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by evan-pak

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I'm going to buy a copy stand to easily take pictures of my papers, and also pictures of what I'm writing and drawing on my desk, sometimes also taking videos.

I was wondering what kind of lights I should use for this job?

Currently I'm considering three alternatives:

What would you go with? Budget for the lights would be around $100.

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The integrated lights will be easier, but something similar on stands beside a larger surface would work as well. As for lights, you really don't need anything special. Household incandescents will work just fine (and won't be too hot). You could also use compact fluorescents if they have a high CRI (over 90). Most LEDs that aren't horribly expensive "photo/video" lights have horrible colour, and most LED panels cast a multitude of discrete, overlapping shadows unless you further diffuse them (and suffer the light loss).

You can soften the shadows using some diffusion over the reflectors. For CFLs, you can just use tracing paper (or wax paper). For incandescents, you are going to want to use something designed to take a bit of heat, like Rosco Tough Spun or Tough Frost (and make sure that there's a gap between the diffuser and the reflector for hot air to flow). Don't worry about the expense -- you'd usually only need a single 20" x 24" sheet, and that should be under ten bucks at the right places. (Lee makes similar stuff if Rosco products are harder to get in your area.)

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