Week 2, 2016: Lighting tents for product photography, annoucing soundadvicenews.com


Sound Advice

By Don Lindich

Week 2, 2016

Q. I want to take pictures of handmade jewelry. Will I get better results with big flashes and umbrellas, or with one of those portable lighting tents with fluorescent bulbs? What do you suggest I buy?

-Caroline G., Mt. Lebanon, PA

A. Studio flash is better and has more creative potential, assuming you know how to use it. That’s a big assumption, and simplest is often best. I suggest you start with a lighting tent outfit.

When buying fluorescent lighting for video or photography pay attention to the Color Rendering Index, or CRI. CRI is a measurement of how accurately a lighting source’s color spectrum can reproduce colors. Daylight and xenon flash tubes and have a CRI of 100, which is perfect, while many fluorescent bulbs included in these inexpensive kits only have a CRI of 81. This can cause inaccurate colors in your images, even after you adjust white balance or tweak images in software. You can learn more about CRI at http://www.topbulb.com/color-rendering-index.

A CRI of 90 or higher is considered excellent for fluorescent and capable of producing high quality images. Fovitec’s StudioPRO 24-inch tent kit includes CRI 90 bulbs for $79. Though it costs more than the $30 kits with CRI 81 bulbs, it is well worth the difference. If you already have a lighting kit, Fovitec offers CRI 90 bulbs as well. www.fovitec.com

Q. How do I find an archive of your newspaper columns, product reviews and recommendations? I like to refer to your previous columns before I buy something, but it is very difficult to find newer stuff from you. I see lots of old reviews and articles on your blog site, but nothing current.

-Chuck Haberman, Apple Valley, MN

A. You can start with your local newspaper’s website, though few newspapers keep the column online for longer than the week it runs. As for my own site, readers often write and ask why I update my blog site so little and don’t post columns there anymore. Until recently I had other projects and responsibilities that requires my undivided attention and energy, but mostly it was because I was never happy with the blog site. I have long planned on going in a different direction when I could refocus my creative energies and make something new.

That day has come, and the new site is up and running at soundadvicenews.com. I have a complete archive of my 2015 columns there, as well as some new product reviews to get everything started. I also have a few audio system configurations posted, along with illustrated setup guides for the two most popular television sound solutions, the Insignia NS-B314 soundbar and the ZVOX SoundBase. My photo studio is set up again to create original photography, and soundadvicenews.com will be updated regularly with reviews, tips and advice, and of course, my weekly column. However, you won’t see the columns there before they run in the print as each column will post only after it has run in the newspapers.

If you have been to my aesthetically-challenged and disorganized old site, you are in for a shock when you see the new one. Stop by and say hi, and send me some questions, no matter how offbeat you think they may be. Sometimes the most unlikely queries really strike a chord with readers!