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Thread: Another Portrait Attempt

  1. #1
    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Another Portrait Attempt

    I rented some lights, and soft boxes just to play around. I also used my friend's 60D to see if I liked it. Nothing good can come out of playing with toys you don't own!!

    Let me know what you think of this attempt. PS - I had tons of fun playing with the new gear too!!

    Another Portrait Attempt

  2. #2

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    She looks startled! Focus on the lady seems overly soft. Backgroud a bit distracting.

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Bump up the exposure toggle a bit.

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    I tend to agree with the previous comments. Your models are 'over posing' and look nervous. It seems to be a rather dark scene overall. Looks a bit like it was shot in a dungeon; but there isn't anything wrong with that if it was your intention.

    The lighting seems fine at the moment and I suspect that increasing the highlights will cause patches of excessive brightness. Possibly play around with the midtones if a brighter result is required.

    But it all depends on what effect which you were after.

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Hi Andrew,

    I agree with the others re the "startled look" -- looks to me like you just got a "bad frame". I get bad frames all the time (folks blinking, weird expressions) (comes from my shooting style of getting the smiling and/or laughing) -- "trick" is to just take lots of frames in the set (these days it's so so so easy to disquality many frames on minor technicalities).

    Only other thing I'd mention is that the camera hates gaps -- you'd get a far more intimate photo if you can get the gap between their head vastly reduced. eg

    Another Portrait Attempt

    Another Portrait Attempt

    Another Portrait Attempt

    Another Portrait Attempt

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Thanks everyone - appreciate the feedback. Just means more practice, right?!

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Andrew,
    keep those positive thoughts.
    This may not be the best portrait ever taken; but your next one might be.
    I'll keep an eye out for future post from you, I'm sure at some stage that competition winning picture will be there. The good thing with this forum is that we are all learning together.

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Thanks everyone - appreciate the feedback. Just means more practice, right?!

    But this isn't a 'bad' photo. In fact there is a lot right with it, and if your models had different facial expressions this would be a decent result.

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Just to add to all the good comments above, I would position them away from the fireplace(?) opening. If it was possible, with the stone wall completely behind them if thats the background you wanted. Otherwise, good start and thats a great way to try out other equipment!

  10. #10
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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    you did better than i did so its a good shot..... now if you can just remove the sticks from up there bums itll work

  11. #11
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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Haha! OK, thank you everyone!! I did try to get people to loosen up a little, but there are definitely times when it just doesn't work out. It was however fun playing with the rental gear. Unfortunately now, I have to buy my own

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    I did try to get people to loosen up a little, but there are definitely times when it just doesn't work out.
    Just use alcohol - works every time

    Seriously, I do think that people often forget that the camera only captures what's there, so manipulating the environment that the camera "sees" is a BIG part of portraiture (in fact, I'd probably go so far as to say that this is what really seperates portraiture from "snaps"). And when you get into it, you start to discover that there are so many things that have an effect, such as ...

    - Expressions

    - Posing

    - Positioning relative to each other

    - Positioning relative to the background

    - Lighting

    - Clothing

    - Post-processing

    There's definately an overload potential in amongst that, but it's a bit like learning to drive a car -- at first you don't have enough eyes, feet, and hands ... but after many years you can listen to the radio - talk on the phone - eat your lunch - and put on makeup all whilst doing 120 down the motorway (but enough about my driving!).

    PS: On the topic of "loosening up", in my opinion, it starts long before the shoot. I get young girls coming in for a shoot quite often - they're always nervous (which is a photographic disaster) - so I bend over backwards to make them feel comfortable. I tell them that everyone is nervous to start with and that in a couple of hours they'll want to live here - I show them where they can get changed in private - where the toilets are etc - I'll plug their iPods into the sound system (I draw the line a Justin Bieber though!) - I threaten them that if they don't sing along and have a good time then I'LL SING ALONG AND HAVE A GOOD TIME! From there I generally just make a fool of myself - put on a "nothing's ever a problem" kinda attitude - explain how I need to take a lot of shots to discover the angles that work best for them (whereas in reality I'm normally just blowing away the first couple of hundred shots to get them used to being photographed). And of course they can see the results on the 40" TV as they come off the camera, so they can see where I'm heading with a look. Generally, I just try to keep them laughing (even though I don't have a sense of humour that I'm aware of); I really don't care if they're laughing with me or at me ... so long as I get the shot. I'll also get them to do some crazy stuff (say "cheeseburger" or "piece of Pizza") or "left arm behind your back - right palm behind your head - point your toes together and lean back" (which they do) and then "OK - that was fun - how about we do some photographic poses next!" (in a good-natured way). If they're nervous / upset / stiff / uncomfortable ... you're sunk.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 28th November 2011 at 11:10 PM.

  13. #13
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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    She does look startled. I would say after you get the pose worked out, and try to get the models to relax, make good use of your camera's frame per second specification and fire off three or four shots. That expression can't last for more than a few seconds.

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    , make good use of your camera's frame per second specification and fire off three or four shots. That expression can't last for more than a few seconds.
    Hi John,

    Doesn't work with strobes ... they can't recycle fast enough.

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Thanks Colin, great advice as usual. I'm just going to keep at it!

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Thanks Colin, great advice as usual. I'm just going to keep at it!
    No worries Andrew,

    Something that I've said quite a few times in the past is that - despite all you can read and learn before hand, there's just no substitute for getting out there and shooting for yourself. Bit like how you never really learn how to drive until you get your licence.

    So get out there and start shooting!

  17. #17
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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Positioning, and crazy models aside, does the lighting seem OK? First time using 2 big soft boxes with real lights.

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Positioning, and crazy models aside, does the lighting seem OK? First time using 2 big soft boxes with real lights.
    Hi Andrew,

    The lighting's not too bad. It's quite flat, but it's quite tricky to get directional lighting with couples anyway. I typically use a front-on light for key, a fill from the side to impart a bit of direction, and sometimes a small fill from the other side to lift any overly dark areas. The are a few other "sub-optimal" issues that need to be fixed though ...

    - Levels are too low

    - Colour Cast

    - Needs sharpening

    - Gent has a bit of an injury or rash that needs retouching

    I've done a quick adjust of the first 3 to show what I mean ...

    Another Portrait Attempt

    You need to get a gray card so you can get your whitebalancing a lot closer.

    Hope this helps

  19. #19
    Andrew76's Avatar
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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Helps a lot!! Thanks again. And, PS - I have a gray card that I continue to refuse to use!!

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    Re: Another Portrait Attempt

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew76 View Post
    Helps a lot!! Thanks again. And, PS - I have a gray card that I continue to refuse to use!!
    I have to keep reminding myself to use ming too. If you forget - and you're using studio lights - start out at about 5500K - you usually won't be too far out.

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