Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Let there be light! ...for my blog photos

Hi all!

I've had this post in my 'drafts' folder for ages now, and as it's starting to get light again, I thought I'd better post it before it's no longer relevant!

Am starting to bet a bit fed up of going to work in the dark, and coming home in the dark.  Don't get me wrong, I love getting snuggled down in front of the fire with a hot choc, and wearing my chunky jumpers, but it's not condusive to good blog photos!

I'm a perfectionist too, I think most nail bloggers, and bloggers in general, are a bit that way.  We spend so long paying attention to the tiny details that we want it all to be nicely represented in our pictures.  Plus alot of nail looks take time to do, so why sell them short with substandard pics?

So, I've been on a bit of a mission to give myself some lighting options to allow swatching and photographing on the long winter nights.  Really it's the ideal time, as there's not much else to do when it's cold and dark outside.

So to that end, I've bought some things.  Here they are and the results I got.  Firstly, as a 'control' I took a pic today in the sunlight.  I've chosen my new BFF, OPI Skull and Glossbones, topped with Elf Fairy Dust, both of which will be swatched and reviewed in upcoming posts.
OPI Skull and Glossbones with Elf Fairy Dust
So the first option I have for indoor lighting, is the undercupboard LED lights in the kitchen.  These are my usual 'go-to' indoor lights:
And here's the result I got:
The colour match isn't bad, but the glare from the light means I lose some definition.

So then, we get on to things I bought this week.  The first thing I bought was a 'daylight' energy saving bulb.  The brightest one they had in the shop was 100 watt equivalent:
As you can see, I paid £5.99, and the nail envy is for size comparison.  So here's the results I got from it:
I found this lighting really awkward, I put it in my bedside light (yes we do have chipboard wallpaper lol), it took five minutes or so to warm up, but for some reason the lighting seemed to confuse the camera and I had trouble with the camera zooming in and out of focus.  I don't know if that's the fault of the lighting or the background, but I wasn't liking it much.  Also the bulb got so hot, I got a bit worried that my hair was hanging near it. 

One other thing, it was difficult to get close enough to the bulb to get enought bright light without actually getting the bulb in the shot.  So all in all, not a great success, but on the plus side, it's not a bad colour representation, and it was fairly cheap.

So next we have my trusty craft light.  I've mentioned this in quite a few posts before, so here it is:
It's a really handy thing, the top section is all bendy, I usually have it down my side of the sofa, and I bend it down out of the way while I'm not using it.  The top bit comes away, and it came with a table clip you can use.  It also came with an additional extension pole so you can use it as a standing lamp, handy! 

It has lots of LED's inside, and a magnifying glass:
It's good to use while painting my nails when other half is watching TV, as I can angle it away from him so he's not bothered by the light, and I can still see what I'm doing.  It's nice and bright to work by.  Here's the nail picture result:
I couldn't get the awesome flakies to show up, the colour is washed out, and you can see the ring of lights reflected in the polish.  In dark cremes this is even worse, not great for swatching then.  I do sometimes use it for taking quick Friday night instagram pics, but I like the photos on my blog to be as good as they can be.

So then, on to the big purchase I made this week.  you may have noticed in the craft light shot, there was a black bag in the background.  Well this is my new portable photo studio:
I bought it from Amazon, I paid just over £30 HERE's the link

And here it is (badly) assembled.  I had some bits left over so I know I did it wrong, but I was excited to try it:
Looks pretty professional, right?  It was much bigger than I expected, from the Amazon reviews I thought it was going to be teeny tiny.  Cool that all this fits into that bag.

So here's the result:
This is probably the nicest lighting from all my experimental lighting, but a little bit yellow which I wasn't expecting, and was a little bit disappointed about that.  I got good definition, and it picked up the flakies nicely.  I also tried to use just one of the lights from the kit directly without the filter box:
This turned out even more yellow, no good.  Plus now I can see a streak in my topcoat, and a dent, which I hadn't noticed before.

So there we have everything I've tried so far, nothing as good as daylight yet, but the photo box set up will probably do when I'm desperate to do some swatches.  I wonder how the craft light will work using the photo box filters? hmmm still things to try then....

Apologies for the picture heavy post, I hope it hasn't caused you any problems, the hunt goes on!

Until next time....



  1. Ooh fancy! That's really cool that the light folds up into a bag. Must be great for travel! I just made mine with cardboard and tissue paper lol. Unfortunately, I already got a tear on one of the windows, so I'm going to have to replace that soon. And BTW, did you get your polishes in the mail yet? Haha, I get antsy with your orders since I don't know what happens after your friend gets it. x)

    1. Hi there! Yes it looks smart, but it's still not the perfection I'm looking for, probably your DIY version works better. I think he's getting them off this weekend, you'll soon know when I get them because I won't be able to shut up about them haha!
      x x x


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