Saturday, 4 August 2012

Incandescent Light

Literally the word ‘incandescent’ means ‘glowing’. We are now dealing with objects that emits light when heated to a certain limit emits. That is the reason why incandescent lights are also called hot lights. The most common example of incandescent light source is the household tungsten light bulb.

incandescent light photography
Photo By Insane Capture

Only a photographer who understands how the human eye and the digital sensor perceive the colour spectrum can make full use of light in photography. Tungsten light source has a colour temperature between 2800 and 3200 Kelvin. This makes it a warm light source and as a result photographs taken with incandescent light often have a yellow tinge to them.

If situation demands you to correct the white balance and produce naturally coloured picture; you could do it either by using a blue 80A filter to correct for the warm incandescent light and produce a naturally coloured photo or by correcting colour casts during post processing. If you intend to correct white balance in post processing then it is recommended that you shoot in RAW.

tungsten light bulb photography
Photo By Daniele Nicolucci

It should be noted that modern day energy saving light bulbs designed for household use works under the principles of fluorescent lighting and therefore does not have the same colour temperature as the tungsten/incandescent bulbs. If in doubt check your white balance readings for pure white and adjust accordingly.

Just as we discussed in the previous article – Candles, Oil lamps and Flames; correcting the white balance of the camera to reproduce pure white (eliminating the yellow tint altogether) may not be a good idea. We all grew up seeing objects illuminated by the tungsten bulbs, our brain automatically associates household light with some yellow tint.

In the next article we will discuss about Photography - Types of Light - Available Light - Fluorescent Light

Related Reading

  1. Seasonal Quality of Light
  2. Effect of Location on Light
  3. Evening Light
  4. Noon Light
  5. Morning Light