Lighting questions - advice wanted :)

I have a couple of lighting questions for you all that I was hoping maybe you all could give me some advice on.

1.) I have noticed many photos here of old books that are photographed in low light, such as this photo

© Jgroup

or this photo.

I think that it looks really neat because it looks like the photo was taken by candlelight. However, when I try to make a photo that looks like this in low light, I either get a lot of noise, or my camera doesn't focus, or I run into camera shake.

Do you have any tips for how to make a photo like this?

2.) I also am having difficulty lighting my photos of isolated objects. I have been taking photos of objects against a white background outdoors in sunlight - because of LittleDesire's kind suggestion :) -

(such as this photo

or this photo.)

But lately, I have been trying to take isolated photos indoors (sometimes due to cloudy weather or sometimes due to the items I am photographing) and even when I try to find the brightest lamps around to use with my little Gorillapod tripod, the images are refused due to poor optical performance.

So I just was wondering if you had any suggestions on what lights to purchase. I would like to get some inexpensive lights if possible, but I am also concerned about safety issues with the lights after reading Karenkh's blog article about the lights exploding. :)

If you have any tips on wattage or brands of lights to look for, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Photo credits: Eclecticelegance, James Steidl, Petarneychev.

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Thank you all very much for your tips!! I look forward to using them. If anyone else has any other suggestions they would like to add, feel free to leave a comment.


I use Elinchrom Minilight Tungsten Lights kit and a light tent for my shots. Try to do a search on the web and see where you can eventually buy them. They're not cheap but they're a good start. Photoflex also sells kits comprehensive of light tent too.

As for the white background, it's a bit difficult (at least for me, as I'm a newbie) to get it at the first shot. I usually try to go as near as I can to a white background and then improve it in Photoshop. I generally overexpose a few stops and see the result in my Dslr lcd. The ideal would be to have three lights, one of which at the back of the light tent.

Also consider buying light diffusers. They are great to soften shadows.

Hope my two cents help :)


Another trick to taking a long exposure photo is to use a timer so that you don't get any shake when you press the shutter. If you shoot with an automatic setting, the camera probably increases the iso so that the shutter speed doesn't need to be as long. An increased iso will make for more noise.


for the candlelight effect
you can try changing the WB (white balance)
or use a colour in layering

for the camera shake, anytime you use a slow shutter speed you should not even be handholding your camera. you should use a tripod
or set it on some place. disengage any motion stablizer and use the self timer. this will ensure you with little or no camera motion.

careful to choose a stable tripod. many confuse the need for a heavy tripod with a SLR thinking why do i need a heavier pod when a monopod or tiny one will do. camera and pods do vibrate. this tiny little motion is not visible at 5 by 7 print, but when viewed by reviewers at 100% or 200% it is visible like a pimple, lol.

lighting. you can get blue lamps that are daylight kelvin color temperature of daylight from pro camera stores. you need to buy the appropriate holder for these lamps too, as the wattage is not to be used in your household lamps. it will cause a fire.
use proper pro studio reflectors and lamp stands. and watch yourself it gets hot.

or if you prefer , use mutiple external flash. bounce them off the ceiling and walls to splash light so it creates shadowless image.
be careful with light spills , so use gobos to control light spill that could cause lens flare.


Thank you!! Now I can try to do one of those photos with a book by "candlelight." Anyone else have any advice?


My photo was lit by a night lamp and shot from a tripod. You can achieve similar or even better results by using an off-camera flash with a colored gel on it. This will take care of the noise and camera shake.
If you decide to use a candle/night lamp - do use a tripod and do use ISO100 or ISO50.


I will also appreciate any advise because I don't have any lighting, too.
To be honest, when I used similar to your camera I also got the same reason for rejections :(. But I think I have candle light photos accepted (even without using tripod). Now I see the big difference between pocket camera and DSLR and I can say the editors were right.
Thanks for mentioning my name in your blog! I really like the result of your isolated photos! I'm proud of you! Good luck!


Well for portraits lighting, I just wrote a blog, based on the Class I attended Its from Babby Lane.

Well even I'm interested to invest in Lighting, will be glad if some one comments on this blog which will be helpful.

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