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Thread: LED lighting for wet plate collodion

  1. #1

    LED lighting for wet plate collodion

    Hello all,
    I am very new to this style of photography, I've just finished building my own 8x10 wet plate collodion camera and have just begun mixing my first batch of chemicals. Seeing as this is all experimental for me I'm trying to keep it low budget. Has anyone had any experience with using LED lighting for studio wet plate photography? Any information will be greatly appreciated!
    Many thanks,
    Ethan

  2. #2

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    Re: LED lighting for wet plate collodion

    I haven't tried it with wet plate, but if any LED's will work it will be those which put out in the UV spectrum. The "white light" ones may also work.

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    Re: LED lighting for wet plate collodion

    Mark will weigh in soon, but you need a LOT of light for wetplate. Compact florescents, blacklights, and all the rest have been used. But usually fail. They can create a weird skin tone, or the sitter has to be staring into 3 banks of light with as much candlepower as the sun. It's ISO 1 afterall. Mark uses strobes to good effect.

  4. #4

    Re: LED lighting for wet plate collodion

    I've read that lights in the 5500k range are correct for wet plate, Is this accurate?

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    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: LED lighting for wet plate collodion

    Quote Originally Posted by goamules View Post
    Mark will weigh in soon, but you need a LOT of light for wetplate. Compact florescents, blacklights, and all the rest have been used. But usually fail. They can create a weird skin tone, or the sitter has to be staring into 3 banks of light with as much candlepower as the sun. It's ISO 1 afterall. Mark uses strobes to good effect.
    Oh yeah, drag me into it...

    I haven't played with LED's, so I can't comment other than the already stated need for UV and blue wavelengths. But I've used CFL's for still life, (yup, 5500k, Edanylycha) with good results. But for portraits, any hot lights will make the subject very uncomfortable, which generally has a very negative effect on the results. Go with strobes there.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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    Re: LED lighting for wet plate collodion

    More for the printing side of things, but you could have a look at http://thewetprint.com/en/2016/09/16...part-1-design/ to give you a rough idea for one way to use LEDs. Though if you're photographing people, I'd go with a mix of the UV he uses, blue and perhaps some of the white "daylight" (check the specs for the LEDs see which kick out the most towards the blue end of the spectrum)

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    Recovering Leica Addict seezee's Avatar
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    Re: LED lighting for wet plate collodion

    The UV wavelengths needed to properly expose may be damaging to your subjects' eyes! Better have them sign a waiver if you plan to go that route.
    "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."

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    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: LED lighting for wet plate collodion

    Quote Originally Posted by seezee View Post
    The UV wavelengths needed to properly expose may be damaging to your subjects' eyes! Better have them sign a waiver if you plan to go that route.
    "The UV wavelengths needed to properly expose" are equivalent to standing in the sun for two seconds (about the normal exposure for an outdoor wet plate portrait). Unless you know something I don't?
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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    Recovering Leica Addict seezee's Avatar
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    Re: LED lighting for wet plate collodion

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    "The UV wavelengths needed to properly expose" are equivalent to standing in the sun for two seconds (about the normal exposure for an outdoor wet plate portrait). Unless you know something I don't?
    It's not the length of the exposure; it's the intensity of the lights themselves that is problematic. I should have phrased that more precisely.
    "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."

    seezee at Mercury Photo Bureau
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    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: LED lighting for wet plate collodion

    I think it's not so much the intensity of the UV, which would be similar to or less than the sun's. It's the absence of white light to discourage one from staring directly into them. I'd agree with your original assessment, and stay away from LED's for just that reason.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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