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- Chapter 1 – What Tools and Equipment do you need?
- Chapter 2 – Mounting a Basic Outdoor Shoot
- Chapter 3 – The Importance of Light Box [You are here]
- Chapter 4 – Taking Photos Using your Light Box
- Chapter 5 – POST PHOTO EDITING: The Basics
- Chapter 6 – Frequently Encountered Problems
- Chapter 7 – Key Points
In this chapter, it is presumed that you already have the basic knowledge and skills in watch photo taking. It is recommended that before going further in this chapter, you should have done the step-by-step activities in Chapter 2 more than once. Basically, this chapter will focus on one of the most vital equipment in macro photography which is the light box.
Understanding the Purpose of your Light Box
A light box is a tool using a defused mechanism to control the lighting in your mini stage. It is essential in macro photography because it keeps the stage illuminated to make the photographs bright, glare-free, and even. In macro photography, light is of great importance because with the proper lighting the details of the subject are extremely highlighted. The details of the watch needed to be elevated in watch photography. Every watch has its unique characteristics thus if you take photos of them, their signature look must be the first thing that the viewers should notice. Successful watch photographers know that in taking photos of a watch, its identifying mark or characteristic must be emphasized in the photograph. To fully expose every side of the watch, you need a reliable source of light and a light box that will manipulate the lighting accordingly. The case and the bracelet of watches are shiny in nature and this is not very advantageous in taking good photos because it will result to undesirable reflections and glares especially if too much light is reflected. If you have a light box, the light from your lighting equipment is defused thus making an illuminated space for you to take great watch photos.
Should you Buy or create your own?
Creating a light box is very feasible especially now that you can find almost everything in the internet. There are blogs over the internet that will teach you how to make one. You can have a light box with just a few affordable materials. In fact, there are some materials that you do not need to buy because you can find them in your own house. Visit http://www.timezone.com/library/timexclas to learn how to create your own decent light box. If you have been practicing macro photography for a while now, your experience will teach you how to create a suitable light box. But if you think you are not yet equipped with the skills to create a reliable light box, it is safer to purchase. Choose a reputable supplier especially if you are purchasing online.
Personally, I built my own light box. I do not recommend making a huge light box basically because it is not necessary. Since the subject here is watches, you do not need a spacey light box. After figuring out the practical size, you also need to decide the desired number of lights to keep your light box illuminated. Though the box itself keeps the inside illuminated, I installed just the right number of lights for greater effect. I do not recommend using halogen lights because they create a yellowish effect to your photos. They also tend to get very hot which is not suitable for small light boxes. I also placed velum paper in the interior surface of the light box for extra light diffusion.
You can use your fluorescent desk lamp with daylight temperature to light the exterior of the light box. This is very useful because aside from the fact that it balances out the amount of light box’s interior it also eliminates the yellow color cast that is caused by wrong choice of lighting. Fluorescent light bulbs are safer, cheaper, and more suitable in macro photography as compared to halogen lights. Choose the ones that can be easily adjusted like those with flexible necks. Always remember that your lighting will always depend on the size of your light box.
Adjusting your Camera’s White Balance
Now that you already have a light box ready, you first need to check your camera’s settings if the white balance is already compatible with the light box you have. Digital cameras have a white balance setting which allows you to determine what level will produce outstanding pictures. Since each light box is different in terms of composition and effect, you need to set your white balance setting in accordance with the light box you are using. If you are not familiar with how to adjust your white balance, you can check your camera’s manual. In the manual, you will be thought of how to set your camera’s white balance for shoots using artificial lighting. In the manual, you will be guided on how to set the white balance in conditions where you will use a pure white background. You can also find some guide where you can set white balance for other lighting circumstances. Before you knew that your white balance setting can be adjusted, your camera is set under auto white balance. There are also more suitable levels for different lighting conditions for example when you are using “florescent” or “halogen”. In fact, there are also options when shooting under the rain, at night, or during a cloudy day. But keep in mind that you will only see the real reproduction of the color after giving it a while. After adjusting the white balance of your camera, give it time to fully set to see its real effects.
Choosing your Background
Now that you already have your light box and you already set your camera’s white balance setting, the next step for you is to take a look at your mini stage. Although setting your stage is discussed already in the previous chapter, we will reiterate the importance of each material you use in your set.
Below are some materials that are commonly used as background in watch photography.