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Adjusting the lights

I've been thinking about this for some time. Not sure how to go about it. Currently, I'm using 4 light bulbs. My paintings are coming out a little too dark when viewed on a wall in normal lighting. I'm wondering if I should go down to one or two lights so that my paintings appear brighter. Will it accomplish this? It might not.... I certainly want a correct painting in terms of color and value. Or should all these paintings have their own lights when on the wall? Most people around here do not want lights too blue. They are in the 2700 temperature range.

Or should I just adjust the photo brighter and still work with this many lights? I just want a painting that can be viewed in the most optimal but practical way. Most people are not going to shine 4 light bulbs at it. Thoughts?


  • JimmyJimmy -
    edited December 2014
    Hi MeganS, If by "normal" you mean a painting viewed at night in a room lit by one or two 60 - 100 watt incandescent light bulbs, the standard color temperature of these bulbs is 2700K: this produces a warm, cozy light. It is similar to the yellow/white light produced by a candle. The same painting viewed opposite a south facing window at noon will look brighter and the colors more intense. We can't predict where our paintings will be hung or how trends in color temperature will evolve over time. Most people still prefer a color temperature closer to the color of candle light for their homes.
  • I'm not changing the color temp. I really like it the way it is. But, the darkness of the paintings bother me a little. It seems so much is lost. Would it help if I painted with less light bulbs? Or should I compensate for it by making my prints brighter than what I think they should be?
  • @David_Quinn_Carder‌ Thank you. I know this in my head but your post makes my jumbled mess make sense.

    I just noticed that my prints are darker than on the screen. I went back to the guide to fix that. That might be more my issue than the lights!
  • I recommend adjusting the brightness for the prints with the RAW exposure setting in Lightroom rather than adjusting the tone curve in Lightroom or Photoshop. We have to deal with the same issue.

    Try this:

    Adjust a photo for the screen in Lightroom, then bump the exposure up by X before exporting to Photoshop for printing. Make print. If X was too much or not enough, adjust the value of X and repeat. When it's just right, write down X and use it for all future prints, no trial-and-error necessary.

    I recommend undoing the exposure increase in the RAW files after exporting, just so you don't accidentally double-bump the exposure making more prints later, and also so that your Lightroom gallery looks correct on-screen.

    Also, after you get this workflow down, shoot me an email. There's one other thing I want you to try that I think will help.
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