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Notes about lighting my photos

Notes about lighting my photos published on No Comments on Notes about lighting my photos

Now that I have a designated photo studio [= a corner of my desk], I also have designated photo lights. One is a pharmacy lamp with a regular fluorescent bulb in it. The other is a gooseneck lamp with a full-spectrum bulb in it. I have been taking pictures with various combinations of lights and backgrounds. Here are my results:

Fluorescent alone results in yellow pictures that need the blue balance pushed all the way up, while keeping highlights. The levels also need to be adjusted, with the black arrow moved to the left a bit, as well as the right arrow. [This lightens up the entire photo and then just the light parts.]

Full-spectrum alone results in cool blue pictures with dark shadows. Results may need some blue balance changes to achieve a more naturalistic tone. The shadows are very deep and cannot be compensated for by balance adjustment or level adjustment.

Fluorescent + full-spectrum results in pictures like those from fluorescent alone, only slightly less yellow. Blue balance needs correction. Level correction may potentially be ignored, depending on one’s laziness.

Bare wall makes pictures yellower because the wall is a yellow-based cream. Blue balance and levels need correction. Even then, the pictures come out with a distinctly warm, yellow light.

White foamcore makes pictures lighter overall because the light bounces off the foamcore. Colors are also more true-to-life. Blue balance may need tweaking. Level adjustment may be avoided, depending, again, on laziness.


1. I should always use some sort of backdrop, even if it’s wallpaper, to counteract the yellowing effects of the bare wall. The best backdrop is white foamcore. It is undistracting to the viewer’s eye. It also provides a good base for wall decor. Finally, it reflects light, which means clearer and lighter pictures.

2. I should use full-spectrum or full-spectrum + fluorescent for light. Fluorescent alone puts a really jaundiced glow on photos that is impossible to completely eradicate.

3. Fluorescent light bulbs can go to hell. I would really like to find a full-spectrum light bulb that can go in a regular lamp socket. [I found some at Mercola after a quick search, but I wonder if they are sold in hardware stores….]

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