hang of it, however the pics in the aboe link help tremendously as it shows me what I should be doing and I can then make my own adjustments.

thanks for providing the links and tuts. :cheers :cheers
 
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