So, my lights came yesterday, with much anticipation on my part. The bad news is that two of the lights arrived broken (the lights themselves, not the bulbs). I still took some pictures in my usual next-to-the-window set up, with the one working light to the left of the dress form:
As you can see, it was a cloudy day, but with the little light I was getting from the window, plus the studio light (the light on the end table was off when I was shooting) I was able to get some decent shots.
Before and Afters
Below is an embroidered shirt. The photo on the left shows the shirt with just the light from the window, and the photo on the right shows it with both the light from the window and the studio light.
You can see that the left side of the garment in the second picture is lit much better than in the first picture.
I also think the color stayed pretty true to life. I was a little concerned that the studio lights would make my garments look too blue, but I don’t think that was the case.
Here’s another example, this time with a linen blend jacket:
I think the improvement is more dramatic here. There are far fewer shadows in the second picture. The biggest problem here with the one-light set-up is that I’m getting quite a bit of shadow on the right, behind the garment. I think that would be solved with the third, small light that came with the set, but that was one of the broken ones. (Womp, womp.)
You can see the shadow in the back right in this picture, too:
(Cute dress, though, right? It’s Anthro–of course!)
Even though I only had one light to work with, I’m happy with the improvement I saw in the pictures I took. The left side of my pictures, which are always dark, showed much brighter. And I didn’t have to sacrifice much in the way of colors, which were showing up pretty true to life.
I’ve returned my first set and ordered a new set from a different company, which is due to arrive on Thursday. Once it gets here, I’ll keep working to eliminate the shadow in the back right area.
I have plans to set up a permanent studio in our garage, once I buy a backdrop. That way, I’ll have much more freedom to set up the lights where I want, rather than having to work in the confines of our bedroom. I think that’s the only way that I’ll get my pictures just the way I want them.
Overall, I think buying studio lights was a good idea–I probably should have done it months ago! I’ll reserve my final judgement until my new set gets here, but I have a feeling the lights will be a great addition to my eBay arsenal.