If you make the effort to acquire the proper kind of lights your photographs will look much better. The reason that professional photographs look so nice is because of the care that is used in lighting. For over three decades we have used Lowel Totalights because they were portable. These Lowel light fixtures never break. Now that we do large format digital photography we find that it takes the increased horsepower of the Lowel DP and Lowel Omni fixtures to provide enough light.

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Lighting is the key to successful studio photography.

Digital photography sometimes requires twice the power that a traditional picture would have required. As the new generation of digital cameras come out, the hunger for light power calms down somewhat.

Various Lamps (jpeg)
Bulbman lamps

An option for digital photography is using fluorescent lights. Videssence is the most popular for television studios. Balcar is the lighting seen most often in professional camera studios, especially at trade shows both in Germany and in the USA.

If you are still learning how to do lighting there are a variety of good books that we will review shortly. You can always check the index, which lists such reviews under B for book reviews.

Since photography lights can explode it is not a wise investment to get cheap lamps from dubious sources. The easiest way to get safe lights is to go to a reputable source. Besides, this way you can find all the lamps you need in one place. The source for lamps that we recommend is Bulbman, www.bulbman.com.

BulbMan has grown over the years. I get the impression they are the largest supplier of professional photography and projection lamps in the country. I would guess they carry many other kinds of lights as well.

TIP ==> Bulbs can explode unexpectedly, so it is best to have a screen on the front of your lights.

TIP ==> Do not use the bulbs too long, the color temperature will decline and your pictures will not turn out properly colored.

Holding the lamp by the glass part is B A D. Your finger oil will cause premature failure. Always use (non-slip) paper or cloth to hold a lamp (except on the bottom as here). Be sure your lamps are shielded. Occasionally lamps do explode, sending liquid hot molten glass and metal fragments all over the place.

Lamps come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Do not exceed the specifications of the fixture you are using. Use heavy duty extension cords.

The Lowel lights that we used, DP and Totalights, did not produce any irregularities on the digital image that we could detect with the naked eye. But Dedolights, of the kind operating from their own transformer, did produce appreciable defects in the digital images, though not every lamp and not every time.

Electric fans, copiers, or any motor, even if far away in the same building, produced distortions of the digital image. This is a polite way of saying that the pictures were totally ruined. Normal UPS units are not sufficient to solve this problem. We have our computer system and our digital system both on a normal UPS unit.

Various lamps
Close up of different Bulbman lamps

One of the few companies which makes the kind of constant voltage power conditioner line protection that you need is Sola. Sola is highly recommended. We look forward to testing their equipment and have already posted two reviews elsewhere in the FLAAR system of web sites.

Telephone 800-648-1163 Fax: 800-548-6216 fax if you are facing from a foreign country 775-788-5657
E-mail: bulbman@mindspring.com Customer Service: service@bulbman.com

So the next time you need a lamp for your photo lights, now you know where to turn, namely Bulbman

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Posted early 1998, edited March 4, 1999, last updated June 8, 1999; links added April 20, 2000; links added Mar. 2002
redesigned January 2004
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