Recently I reviewed some photographs a friend of mine took for his website. The composition was spot on and the photo was sharp as a tack. The only problem was the color, it was a little dark and yellowish looking. After politely letting him know that the color was off we discussed how the room he was photographing in had poor lighting and multiple sources of light. This prompted me to suggest he invest in some proper lights for his product photography.
Whether you’re photographing your Star Wars action figures for Ebay auction, a product for your stores website, or your baby awkwardly crawling like the millions of other babies before him/her, your lighting will make or break your photograph. Without the proper lighting even the best staged photograph will look drab.
Correct lighting can make dialing in the correct white balance a far easier task. When you turn on your lights in your house there is a pretty good chance there are a few different types of bulbs as well as natural light contributing to the illumination.
Each type of light has a different color temperature. The sun, on a sunny day, for instance has a color temperature of about 5,500k (the “k” stands for kalvin). The higher the temperature of light the cooler the color (bluish white) while the lower the temperature, below 5,000k, the colors are yellowish white to red. So you can see how all these conflicting colors could throw your white balance off a bit.
Instead of turning all the lights on in whatever room your going to be photographing in and fighting your white balance, invest about $32 in a pair of table top lights that use a 5,000k daylight bulb. Your auto white balance should suffice and if not it’s a simple tweak of one of the presets. You can even throw a reflector in or light tent (click the link to learn about light tents) to diffuse the light so there are no shadows.
Cowboystudio has a pair of table top lights for $32 listed on Amazon that I’ve had a chance to use and can recommend. They are highly rated and you’ll have money left over to put into your photography fund. It is simply called Table Top Studio Lighting Kit. They are small and easily fold up to store out of the way. Check them out here.