Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

:iconkaz-d: More from Kaz-D

Featured in Collections

News by Talty

News Articles by zakkiya29

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
May 29, 2012
Submitted with Writer


75 (who?)
Recently during a projecteducate week focusing on Still Life Photography we asked for you to share the issues that you might have when trying to obtain some great Still Life Shots. Through this series of articles we hope to answer some of the queries or give you that push you need to step outside boundaries and get creative. The first frustration came from 1510 who struggled with Lighting additionally a further 19 Deviants voted on the poll to indicate they had the same issues.

"Lighting. I always have to use just window or lamps which are never
good. kind of given up on still life photos, even I have still tons of
ideas..." 1510

"1510 lamps and natural light are a perfectly good way of lighting a subject. Many 'professional' lighting solutions, particularly the ones that burn 'hot' or constantly, are not much more than high wattage incandescent light bulbs often with some sort of cooling (to prolong the lifespan of the bulb). Other lighting options use strobes, off-camera flash units, that achieve much the same effect without putting out hundreds of watts of thermal energy and literally heating a room.


Desk lamps in particular, are a good, and cheap means of lighting a subject. You can even get daylight balanced bulbs to use in them so you can use the lamps in conjunction with natural daylight. Granted such bulbs may have a price premium over normal incandescent or CCFL bulbs.


If you're not going to get a daylight balanced bulb, then the most important concern with artificial lighting, is the white balance.
Incandescent bulbs are black body radiators, in other words, white balance should be easy to achieve, as the hotter an incandescent bulb burns, the whiter, and eventually bluer it will be. Most common lamps don't burn hot enough for that, though, so you're looking at around 2500 to 3500 kelvin.
CCFL Bulbs (more commonly known as energy saving bulbs) are fluorescent bulbs. All fluorescent emit UV light inside the tubes, which is then converted to visible light in the tube using phosphor. The important point is the fluorescent lights don't follow the form of a black body spectrum, so white balancing is a little more difficult with these bulbs. But certainly not impossible.

Windowsill II by rosaarvensis

All that said, the main difference between a desk lamp, or equivalent and constant studio lighting is in the power of the lighting.

This doesn't or shouldn't represent much of an issue for most still life photography, as you can simply use a longer shutter speed to compensate for the lower lighting. Of course, the other option is to simply place the lamp as close to the subject as possible, which, thanks to the inverse square law, will give you large gains even with a small distance adjustment.

Personally, a lot of my hand held indoor macro images have been lit with just my desk lamp as a source of light, so, using cheap lighting is certainly not a limitation to some semi decent lighting options. "



Food Photography Basics by claremanson

The above tutorial helps you to learn how to get the most from the conditions you are working with. claremanson shares her tips and tricks for achieving natural looking still life photographs.

How to make a Light box by The-House-of-Mouse

My DIY Light Box by luthien27

"I'd say for lighting, use windows and as much natural light as possible.  The sun is your friend for sure. Also, lighting is the MOST important part of the photo. You can have the best composition ever but if your lighting is bad the whole photo is too. So set up your lighting, then set up the background, composition first.

In my window. by incredi

Utilize all the awesome tutorials and articles on Devianart and get books from your library or see if you can borrow books from your local photographers! Learning from the pros in any way either in books or quick 1 on 1 questions etc is so important so always keep doing that!"
~ AJ333 

Thanks to everyone who helped out with the article! Next time we're going to focus on Backgrounds...

The first in a series of journals exploring some of the frustrations that Deviants have come up with when trying to Photograph!
Add a Comment:
JamminJo Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Added to #DevNews posting on June 15, 2012.
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks Jo :)
JamminJo Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Welcome :)

I added a new section to #DevNews for the photography community :nod: I will gather and post bi-weekly :excited:

If at anytime you have something you would like more exposure for, feel free to note me :nod:

1510 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you, this is great and very helpful!
I actually did build lightbox over a year ago, it was awesome shooting with it. However, had to move, and since it was from one continent to another had to leave it behind. Should make another one, and I will post some photos soon again, as soon as I get better (feeling sick for few days, that is a reason I have not been around in a while)

thanks to all with comments and advices! :heart:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
You're welcome!:) :heart:
incredi Featured By Owner May 30, 2012   Photographer
Excellent ! and Thank you for selecting one of my photos :hug:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
You're welcome!
Limaria Featured By Owner May 30, 2012
I have about four different home-made lightboxes by now and I still find myself juggling lights, screens and the remote release sometimes :lol:

Btw, in case you are still looking for topics: One of the things/magic tricks I've found myself explaining quite often recently, especially to people trying macro photography and struggling with sharpness/dof, is aperture control instead of setting the exposure. :)
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer

That's a great topic! If you'd like to explain it for the blog when I get around to that topic then feel free to shoot me a note! :)
Limaria Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2012
I'm not that experiencend in writing tutorials but I'll do my best :D
Add a Comment: