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Thread: first portrait shots

  1. #1

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    first portrait shots

    ok, heres a couple i did last night, willing volunteer?....was my wife, so may bit a bit biased but i like them,
    hopefully soon my studio/outside gear will turn up soon.

    first portrait shots

    first portrait shots

    first portrait shots

    first portrait shots

  2. #2

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    Re: first portrait shots

    Hi Mark,

    To be honest mate, you've got some fairly significant issues with levels, colour cast, lighting, and sharpening with these.

    I've tried to correct as many of these things as I could with the first shot to give you an idea of what I mean ...

    first portrait shots

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    Re: first portrait shots

    thanks for the reply colin, as said these were only shot indoors with standard indoor wall lights, and only a soft cloth over the flash, the idea with the first one was not a sharp image at all, but a really soft one, with some blur/out of focus look. Also our old cottage has yellow walls which reflected obviously the yellow tone, so rather that fight against what i didn't have i tried to enhance that in bringing a warmer tone

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    Re: first portrait shots

    Hi Mark,

    I'd suggest trying to bounce the flash off a wall to try and get a bit of direction in the lighting, although if it's a different colour temperature to the room lights - and used as a light augmentation source then it's going to give you mixed colour temps which will also be problematic. Not sure what the purpose of a cloth over the flash is?

    Best approach for a soft look is to duplicate the layer and then apply a high radius Gaussian blur to the top layer (typically 1px per MP sensor size), and then vary the layer opacity to suit - but - erase (partially or fully) areas that should be sharp (or sharper than the overall soft-tone) (like lips and eyes).

    I'd also suggest shooting a spectrally neutral reference to aid in colour correction; you can still have warmer tones, but at least it gives an accurate starting point (even a sheet of white paper is better than nothing).

    Have you had a look at my school of portraiture series here at all?

  5. #5

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    Re: first portrait shots

    Here's a quick example of what I mean with the soft-look processing (with levels adjustment as well)

    Very stunning lady too I might add!

    first portrait shots

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    Re: first portrait shots

    hey colin, the cloth was really a makeshift almost soft box, our cottage has the typical small rooms, so the flash on camera was to harsh, it did work a lot better than the original look.
    once all my gear i ordered comes then obviously will be much better the new ceiling on the studio is going on right now!

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    Re: first portrait shots

    ah posted in between
    yes i prefer the second one you done, the first was way to harsh..for me.
    thanks for the comment ill pas it on to her, she is not to keen on having photos done so itl help her...and me persuade her more

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    Re: first portrait shots

    Quote Originally Posted by darknight View Post
    hey colin, the cloth was really a makeshift almost soft box, our cottage has the typical small rooms, so the flash on camera was to harsh, it did work a lot better than the original look.
    once all my gear i ordered comes then obviously will be much better the new ceiling on the studio is going on right now!
    Hi Mark,

    The softness of light is purely a function of it's relative size - so if you just put the cloth over a flash it doesn't change the effective size and thus doesn't do a lot (although it could attenuate the flash output to the point where the flash has insufficient power in reserve to compensate, thus giving a difference in appearance). On the other hand, if the cloth is placed between the flash and the subject (with as close to the subject as possible being desireable) - and then firing the flash into that - then yes, that will soften the light a LOT.

    Is the studio ceiling black or white? (I painted mine black so there was less stray light bouncing around contaminating things).

  9. #9

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    Re: first portrait shots

    funny you ask, i was torn between white to bounce flash/light etc and black to cut all the glare etc down, and like you i have decided on black, my thoughts were, with boom or my high up lighting i would not need to bounce, and as you say will cut down on the unwanted light, easier to add than take away eh.
    yes the cloth on the flash was a great affair, had to be seen to be believed, was far enough away from the flash to make it softer..........plant sticks are wonderful things held in place with hair bands,lol.

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    Re: first portrait shots

    Quote Originally Posted by darknight View Post
    ah posted in between
    yes i prefer the second one you done, the first was way to harsh..for me.
    Yes - I wasn't happy with it either.

    thanks for the comment ill pas it on to her, she is not to keen on having photos done so itl help her...and me persuade her more
    This is something you'll come across time and time again photographing women. They're pretty much ALL extremely concerned about their looks - and pretty much ALL think that they need to lose weight - and pretty much ALL have never had a good photo taken of them (most will have previously been taken with point and shoot cameras with on-camera flash).

    So when I shoot young women in the studio we end up with a perfect storm of:

    - Young person who is concerned with their appearance

    - Is insecure about their looks

    - Is asked to turn up without makeup (initially, so we can get it applied correctly for photography)

    - In unfamiliar surroundings with unfamiliar people

    ... and have hundreds of extremely detailed photos taken of them

    Needless to say, the key to getting good shots starts LONG before I pick up a camera; a lot of work goes in to ensuring they're comfortable and relaxed (with briefings -- their music -- bringing along a friend -- me being goofy etc) (mind you, I'm pretty goofy anyway).

    But do it right, and you get shots like this ...

    first portrait shots

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    Re: first portrait shots

    ha ha ,lol, like it , the extremely detailed ones.....youre right on all counts, question, i see there you are using a black backdrop as well, im trying to get a black one as well as i think it improves the softness of the image, i have white walls at the moment, and again stops the unwanted light..true?

  12. #12

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    Re: first portrait shots

    Quote Originally Posted by darknight View Post
    funny you ask, i was torn between white to bounce flash/light etc and black to cut all the glare etc down, and like you i have decided on black, my thoughts were, with boom or my high up lighting i would not need to bounce, and as you say will cut down on the unwanted light, easier to add than take away eh.
    Good choice. Ceiling-bounced light ("office lighting") isn't at all flattering, and has no place in a studio in my opinion.


    yes the cloth on the flash was a great affair, had to be seen to be believed, was far enough away from the flash to make it softer..........plant sticks are wonderful things held in place with hair bands,lol.
    Whatever works! On one occasion we had a problem with bra straps showing that was cured with the model actually wearing 2 bras ... held in place with duck tape!

    One of the first things you'll need for your studio is a snoot for the flash head -- and a diffuser/stand that you can use to bounce light through. Folks will say "don't use hard light on women", but it's a rule that can be broken

    first portrait shots

    first portrait shots

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    Re: first portrait shots

    Quote Originally Posted by darknight View Post
    question, i see there you are using a black backdrop as well, im trying to get a black one as well as i think it improves the softness of the image, i have white walls at the moment, and again stops the unwanted light..true?
    The backdrop and the subject are two completely different light zones (or rather they should be) - so it won't affect the softness of the image at all - but it does have a dramatic effect on the image presentation none-the-less.

    I normally use a black background (black seamless paper that's unlit) for hard-light shots (typically using a snoot as a key light) or when photographing models with light coloured hair. You can also shoot models in dark clothing against a black background, but you typically need a couple more lights called "kicker" lights (or separation lights) to help separate them from the background (although you typically achieve that anyway by putting more light on them, which in turn raises their black clothing to a deep gray).

    eg:

    first portrait shots

    But to answer the question - personally - I have white studio walls (simply because I don't the studio to seem like a morgue when we walk in), but I have black curtains that I can draw around if bounced light is causing a problem. From a purely technical point of view I'd prefer black -- it's just not good psychologically.

    first portrait shots

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    Re: first portrait shots

    Hi Collin, impressive studio. What would be the size of this room? Is it a separate building or an attached garage?

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    Re: first portrait shots

    nice pictures those colin, and lovely studio, and yea see what you mean, all black would be a bit like a morgue..

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    Re: first portrait shots

    Quote Originally Posted by darknight View Post
    thanks for the reply colin, as said these were only shot indoors with standard indoor wall lights, and only a soft cloth over the flash, the idea with the first one was not a sharp image at all, but a really soft one, with some blur/out of focus look. Also our old cottage has yellow walls which reflected obviously the yellow tone, so rather that fight against what i didn't have i tried to enhance that in bringing a warmer tone
    I think they are pretty good really considering the conditions and aren't by any means hackneyed apart from maybe the b&w back shot.. Has been done any number of times, Similar garments too. No facebook smiles though.

    I had a quick play with the 1st shot. An auto colour balance will decide to remove some yellow. You might want to increase the gamma a bit. 1.1 ? Contrast and brightness too. Only the photographer knows what they want the final shot to look like.

    I haven't done any studio type work for a long long time. What I found with the usual flash set ups is that modelling lights are needed really. No problem if a studio is hired. Bounce flash is unpredictable and of no use with coloured walls. A much cheaper alternative is ordinary photo lighting. A lot can be done with 2 lights. One ideally on a boom stand so that it can catch hair correctly more easily and model the subject. The 2nd light is then used to fill in and remove shadows. Usual problem is leaving nose shadows and shadows at the side of the face due to hair or how the lights are set up. Cameras have an odd ability to show these rather well. At the other extreme if the fill in light is too powerful the shot may as well have been taken with a flash gun. Another set up often used in cheap studio's is a single brolly flash. Higher than subject and off axis and usually behind the photographer. Should be possible to do the same thing with a ttl type flash gun with a diffuser. Also to use a reflector board to direct some diffuse light onto the subject.. The subject can be at the extremes of the flash lighting to allow that.

    -

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    Re: first portrait shots

    Quote Originally Posted by wlou View Post
    Hi Collin, impressive studio. What would be the size of this room? Is it a separate building or an attached garage?
    Hi Louise,

    The studio is 10m x 8m - it's 2x 10m x 4m storage units with the adjoining wall removed. There's also a 3rd shed that contains a lounge & office (for changing and administration), and a small workshop when I manufacture frames for canvas prints).

    It's a pretty old photo -- I've added a lot more items since then (and wanting more!).

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