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Getting Started With a Lightbox

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ams, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. ams

    ams Generation All Veteran

    Feb 10, 2004
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    Looked around for a thread similar to this, but didn't spot anything. Lots of stuff via Google search, but since we've got a lot of folks here with an eye for photography, I thought I'd give it a go.

    I recently picked up a lightbox setup at a garage sale, and have just begun the process of playing around with it. I have a 5 mpxl Minolta camera, and I'm taking the pics at 2560 x 1920 (I've reduced these to 640 x 480). I have Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo XI for general editing.

    While I realize this setup is far from professional, I'd really like some thoughts from our resident photographers, as I'm nothing but a humble point & click'er. What kinds of things can I do to bring these up to spec?

    Here's what the initial pictures look like.



    Now I realize that WHITE BALANCE is probably needed here to get rid of the yellowish hue, but I really don't know much about that. I have settings in my photo editor under Color Balance for things like:

    Cloudy (6000K)
    Daylight (5200K)
    Flash (5500K)
    Flourescent - Cool (4300K)
    Flourescent - Daylight (6500K)
    Flourescent - Full Spectrum (5000K)
    Flourescent - Standard (4000K)
    Flourescent - Warm (3000K)
    Shade (7000K)
    Tungsten (2800K)

    I can't determine which of these settings really gives the best representation. Some turn it very blue, others deepen the yellow, and none are giving me the pure bright white I'm looking for in the background. Here's my best shot at it.... (of course, I would crop the junk off the sides when finished).



    Here's one I worked on for a while that I think turned out well. Any help/feedback is greatly appreciated.

  2. Lance Halberd

    Lance Halberd oh hai

    Feb 17, 2003
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    I am by no means the end-all and be-all of photographic acumen on these boards, but you don't want to rely fully on software to get the pics how you want them. First adjust the white balance on your camera, using the the white background of your light box as a guide. You also want to look at your lighting; stay away from bulbs that will give you a warm yellowish glow. Go for the full spectrum bulbs or the ones that can give you something akin to bright daylight, like many CFL bulbs. Personally, I use LED spotlight bulbs which give off a very cool-white light, as opposed to soft- or warm-white. Once you've got everything adjusted to your liking, and you can take pics that inherently have the white balance you want, then use your software to do the fine tuning, but don't rely on it to do the bulk of the work.
  3. llamatron

    llamatron OFFICIAL MMC REP TFW2005 Supporter

    Jul 11, 2002
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    I recommend using at least 3 light sources.

    Also everything that Lance said.