Frequently Asked Questions
Litestage has everything you need for quality product photography:
Q:When I have the tungsten lamps on, the strobe lamps don't seem to work properly.
A: The tungsten lamps must be turned off before taking a picture with strobe lighting and the strobe lamps must be turned off before taking a picture with tungsten lighting. Combining the two will result in color that is not correct. Aside from that, the reason the strobe lamps are not working when the tungsten lamps are left on is because the sensors on the strobe lamps that make them fire simultaneously are malfunctioning due to the intensity of the tungsten lamps.
Q:When I try to take a picture with only 1 or 2 of the strobe lamps on, the strobes don't always work.
A: When you are taking a picture with only 1 or 2 strobe lamps on, the sync cord must be plugged into one of the "on" lamps.
Q:When I take a picture with a digital camera using the strobe lighting, my image is over exposed.
A: Some digital cameras are more sensitive to strobe lighting than others. If your digital does not have enough f-stop adjustment to achieve the correct exposure, you will need to get a neutral density filter lens for the camera. These lenses give you additional f-stops (depending on which density lens you choose) without changing the color of the image.
Q:When I take pictures on the translucent sweep, my pictures have a gray background, not white.
A: The translucent sweep is designed to be used with an under light (spotlight). If you want a white background, you should use white background paper. The under light is an optional accessory that does not come with a standard litestage unit.
Q:What should I use for an underlight?
A: The under light should be a reflector with a lamp that matches the type of lighting you are using in the light chambers above. If you are using tungsten lighting above, you should have a tungsten lamp in the under light reflector. If you are using strobe lighting above, you should have a strobe lamp (self-triggering) in the under light reflector. We recommend a 500W 3200K tungsten lamp and a 20 W/S strobe lamp. These are available through a photo supply store or as accessories from Litestage. The light reflector you use must be rated for use with 500W photo lamps. When using an under light you also need to install the white Reflector Board that is included with your Litestage. Please refer to your installation instructions.
Q:What are the inside dimensions of the different Litestage models?
A: All models have the same inside dimensions. 30"H x 30"W x 24"D
Q:Is it possible to upgrade from one Litestage model to another if I decide to in the future?
Q:Why do I need strobe lighting?
A: Strobe lighting is necessary when you are shooting without a tripod to keep your images in perfect focus. With digital cameras, there is also a slight difference in some colors between tungsten and strobe lighting. This varies from camera to camera. It is an advantage to have both as an option.
Q:Is Litestage available in 220V AC?
A: No. A 240/220v to 110v electrical transformer is available for those applications.
Q:How do I know if my camera will be compatible with the Litestage strobe (flash) lamps?
A: The Litestage strobe lamps are connected to your camera via a sync cord (provided). The sync cord has a PC male plug on the camera end. Your camera must have either a female PC outlet or a hot shoe to connect to the sync cord. If your camera only has a hot shoe, you will also need an adapter that includes a female PC outlet and connects to your hot shoe. Two such adapters are the wein Safe-sync adapter and the Nikon AS-15 adapter. Both mount onto any hot shoe (available from photo supply stores). If your camera has a proprietary external flash connection (like some Nikon cameras for example), you need to contact the manufacturer to see if they have an adapter that includes a female PC outlet.
Q:Why do I get a sync cord with each strobe lamp?
A: A sync cord comes with each strobe lamp, but you will only need one to connect to your camera. All the strobe lamps have sensors that enable them to flash simultaneously as long as they are turned on (green switches ON). Keep the other sync cords as spares in case you lose one.
Q:If I only need one sync cord connected, why is there a connection for a sync cord on every dome?
A: This allows you to operate the strobe lamps independently. If you wanted to use the top strobe lamp only, you would turn off the side lamps (green switches OFF) and connect the sync cord to the socket on the top dome with the top dome green switch ON. If the sync cord is left plugged into one of the side domes with the lamp turned off, the top strobe will not fire, even if the top strobe lamp switch is ON.
Q:I am taking pictures of jewelry and the images I am getting lack the "sparkle" that I would like to see.
A: With Litestage, your products are surrounded with even, balanced, diffused (soft) light. That "sparkle" you are looking for can only come from undiffused (hard) light. All you have to do is slide open one of the diffuser panels (with the lamp still on) to introduce some hard light and give your jewelry some "sparkle".
Q:What if I WANT a shadow in my image? With all the lights on, there are no shadows. If I turn off one of the side lamps, that side just gets darker, but there is still not enough shadow.
A: Diffused (soft), even, balanced light eliminates shadows. Turn off one of the side lamps and slide open the diffuser panel on the oposite side with the lamp turned on. The "hard" light from the open side will create a shadow.
Q:Even with all 3 lamps on, the front of my product is darker than the sides. How do I eliminate the dark area in the front?
A:Here are a few things to try:
Q:When I use my under light with taller products, the translucent sweep appears gray on top. How do I light up the entire sweep to eliminate the gray?
A: The grey effect on the top of the sweep is useful when shooting clear or white products because those products would be lost against an all white background. To light up the entire sweep you will need another under light reflector and a stand (see Accessories ). One under light is sufficient for smaller products.
Q:I am using the tungsten lamps, but they burn out too quickly. I am taking pictures all day, every day. Is there an an alternative (other than the strobe lamps)?
A: Yes. You can use fluorescent lamps (see Accessories ). Tungsten lamps are rated at 20 hours. Fluorescent lamps are rated at 8000 hours. Remember to set your white balance correctly ("tungsten" or "incandescent" for tungsten, "fluorescent" for fluorescent, "daylight" for strobe). There is one limitation when using fluorescent lamps. You will have no under lighting capabilities. The lamps are not bright enough for under lighting.
Q:What kind of camera should I use?
A: Very inexpensive cameras ($100-$300) will generally not have the features and adjustment capabilities required to produce high quality images. There is a wide selection of both Digital and Film cameras starting in the $500-$1000 range that will do the job nicely. Generally speaking, suitable cameras, digital or film, will have the following features at a minimum:
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