The use of LED lights as a marketing tool has increased tremendously in recent years. There are two basic reasons why this is the case:
- LED lights produce very good color conversions under all kinds of lighting conditions
- LED lights aid in taking very good direct photos.
Understanding how they work and the best way to use them will make your photos look much better.
Let’s first look at the color-conversion factor. One thing that most camera companies recommend against is shooting outdoors during the day with any kind of lights. You won’t be able to get the kind of color quality you want.
It’s true that you can make the photos look worse by fiddling with white balance settings indoors, but the key here is not to do that.
The sun’s light isn’t the only light available for your camera to take photos in, so don’t make the mistake of assuming that you have some kind of special light condition inside your house or office. The same applies for the light in your car or truck.
Another point about using LED lights as part of your product photography is related to exposure. You might think that it’s not particularly important to expose photos to bright lights, but that’s not true at all.
When you’re taking photos outdoors, it’s nearly impossible to expose photos to light that comes from the sun. What you need to do is expose your photos to ambient light, which is often very soft. This way, your photos will look much better and will probably also be much more colorful.
Using LED lights for your Photos
Now let’s take a look at the second part of the question, which is about using LED lights in your photos.
If you use fluorescent lights, for example, then you will be using a powerful diode. That means that the energy consumption is going to be huge. And that means that it’s very likely that your photos won’t come out as good as you’d like them to.
But if you use products with compact fluorescent lights, then the quality of your images will increase and you will be able to use much less energy in the process.
What about Photojournalism?
Now, let’s talk about photojournalism. Some photographers get great photos simply by pointing their cameras at the subjects of the photos. Other photographers have to learn how to use lighting to create the kind of atmosphere that will produce a good photo.
But, as we’ve seen above, there are really two ways to achieve this – by using fluorescent lights indoors, or using bright lights outdoors. So, are bright lights good for product photography?
At the time of this writing (and since the release of my eBook), I use almost exclusively indoor lighting.
That means that I can take photos without thinking about what kind of light I am using. I just know that it is bright enough because the photos I take are always taken with the flash on. I don’t have to think about how my photos will turn out, because they always do.
Of course, I use the right lighting techniques, such as the use of spotlights to highlight my subject, or an umbrella or wall to frame my subject so that the shadows do not appear.
What lighting is best for product photography?
Generally, different products will need different lighting. Get some professional studio lights, take a look at your photo’s inside a dark room and try to figure out the best arrangement.
Now throw some free ranging light into the mix, and try the same experiment in the sun. Keep doing it over, until you are happy and have achieved the best possible set up for your photo’s.
In most cases, one light is all that is needed. The trick is to find one light that is as bright as possible, yet not overwhelming. If the shadow is too strong or too obvious, using the wrong combination of one light and one or two additional lights might be needed to balance the photo out.
If your product photography is digital, then there are two ways to get the lighting setup you need:
- You can either rent some studio lighting, or…
- Buy some lights and accessories
In terms of studio lighting, usually you are better off using the studio lights. They are not as portable, but they are much more efficient and provide better overall lighting for a photo.
When it comes to product photography, many people use the overhead light. Overhead lights are ideal because they offer the most coverage with the least amount of light. The main problem with overhead light, is that they can be distracting.
If you have your subject in the foreground, but you want the background to be highlighted, you will want to use a ring light.
Many professional photographers use special studio lights to illuminate their subjects. This can be helpful if you have an important subject that needs to be highlighted.
Also, these lights are typically much more expensive than overhead lights. If you just want to have some fun shooting product photos in your home, you can use regular lights. You can find lights at your local hardware store or on the internet.
These are just a few ideas for you to start experimenting with lighting. If you are not sure what kind of lighting setup is best for your photography lighting, you can look up some product photography tutorials online.
By reading these you will have a much better idea of what kind of lighting you need for each shot. Remember, that lighting setup is very important in order to get great photos.
Do LED lights damage photographs?
We’ve all seen the LED lights in displays and on the charts, but what exactly do they do that can harm your photographs?
In essence, an LED lamp is a diode filled with mercury vapor which emits light. The emitted light is not visible to the human eye because it is not filled with mercury vapor.
The visible light is emitted via a metal filament and this filament is placed over the photograph which is covered in a clear plastic protective sheet.
UV Lights (an Overview)
What happens is that the UV (ultraviolet) light that the lamp emits hits the sensitive cells in your photograph and causes them to be affected. The reason why it is so important to use these lamps only when you are using a completely white background is because white causes the color of the image to fade away very quickly.
Now, normally, this wouldn’t cause too much of a problem. You might even think that you would just need to frame the shot and keep using it. But, there is another thing that can happen.
If the UV light was to hit the photo directly then it would be a different matter altogether because normally your camera’s sensor would pick up the UV light and it would automatically activate the shutter to prevent the exposure from damaging your digital photograph.
However, if the bulb is using an LED, then any UV rays will also be picked up by the bulb and then the bulb will emit a red light, which again, will prevent your digital photograph from being damaged by ultraviolet light. This red light then begins to fade your image, over a period of time.
This is one of the main reasons that it is extremely important to make sure that your photographs are protected from exposure to UV light as much as possible.
Another thing to consider is the battery life. The reason that we suggest replacing the bulbs with LED lights is because they use a very low amount of energy.
This means that over a long period of time, your LED’s will be able to provide the same amount of light as the same amount of incandescent bulbs.
The LED is a lot more efficient than the normal incandescent lamp. Therefore, it makes sense to replace the old bulbs with these new ones.
Once you have made the decision to replace the bulb, the next step is to find a source for replacement bulbs.
It’s best to stick with the well-known specialist manufacturer as they will be able to offer you the best service possible.
There are several manufacturers that specialize in this area, including Phillips and Triton Lighting. By going with them, you will not only get a great product, but you will also be able to get good value for money.
All in all, you need to get the replacement lamps delivered to you. You can either get delivery direct to your property or you can collect the items from wherever you purchased them.
Whichever method you choose, make sure you get a free bulb with your purchase. Then attach the receipt to get a full refund of the cost of the replacement bulbs.