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Photography: LED or No LED? Or different LED?

bottles_inc

Well-Known Member
Jul 20, 2019
148
43
NY
Been meaning to take some quality pics of some unlisted bottles I have for the 5th edition of the Long Island bottle reference book, but I haven't been able to get a light cube. I jury rigged a system with a pillowcase and a photography light I have and it worked OK, but I couldn't figure out how to position my secondary LED light well. Based on these photos, do you guys prefer with LED or without? Or do I need to position the LED better? Or do I need to change my background for better contrast? Photography experts help me out!
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ROBBYBOBBY64

Well-Known Member
Jan 11, 2020
2,904
113
New Jersey
Been meaning to take some quality pics of some unlisted bottles I have for the 5th edition of the Long Island bottle reference book, but I haven't been able to get a light cube. I jury rigged a system with a pillowcase and a photography light I have and it worked OK, but I couldn't figure out how to position my secondary LED light well. Based on these photos, do you guys prefer with LED or without? Or do I need to position the LED better? Or do I need to change my background for better contrast? Photography experts help me out!
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I like with the leds. Images are more saturated. Most importantly, they are in focus. No flash, only makes a hot spot. They look good to me.
ROBBYBOBBY64.
 

UncleBruce

BEER DUDE
Aug 22, 2012
1,072
113
Show Me State (Missouri)
Trial and error. Take several shots under different conditions and experiment. You'll eventually figure out what you like. How bold the embossing is makes a difference. A lot depends on the camera too. Have fun doing it and share the pictures here.
 

bottle-o-pop

Well-Known Member
Dec 15, 2015
66
8
I take bottle photos using an LED bulb. I am Very picky when it comes to selecting an LED bulb. I prefer zero color from a bulb! This means buying only bulbs with a color temperature of 6500 Kelvin. (Pure white light is defined as 6504 Kelvin. 6500K is close enough!)

Most LED bulbs you will see in stores are 5000K or 5500K and 4000K or even 3500K or less ("daylight" and "soft white"). Even the "daylight" ones are not white enough and will still alter the look of your bottles, Especially the ones with a color, and even more especially the bottles with a bluish color!

"Soft white" 2700K LED basically means an inexpensive LED bulb that has a tan-colored light output to imitate a tungsten bulb.

6500K bulbs don't cost a lot more. They are about $4 each, while the 2700K or 3000K are about $2.50 each. That's not a lot of difference for all of your photos during all of the years you use the bulb.

If you can't find any 6500K in a store, I suggest ordering one online.

Another important measurement is the CRI (color rendering index). LED bulbs with a CRI rating of 80 or more are preferred. The color temperature of a bulb (like 5000K) is the color of the light to the eye. The color rendering index, on the other hand, is a measure of the spectral quality (spread) of the bulb's light. A high CRI means a more even spectral coverage of all the colors humans can see. CRI is not, however, a measure of the where on the spectrum the bulb's strongest light color or average light color.
In particular, in relation to LED technology, a lower Kelvin color temperature bulb generally gives a higher CRI, while a higher Kelvin temperature bulb has a lower CRI, but this is only a general rule, so shop for the highest CRI you can get in a 6500K bulb. Because of the way LED bulbs are made, CRI is mostly important to the bulb's rendering of reddish items, like apples. CRI is less important for bluish and greenish things and transparent glass.

Tungsten bulbs have a CRI of 100 because they have a very even spectral light, covering all frequencies because the light is from a glowing hot metal, a typical "black-body" radiator.
Unfortunately, tungsten bulbs are their strongest at a lower frequency, so their Kelvin temperature is about 2500K which means it will severely affect the color of the light reflected from, or transmitted through, greenish and bluish items and glass.

Note that the "color temperature" is not actually the temperature of the light source -- Unless that light source is the tungsten filament in an incandescent bulb 2500K, a candle flame 1850K, or the Sun (in space above the Earth's atmosphere) 5900K.

Having said all that, for taking photographs of bottles, the color temperature (whiteness) in degrees Kelvin is the most important factor, and the CRI is less important.
 

bottles_inc

Well-Known Member
Jul 20, 2019
148
43
NY
I take bottle photos using an LED bulb. I am Very picky when it comes to selecting an LED bulb. I prefer zero color from a bulb! This means buying only bulbs with a color temperature of 6500 Kelvin. (Pure white light is defined as 6504 Kelvin. 6500K is close enough!)

Most LED bulbs you will see in stores are 5000K or 5500K and 4000K or even 3500K or less ("daylight" and "soft white"). Even the "daylight" ones are not white enough and will still alter the look of your bottles, Especially the ones with a color, and even more especially the bottles with a bluish color!

"Soft white" 2700K LED basically means an inexpensive LED bulb that has a tan-colored light output to imitate a tungsten bulb.

6500K bulbs don't cost a lot more. They are about $4 each, while the 2700K or 3000K are about $2.50 each. That's not a lot of difference for all of your photos during all of the years you use the bulb.

If you can't find any 6500K in a store, I suggest ordering one online.

Another important measurement is the CRI (color rendering index). LED bulbs with a CRI rating of 80 or more are preferred. The color temperature of a bulb (like 5000K) is the color of the light to the eye. The color rendering index, on the other hand, is a measure of the spectral quality (spread) of the bulb's light. A high CRI means a more even spectral coverage of all the colors humans can see. CRI is not, however, a measure of the where on the spectrum the bulb's strongest light color or average light color.
In particular, in relation to LED technology, a lower Kelvin color temperature bulb generally gives a higher CRI, while a higher Kelvin temperature bulb has a lower CRI, but this is only a general rule, so shop for the highest CRI you can get in a 6500K bulb. Because of the way LED bulbs are made, CRI is mostly important to the bulb's rendering of reddish items, like apples. CRI is less important for bluish and greenish things and transparent glass.

Tungsten bulbs have a CRI of 100 because they have a very even spectral light, covering all frequencies because the light is from a glowing hot metal, a typical "black-body" radiator.
Unfortunately, tungsten bulbs are their strongest at a lower frequency, so their Kelvin temperature is about 2500K which means it will severely affect the color of the light reflected from, or transmitted through, greenish and bluish items and glass.

Note that the "color temperature" is not actually the temperature of the light source -- Unless that light source is the tungsten filament in an incandescent bulb 2500K, a candle flame 1850K, or the Sun (in space above the Earth's atmosphere) 5900K.

Having said all that, for taking photographs of bottles, the color temperature (whiteness) in degrees Kelvin is the most important factor, and the CRI is less important.
Great info! Thanks for dropping the details.
 

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