- ph9 Ltd
- Top Floor
- 3 - 4 Iron Gate
- Derby, DE1 3FJ
- United Kingdom
- 323 410 1032
- Company No. 05123193
- VAT No. GB997113782
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Tuesday 28th November 2023 at 09:34
Technology never stands still, and neither do we! We have come a long way in the last 19 years, making selling online easy for hundreds of antique, vintage and art dealers.
Good photography and video are vital in selling stock online. Whether you use an iPhone or digital camera, your lighting has to be spot-on. In previous photography blogs, we covered aperture and the importance of good lighting in photographing your stock.
This month, we compare the two most common options for your lighting: the traditional softbox and the modern ring light.
It is important to remember that photography is the process of capturing light. The better the light quality, the better the picture quality.
If you use LED lights to shoot in a dimly lit space, you might find the lights can be too bright and create harsh shadows. Softboxes can help you make this hard light more evenly distributed and natural-looking.
Softboxes are constructed for light diffusion: filling in shadows and creating a well-lit, warm effect.
These softboxes are usually placed to the side of the camera, at a 45 to 60-degree angle, and at around a 30-degree angle, to the top of the object.
The main thing to think about is size. The size will determine the light spread and how easy it is to carry and store.
If you have a softbox kit like the one we recommended in our lighting blog, you might not need one for standard stills. But if you are increasingly taking pictures with your iPhone, close-ups, in small spaces, uploading videos or even taking Zoom calls...read on!
A ring light is just that: a circular fluorescent bulb or several small bulbs that form a circle. Originating in medical procedures, they are now commonly used for beauty shots, portraits, and macro photography.
As with a softbox, a ring light emits diffused lighting, creating an even spread of light and removing harsh shadows. If you have ever wondered how someone looks so well-lit on a webcam, it is probably thanks to a ring light.
They are popular with portrait photographers, especially for the catchlight effect in the eyes. Used in macro photography, they can be effective at bringing out fine details and hiding shadows.
Ring lights come in different sizes, so you should consider your location, what you are shooting, and the time of day when you are shooting.
Recommended ring light size
8/ 10 inch (small-medium)
10/ 12 inch (medium)
Instagram/ Website/ Tik Tok video
14 – 18 inch (medium/large)
Low light/ large objects/ whole person live streaming
18/ 22 inch (large)
For most of you, a 12/14-inch ring light should be enough.
Ring lights are also available in two formats: strobe (often used for stills) and constant (often used for video). Constant ring lights are often easier-to-use and more consistent, whereas strobe lights (flash when you click the shutter) take more getting used to.
They come in different colours, so make sure you check the description. Choose fluorescent or warm white lights, rather than warm yellow or bright white, to get better images for your website or Insta.
And we recommend you get one with a dimmer to adjust the light needed based on the distance from your subject and surroundings.
Straight in front of your subject is the best place to put your light, with the camera in the middle of the circle or 45 degrees to the side (like the soft boxes). Keep the light roughly 25 inches (arm's length) from the subject to create natural, even lighting.
Ring lights are perfect for close-up shots of small trinkets, miniatures, ornaments, watches or jewellery. Just check when shooting metal objects, as you might find the reflections add a hard black line. In this case, you can add softboxes or a light cone to diffuse the light.
Though ring lights are usually sold and used with a tripod, you can also buy LED macro lens ring lights that attach to your DSLR for macro photography. In a previous blog post, we covered taking better pictures with your iPhone. Using a ring light could be a great way to improve your lighting and complement your existing set-up.
You can even get a low-cost and pocket friendly clip-on ring light for your iPhone or tablet. This will help you produce better videos of your stock to upload to your site (included for clients on our large plan).
As with soft boxes, prices vary depending on the size.
Expertreviews.co.uk reviewed ring lights in early 2023, recommending:
Both ring lights and soft boxes have different strengths and weaknesses in different scenarios.
A ring light is cost-effective, portable and easy to use, giving you bright, focused light in videos and macro shots. The more you can bring your items to life for a visitor, the better your chance of making a sale. Video is a great way of doing this.
Lightboxes are great for a large professional set-up, with more flexibility and scope for dramatic effects in still images.
And they can be used together to create shadowless, even lighting.
Whatever you do, experiment to get the best shot and video content of your stock.
ph9 web design is here to help you get started. We specialize in creating websites tailored to your business needs. We can also guide you through joining antiques marketplaces and help you set up and manage online advertising campaigns. Contact us today to learn more and start taking action towards growing your business.
Photo credits - Amazon, Freepik.com, unsplash.com, Antiques Boutique
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Tuesday 28th November 2023 at 09:34