Short version: Old photo setup had a desk lamp to the left front of minis, and three bulbs on a lamp tree above minis. New setup has two desk lamps in front- one to left and one to right- of the minis (no light from above), and I think the photos will improve with this new setup.
(I made this short version because I ramble a bit in the following post, and I'm too dang lazy to go back and edit down. Oh well, pitfalls of a blog and my own laziness! :) But don't forget to scroll down to see the photo example for this post.
So I've tried some energy-saving light bulbs. They work OK, but there has been a slight difference in the quality of my photos since I added the new bulbs. I hope I can find an energy bulb with the right color/lumens/wattage balance before the mandate kicks in (yep: Those little coiled up flourescent, energy-saving bulbs will be required in the U.S. in the next couple years.) I save my 60 watt incandescent bulbs for painting and photographing minis. I prefer their slightly warmer light, though I have read some energy saving bulbs have a warmer light- I just haven't found the right model yet (it has to do with the Kelvin rating etc etc...more than I want to get into here.) Really, they're not bad and can be corrected, I just want to deal with less camera-setting and Photoshop work.
ANYWAY, to get to the point: I think the quality of my photos has decreased a bit in the past year or so, so I wanted to try something a bit different. My old photo setup had a desk lamp in front of and to the left of the minis, and two to three bulbs shining from above (on a lamp tree I have. The energy saving bulbs were on this lamp tree.)
Today, I purchased a new desk lamp and set it to the front and right of the minis. BIG improvement! The two photos shown here were taken with only the two desk lamps in the front. I tried a few shots with the lighting from above, but there was no marked difference except that there was a little more light shed on the backdrop.
I like this setup a lot better; The colors are better; Very little, if anything, is in shadow; and I especially like how the background fades to black (it's more of a taste thing; a lot of people like the blue or white backdrops- I prefer something a bit darker.)
The energy saving bulbs have washed out a little bit of the color, but that's something I should be able to correct with camera settings. I still like the Reveal bulbs better in this example, simply for the tiny bit of extra "warmth" they bring, but I'm not unhappy with the energy savers.
So I hope you like my photos using this slightly different setup.
Edit: So here's another try with the Energy Smart bulbs using an automatic white balance setting to try to kill some of the yellow. The photo is just a touch dark from me trying to adjust the levels in Photoshop to regain some of the washed-out colors. Otherwise, not so bad?
(I posted the camera info just for reference; I don't have any control over shutter speed, f-stop or focal length.)