Sunday, 29 July 2012
On photographing books
Much of what is written about studio lighting is directed at portrait photographers - books are mostly much smaller than groups of people and need a much smaller lit area.
Synchronous multiple flash photography is fine for the professional but it doesn't allow you to see effect of the lighting until after you have taken the photograph - continuous lighting is probably easier to manage for less experienced photographers.
The development of compact fluorescent bulbs means that lamp heat output is no longer a serious problem with continuous lighting.
An 85watt compact fluorescent gives a similar light output to a 500watt incandescent bulb.
Bulbs with a colour temperature of 5500K give a colour rendition that most closely matches natural light.
Umbrella lights and soft boxes are bulky and can be awkward to work with in the small space that is all many of us have for photographing our books. Simpler lamps on smaller stands that can sit on a table should be more than adequate for most book photography.
Three or four lights of these lights would be needed to eliminate all shadows but the same effect should be possible with two lights and camera flash.
Unprimed off-white canvas and black felt work well as backcloths (and can be recycled for as art canvases and box linings when no longer needed for photography).
Details of the studio lights I bought can be found here.