Photography with Continuous Fluorescent Lights


wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38
Hi all, just a small reminder for posting in this thread, since the thread have jump to page three :)

This thread is strictly to share with one another on topics relating to CFL on:
All sort of Portraits,Poses, still life, products and etc photos (experimental/artistic and etc) taken using CFL or CFL with other equipments like flash/reflector and etc
Positive suggestions/tips in relation to postures/model posing
Set up of CFL to get certain type of lighting effects (eg. Butterfly Lighting)

Please don't post things like:
Sourcing for CFL (Please please don't do it here, you go google yourself or post your own WTB in Buy/Sell)
Nasty comments on the model's looks (him/her)
Comparing with others equipments (I truly believe that different type of photography equipment has it own unique strength and weakness) If you really want to compare, please post your own thread.
Portraits and Poses photos/works without any use of CFL

For other things relating to the following I have open up a thread at General, Reviews, Tech Talk. So do discuss over there instead
Technical knowledge in using CFL
Tips and tricks
How different brand of camera behave when using CFL
Auto White balance issues/theories/troubleshoot
Lights/CRI/Color temperature/full spectrum theory
Getting good images and how you achieve it with CFL
Thoughts and tips in combining other Equipments like flash/reflector and others
How different brand of fluorescents behave (heat/CRI/and etc)

General, Reviews, Tech Talk on CFL

http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=381117

I will be updating more on the "Can CFLs be used to freeze motion?" stay tuned
 

wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38
okay lets continue with "experimenting with freeze motion photography solely with CFLs"

Normally for freezing motions or high speed photography, these elements below are essential:
1. Lower the ambient light/shot in a low ambient light environment
2. Normally background is dark/black
3. Flash/strobe is used to freeze/stop the motion, not the shutter speed of the camera
3. Normally triggering device (sound, impact, light and etc) is used
4. To get a sharper image, a shorter flash duration 1/5000s - 1/10000 and faster is ideal.

I am not going into more detail regarding the above, a lot of resource is available on line. Just google and you will find tons of it :)

Based on the above, what I did is totally opposite. I shoot in a very bright ambient environment (4800BW+ for 5 CFLs) and i used very fast shutter speed... :sweat: Like what I said, this is an experimental shoot, basically I need to start somewhere and see what I gets.

How I go about doing it:
First I mounted my DSLR with a prime lens on a tripod, I will placed an object (in this case a strawberry) inside the half filled IKEA vase and manual focus first. Once focused, checked for sharpness. Sharpness okay, I proceed to shoot, my right hand will be holding the strawberry and my left hand is a remote cord to trigger the DSLR. I prefer this way as I can coordinate better and hit the shutter when the strawberry drop from my hand and hit the water. The chances of getting missed shots will also be lesser if I do it myself. Below are some of the examples that I shoot based on different shutter speed

Basically all the images that I shoot, all of them are not tack sharp , I managed to get a few with reasonable sharpness and "okay" details. Shutter speed confirmed is not the main key in this scenario. Most of the selected okay images came from 1/1600s @ F5-6.3. Below is the composite image that I did in Photoshop, basically I combined two images together and enhanced the image by adjusting the levels and curves. Like what I said, the images still needs a lot fine tuning.


After the shoot:
Well, basically I am not suggesting that CFLs can do freeze motion/high speed photography, I am here just to show you all what I have tried and what are the results. I am very interested in doing this experiment shoot again and we actually came out with some suggestions and enhancements for the next shoot. I planned to increase the light output to 6000BW+, we intend to shoot with a bigger vase, instead of clear water we are thinking of adding some artificial food coloring into it, used a dark/black background and etc.

Continuous Fluorescent Light (Technical), Strobist - SUNPAK 120J PROFESSIONAL
 

wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38
hi all, just to share a few more great videos on continuous lights,

This is a high end CFL with excellent features, a brief intro (pros and cons) follow by a demo.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lk2rAxoZ-FU&feature=channel_page

Same product, sort of a review + demo video by two professional photographers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU_bMVERKjs

Using Incandescent lights, intro + demo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nr52FI07YJw

Continuous Fluorescent Light (Technical), Strobist - SUNPAK 120J PROFESSIONAL
 

wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38
Hi all, decided to share with you all on a TFCD shoot we did two weeks back. During the shoot, I suddenly remember this tutorial preview video that I saw from Scott Kelby :cool:. since the model (thanks, YaoYao) was with us and we have all our camera flashes and CFL laying around. We decided to combine a CFL + camera flash and see what we got:





we actually liked the results that we got from the setup. The CFL besides acting as a high key background also has play a role as hair/separation light. We shoot about 10-20 frames and none of it have flare or stray light. So by tilting the light (CFL) does prevent flare in our case.

However in my personal opinion, there are one down side based on this setup. We have to shoot at 1/60 at ISO200. So a tripod is a must for me :sweat: Of course to solved this problem of shooting at a slow shutter, we can pump up our ISO or I can throw in more powerful bulbs inside the CFL. But for me 85W is the most powerful bulbs that I have...
 

wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38

wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38
Hi all, just to share with you all a few cool videos by photographer/light guru Gavin Hoey.

Product photography using CFLs by Gavin

Portrait Photography using CFLs by Gavin
In this video, Gavin will share camera settings and different light setup for portrait. This is by far the best and most informative video that I have came across. Please do check it out.

Three point lighting using CFLs "video"
Although this video is tuned more towards video, it is still a very good reference video to check it out. The CFLs setup can also be applied to still photography as what you see its what you get. I especially like the "dunhill cowboy low key look" that he have shown.

Strobist - SUNPAK 120J PROFESSIONAL, Photography with Continuous Fluorescent Lights
 

Last edited:

wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38
hi all, just to share another video. This video is a "time lapse" video showing a photo session whereby twin CFL lamp heads + silver reflect umbrella is used. Not much details (power of the bulbs, any flash?) is given as it is time lapse, but at the end of the video they do show some photos samples.

Simple CFL setup for portrait sessions

Continuous Fluorescent Light (Technical), Strobist - SUNPAK 120J PROFESSIONAL
 

wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38
Hi all, just to update you guys with this very cool video where photographer Mark Cleghorn used CFLs to shoot portraits.

Using Continuous Lighting by Mark Cleghorn

This is a product demo video for a very well known high-end brand. Mark will show different kind of techniques using CFL (hard/diffuse/2 point lighting and etc). Overall it is an excellent video worth viewing.

Continuous Fluorescent Light (Technical), Strobist - SUNPAK 120J PROFESSIONAL
 

wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38
hi all, just came across this supercool "continuous light" video when I am visiting David Hobby Strobist Blog.


Fashion Shoot using Strobe Modeling Lights/Hot Lights with an IPHONE by FStoppers :eek:
I know that almost all storbes don't use fluorescent as modeling light. But modeling light is still consider a "continuous light source"... Its a excellent video you can not missed watching. :thumbsup:

Fstoppers: Peter Hurley shows how to take the perfect headshot
Light/Strip banks and strobes are used. The photographer manage to create a very unique "U" or "square" shape catch light effect in the model's eyes. Check out how he does it with 4 light banks. :thumbsup:

Continuous Fluorescent Light (Technical), Strobist - SUNPAK 120J PROFESSIONAL
 

wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38
Few weeks back, I saw this super+ultra cool video from Fstoppers where Lee Morris did an entire fashion shoot using an iPhone. One of the setup, he used a modeling light from a beauty dish to light the model. This inspired me to come out something like this. Few days back, I finally got a chance to try out this MNM (mixed and matched) CFL modifier.






Above is the setup, strobes will used to lit the background. The reflectors act as a fill and the 55W CFl beauty dish is placed very near to the model to get the "DONUT" catch light in her eyes.

Model is Brendal, a young and very beautiful model with a very cool personality. Although she is still very new to industry, her passion and easy-going personality made the whole shoot fun and fruitful. Thank you very much to you Brendal for coming to our test shoot ;).

Continuous Fluorescent Light (Technical), Strobist - SUNPAK 120J PROFESSIONAL
 

wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38
Hi all :), if any of you are interested in food/cuisine photography. Do check out this very cool video made by Lee Morris from fstoppers. Lee used modeling light (continuous light source) from strobes in the shoot. The chef/owner of the restaurant also share his view on food presentation. Do check it out :thumbsup:

Fstoppers: How to shoot food photography by Lee Morris

Continuous Fluorescent Light (Technical), Strobist - SUNPAK 120J PROFESSIONAL
 

wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38

wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38
Hi all, came across these cool videos using the well know CFL Pro Gear:

Portrait shoot, Two Lights + Reflector. Featuring Scott Kelby

The great Scott Kelby will show us how he achieved a beautiful portrait using two CFLs, a reflector and also a flag.

Portrait demo shoot, Available light, One Light and Two Light. Featuring Scott Kelby
A promo/demo video featuring the great Scott Kelby again. A very short video, but still worth to check it out

Terry White using IPhone 4 + CFLs to shoot Portrait
Reminded me of the famous IPhone shoot by Lee Morris (Fstoppers). Terry White show us how he shoot portraits using the latest IPhone 4 with 3 CFLs.

Continuous Fluorescent Light (Technical), Strobist - SUNPAK 120J PROFESSIONAL
 

wmayeo

Senior Member
Feb 11, 2008
1,571
0
36
Singapore
I got a Ikea table lamp fixture and Philips Tornado 24W 6500k daylight CFL bulb, intend to use it with a diy softbox for product shots. Not sure single light will be sufficient.
Oh diy softbox is not ready yet, sourcing for white cloth for diffusing effect.
 

wahgongzai

Senior Member
Dec 13, 2006
5,119
3
38
I got a Ikea table lamp fixture and Philips Tornado 24W 6500k daylight CFL bulb, intend to use it with a diy softbox for product shots. Not sure single light will be sufficient.
Oh diy softbox is not ready yet, sourcing for white cloth for diffusing effect.
24W is about 24x5=120BW. If you are looking into taking product shots without any shadow, personally I think is not enough. Few years back, I used to shoot with light tents, For a 60cm light cube, I used 3 Ikea table lamps, one top and two on each side. The bigger the light tent, the more light source/power you require to pump into it. Maybe you should take into consideration what size your DIY light tent going to be. There are few threads made relating to DIY light tents, do a search using CS search function or Google and you will find it.