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Thread: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

  1. #1

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    C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    I finally got my camera setup to do off-camera flash - Here are the first two decent "studio" shots that I came out with. [Brutal] C&C is encouraged - I'm still learning!

    Best result from attempt/session one:
    C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits
    Canon 5dmkII, EF F/4L 24-105mm @ 58mm, F/4, ISO 400, 1/6sec

    I had "forgotten" a lot of things I knew better about - I learned a lot by actually doing rather than reading from this shoot.
    - Used white ballance card I picked up
    - Used a tripod
    - Shutter speed dosn't control exposure when using flash (doh!). I ended up with edge problems with the slow shutter speed
    - I didn't have a solid color background (I cheaply masked the entire image)
    - I diffused the flash, but didn't bounce it
    - I used way too high of an ISO
    - I left the house lights on - The shadows are the wrong color temp (over 2000K off)
    - I was manually focusing, autofocus was having issues for some reason
    - The small apeture left most of the image blurry, masking was difficult and more agressive sharpening was needed

    Best result from attempt/session two:
    C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits
    Canon 5dmkII, EF F/4L 24-105mm @ 105mm, F/8, ISO 100, 1/100sec

    Here's what I did different from the first shot:
    - I brought the shutter speed up to eliminate bluring and to help lower the luminance of the background
    - I bought a muslin kit and used a black muslin
    - I bounced the flash. This left the image with some nice soft light, but it is still unfocused and rather flat
    - Autofocused instead of manual
    - Brought the iso down to reduce noise
    - Shut the house lights off so there was no yellow shadows
    - Closed the apeture to F/8 so I had a super-sharp image, and a larger DOF
    - Used the 18% grey card on the opposite side of my white card to dial in the exposure
    - Used a longer focal length to compress the image for less distortion

    Any comments, critique, suggestions are encouraged
    Last edited by KentDub; 1st November 2009 at 01:41 AM. Reason: Added apature settings to image descriptions

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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Hi Kent,

    Here begines a journey ...

    - A personal thing - as a rule I'm not a fan of white backgrounds - not sure how others feel about them.

    - I know you know this - but others may not so I'll mention it anyway. Just because you're shooting with a flash, it doesn't necessarily mean that shutterspeed isn't important. It's more accurate to say that it isn't important from an exposure point of view if the subject is illuminated solely by flash/strobe. Reason I mention this is that we don't want people thinking that they can ignore shutterspeed when the flash/strobe is only performing a fill-flash (or similar) function.

    - It's not usually necessary to turn off the houselights - if the subject is lit solely by flash/strobe than you'll normally have your camera set to X-sync speed (or whatever a strobe will work with) - usually 1/125th to 1/250th and at a typical aperture of F5.6 to F8 ambient light just doesn't get a look in. Easy easy easy way to test is to just take a shot with the flash/strobes disabled and see if you get a black frame. Usually ISO 100 (Canon) or 200 (Nikon) - no need for anything more. Also - if you DON'T have house/moddeling lights on then your AF will struggle big time (and you'll trip over things) (and make your model nervous!).

    - Put the camera in manual (exposure, not AF!) - it'll make your life a LOT easier.

    - If you're bouncing the light then your grey card is essential because you're lighting the subject with light that's the same colour as the walls and ceiling. A much better idea is to splashout and get a couple of white shoot-through umbrellas - you can control the light beautifully with them, depending on how close you put the flash head to the material. Black reflector type umbrellas are far more difficult to control because they spray light EVERYWHERE.

  3. #3

    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Must confess I've never done a studio type shot with speedlites before. I either use my cheapo studio lights at home or the Elinchrom stuff at the camera club. If you are shooting under 1/100s you can hand-hold - the flash fires at about 1/1000s or shorter. If you are also using hot lights (like strong room lights) they may register in the exposure. But if they are not bright enough the flash will need to carry the full exposure - for studio lights that's not a problem, but with speedlites they may not have enough power.
    If you want a nice soft light from the speedlite, use a Gary Fong Lightsphere diffuser, or similar, and mount the flash off-camera if you can. That way you get a softer side-light effect.

    A striped shirt is very eye-catching. Perhaps a plainer top would have worked better, and go in closer to cover more of the head and shoulders. He's a nice-looking guy, we don't need to see all of his shirt. And do you see how his left arm looks very large compared to his head? (shot #2)

    Use manual mode, and use a light meter if you have one.

    Good effort for first try.

    PS Cheap studio lights are now very cheap. This UK company are doing an Elinchrom studio starter kit of two very good lights and accessories for £500 ($800). http://www.warehouseexpress.com/buy-...4-kit/p1017663

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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Thank you both for your comments! I really appriciate it

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    A personal thing - as a rule I'm not a fan of white backgrounds - not sure how others feel about them.
    I do like the white backgrounds, but not on that shot. My mistake was putting a dark subject on a white background - had he been wearing something much lighter, I'm sure it would have turned out better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern
    It's not usually necessary to turn off the houselights
    It may have been because I was using the flash in ETTL (Camera was in full manual), but it triggered the flash as a primary light source with the house lights acting as a fill light. I still havn't had enough time to fully play with using the flash in manual mode.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern
    Put the camera in manual (exposure, not AF!) - it'll make your life a LOT easier.
    It was! The first shot I was just way off on my settings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern
    A much better idea is to splashout and get a couple of white shoot-through umbrellas - you can control the light beautifully with them, depending on how close you put the flash head to the material.
    I ordered one last week online - it'll be here sometime this week. I was too anxious to shoot something I couldn't wait!

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern
    Also - if you DON'T have house/moddeling lights on then your AF will struggle big time (and you'll trip over things) (and make your model nervous!).
    My second shoot I couldn't see the subject through the viewfinder at all! The only times I could see him is when my flash kicked out its AF assist beams (which worked very well btw).

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen
    If you are shooting under 1/100s you can hand-hold - the flash fires at about 1/1000s or shorter.
    Thanks, I'll give that a try. My subject was getting frusted with me either asking him to move or when I kept fiddling with the tripod. I got one of those neat level things that goes on the hotshoe, but can't use it when the flash controller is mounted. I guess leveling isn't important for these types of shots - especially with a solid background.

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen
    If you are also using hot lights (like strong room lights) they may register in the exposure. But if they are not bright enough the flash will need to carry the full exposure - for studio lights that's not a problem, but with speedlites they may not have enough power.
    I ordered a set of "cold" lights -- daylight ballanced florescent bulbs. The kit comes with two softboxes that each have five bulbs (total light 1000w tungsten equivilant per softbox) - and a hair light softbox on a boom (275w tungsten equivilant). I chose to get these for three reasons: 1) I found it extremely difficult to visualize what the flash would look like, 2) It was cheaper than getting another speedlight or studio strobe, and 3) I can use them with my video cameras (very important to me)

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen
    A striped shirt is very eye-catching. Perhaps a plainer top would have worked better, and go in closer to cover more of the head and shoulders.
    I was hopping that the stripes would provide some lines to help guide the viewers eyes up to the subjects face. I do see what you are talking about though - they are very prominate in the shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen
    And do you see how his left arm looks very large compared to his head? (shot #2)
    I see it now, thank you! I didn't notice this at all while shooting. Do you think it is because of the perspective, or because his shirt is perhaps too loose fitting?

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen
    Use manual mode, and use a light meter if you have one.
    I've been in full manual on the camera (ETTL on the flash). I have a light meter on my wishlist - they're expensive little buggers.

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen
    Good effort for first try.
    Thank you! I hope to get even better as I figure out what I'm doing. So much to think about and do with just the equipment -- hard to remember I have to tell the subject what to do too!

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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    Thank you both for your comments! I really appriciate it
    No worries - that's what they pay us the "big bucks" for

    I do like the white backgrounds, but not on that shot. My mistake was putting a dark subject on a white background - had he been wearing something much lighter, I'm sure it would have turned out better.
    It's all about colour contrast, although I find good backgrounds one of the most difficult parts of portraiture.

    It may have been because I was using the flash in ETTL (Camera was in full manual), but it triggered the flash as a primary light source with the house lights acting as a fill light. I still havn't had enough time to fully play with using the flash in manual mode.
    ETTL is fine - but - if you're in manual mode you still have to set your shutterspeed high enough to remove the ambient light or ETTL will only use the flash to "pick up the difference", which is not what you want.

    It was! The first shot I was just way off on my settings.
    I don't know what your setup is but if you're using a single speedlight on camera or triggering with an ST-E2 then set the camera to 1/250th or 1/200th (whatever X-Sync speed is for your camera) - ISO to 100 and aperture to F5.6 (or there abouts). Have enough ambient light to be able to see clearly what you're doing and to allow the AF to focus quickly and accurately. So long as the ambient bulbs aren't visible in the shot then they won't affect the exposure. If you're flash is on camera then - as Rob suggested - get a Gary Fong Lightsphere. Remember though, that if you're not bouncing the light then the further the light from the subject, the harsher it will be; that's why shoot through umbrellas - just out of shot - will give you the softest light.

    My second shoot I couldn't see the subject through the viewfinder at all! The only times I could see him is when my flash kicked out its AF assist beams (which worked very well btw).
    No need to shoot in the dark! Speedlight duration is (off memory) in the region of 1/2000th; 1/250th @ F5.6 @ ISO 100 is NOT going to let a lot of ambient light in in normal circumstances.

    My subject was getting frusted with me either asking him to move or when I kept fiddling with the tripod.
    You don't necessarily need a tripod - hand holding is much easier in most cases. Don't worry - camera shake doesn't come into it with an effective shutterspeed of 1/2000th.

    I got one of those neat level things that goes on the hotshoe, but can't use it when the flash controller is mounted. I guess leveling isn't important for these types of shots - especially with a solid background.
    Crop and rotate in PP

    I ordered a set of "cold" lights -- daylight ballanced florescent bulbs.
    From an exposure point of view this works fine - the only downside that I find is that the bright lights can cause subjects to squint a little and it makes their pupils constrict.

    I've been in full manual on the camera (ETTL on the flash). I have a light meter on my wishlist - they're expensive little buggers.
    They certainly speed things up (I use one) - but - at the end of the day (a) you can only use it in full manual (because with ETTL the power from each shot is litely to be different each time), and (b) because of (a), your only control over the exposure is to use FEC (Flash Exposure Compensation). So great in a full manual setup, but by no means essential.

    hard to remember I have to tell the subject what to do too!
    Collect a few dozen images from models websites and get an idea of what poses work. One of my favourites is Marliese Leitner.

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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    But if they are not bright enough the flash will need to carry the full exposure - for studio lights that's not a problem, but with speedlites they may not have enough power.
    Not sure what Kent is using, but I'm currently using a pair of 580EX IIs, which can pretty much nuke anything. Shooting into a shoot-through umbrella just out of frame they'd be at something like 1/8th power. The biggest issue is with recycle times if you're trying to "machine gun" the session to freeze action shots (unless you're using something like a CP-E4) high-voltage accelerator.

    The biggest issue I have with studio lights is that your limited to around 1/125th which creates problems outside if you're trying to mix ambient light in. Also their recycle times generally suck

    Horses for courses I guess.

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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    I purchased two modeling books - still getting through them. One is for "normal people", the other is for actual models. I would like to gain the experience where I can get a few amature models and try out glamour or fashion photography.

    I did get the ST-E2, but do not own the CP-E4. I plan to use the 580EX-II speedlight when I am on location with an umbrella - and use the lighting setup when at home, or for a planned shoot. It will be interesting to try and combine the speedlight and continuous lighting - they're both daylight ballanced so it should work (Actually I think the 580EX-II had a limited ability to adjust its color tempeture).

    I did have a few times that the speedlight failed to fire, with equal blame between LOS with the ST-E2 and recycle time. I never knew the CP-E4 existed -- on the wishlist now I forgot to add to the origional post (I will edit) - the first shot was at F/4, the second shot was at F/8. I am still in the process of learning how to correctly work with flashes - but I'm getting better with each session as I can look back and realize what I did wrong and what effects it had. You can easially tell this by looking at the drastic differences between camera settings between the first shoot and the second - the first I trusted the camera; the second, I trusted myself.

    Down the road (After I purchase a new lens... still have my eye on that EF 70-200mm F/2.8L) I will most likely pickup a second speedlight - they are a lot more portable that the continuous lighting set I purchased. If I remember correctly the radio poppers are compatible with the ST-E2s so if I go that route I won't lose out on that investment. All and all though, I got a hell of a lot of accessories for the price that one more 580EX-II would have cost me - and I am happy with all of it

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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    A couple of quite notes for you (tea time and the family are hassling me ... how unreasonable eh? )

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    (Actually I think the 580EX-II had a limited ability to adjust its color tempeture).
    It has a compensation to change the temp as battery voltages drop I believe; since the unit is fired from a voltage reserve of 380v that doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but that's just the way it is

    I did have a few times that the speedlight failed to fire, with equal blame between LOS with the ST-E2 and recycle time.
    The St-E2 is pretty foolproof inside; The 580EX II chews through batteries pretty agressively though. I run mine from an external lead acid battery.

    If I remember correctly the radio poppers are compatible with the ST-E2s so if I go that route I won't lose out on that investment.
    You'd be a brave man to run with them; I'd suggest sticking with the industry standard Pocket Wizards (Plus IIs if you're going to use manual output control, Mini TT1 / Flex TT5 is you want full ETTL inc HSS).

    PS: If you get a Sekonic lightmeter you can fit a module to many that also triggers PWs.

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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    A couple of quite notes for you (tea time and the family are hassling me ... how unreasonable eh? )
    I very much appriciate your time, Colin - whats why you get paid the big bucks

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    It has a compensation to change the temp as battery voltages drop I believe;
    So, if I understand - the color temp stays constant as the battery voltage drops? (As opposed to the voltage being changed to (as an extreme example) have the flash fire a 5000k vs 2500k burst of light?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    The 580EX II chews through batteries pretty agressively though. I run mine from an external lead acid battery.
    You do what?! A car battery ? How do you pull that off?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    You'd be a brave man to run with them; I'd suggest sticking with the industry standard Pocket Wizards (Plus IIs if you're going to use manual output control, Mini TT1 / Flex TT5 is you want full ETTL inc HSS).

    PS: If you get a Sekonic lightmeter you can fit a module to many that also triggers PWs.
    I thought the radio poppers were the main competitors to the pocket wizards. Infact, I read they beat out PW to market for full ETTL support. I have noticed that the Sekonic devices seem to all have compatibility with the PW system - a very attractive feature. I'm not looking for anything more advanced than my ST-E2 at the momment - but I'll be sure to post a thread when the time comes If I got a Sekonic lightmeter, wouldn't I be able to carry around the ST-E2 with me and just hit the pilot light button to meter the flashes?

  10. #10

    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    the mans long face! is surely blending well with the vertical frame secondly the catch light in the first pic is creating better effect than the catch light in the second pic! i love the stripes shirt the man is wearing in both the pic! i must try to remember to buy a couple like that! the photographer has shot this pic,in a way,which is making the face look longer than it really is! or is it really that long?.....i really cant get my mind of that long face(structaraly)! i prefer the softer light of the second pic to the harsher on the first pic.

  11. #11

    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by taken View Post
    the mans long face! is surely blending well with the vertical frame secondly the catch light in the first pic is creating better effect than the catch light in the second pic! i love the stripes shirt the man is wearing in both the pic! i must try to remember to buy a couple like that! the photographer has shot this pic,in a way,which is making the face look longer than it really is! or is it really that long?.....i really cant get my mind of that long face(structaraly)! i prefer the softer light of the second pic to the harsher on the first pic.
    His face looks so long because of the stripes in the shirt, which are mostly vertical. Horizontal stripes make a person look wider, vertical stripes make you look narrower. That's why I said the stripes don't work here.

    By going in closer you get to see his face better, and you lose some of the shirt stripe. I think his face looks wider in the close-up - no?

    C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits
    Last edited by carregwen; 1st November 2009 at 01:10 PM.

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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    I think these are great, specailly for first attempt and also because you acknowledged most of the problems yourself.

    While the debate about the dimentions of the face of the model and stripes is very interesting, it is sort of accidential to this picture. A different model and a different shirt/background and you will not have this problem.

    For me, the most challenging part of the portrait photography is getting the skin tones right and lighting in general and when you are doing it in a studio setting, people expect that those turn out to be just perfect, because the setting is so controlled. I think in both shots, the skin is overexposed on the left side (at least the way it is processed and posted here, may be it can be rescued in PP) and also as an additional comment, I think you need a backlight to make the subject distinct from the background.

    I think your model has a lot of character, definitely and interestingly much more than those pretty, symmetrical, flawless girls we usually see in portraits. I think the sort of messy hair adds to the character!

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Alis; 1st November 2009 at 11:21 PM.

  13. #13

    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by Alis View Post
    I think your model has a lot of character, definitely and interestingly much more than those pretty symmetrical flawless girls we usually see in portraits. Also I think the sort of messy hair adds to the character!

    Have to agree with that. We have been shooting attractive girls in our club studio recently, and TBH it gets boring. You want character and a different look.

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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    So, if I understand - the color temp stays constant as the battery voltage drops? (As opposed to the voltage being changed to (as an extreme example) have the flash fire a 5000k vs 2500k burst of light?
    That's the general idea, but it would only be a few degrees - nothing like 2500k.

    You do what?! A car battery ? How do you pull that off?
    Not all lead acid batteries are car batteries have a look at www.aljacobs.com to see what I use, although I'm waiting on some CP-E4s to speed things up even more.

    I thought the radio poppers were the main competitors to the pocket wizards.
    Lol - "competitior" is one word; a bit like a flyweight taking on a heavy weight in the boxing ring.

    Infact, I read they beat out PW to market for full ETTL support.
    They did it first, but PW did it a lot better. Let me just say that I wouldn't want to be owning Radio Popper shares right now.

    I have noticed that the Sekonic devices seem to all have compatibility with the PW system - a very attractive feature. I'm not looking for anything more advanced than my ST-E2 at the momment - but I'll be sure to post a thread when the time comes If I got a Sekonic lightmeter, wouldn't I be able to carry around the ST-E2 with me and just hit the pilot light button to meter the flashes?
    In theory if you wanted to be taking it off and on the camera with each lighting change to re-meter. Put it this way - I have both PWs and the ST-E2; I haven't used the ST-E2 in years, and probably never will again.

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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    His face looks so long because of the stripes in the shirt, which are mostly vertical. Horizontal stripes make a person look wider, vertical stripes make you look narrower. That's why I said the stripes don't work here.

    By going in closer you get to see his face better, and you lose some of the shirt stripe. I think his face looks wider in the close-up - no?
    C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits
    I agree, 100%.

    IMO, there is another issue, more subtle - the lighting is towards dead flat on his face and as such reduces the three dimensionality.

    We (should?) be attempting to reproduce / represent three dimensions?

    With a 2:1 or 3:1 Key /Fill . . . or an Hair Light or Side Kicker the (thin) face would have more substance and thus "appear" wider, also.

    BTW the crop carregwen supplied uses the left arm to cradle the Tight H&S and it bring the framing into thirds and also adheres to the other golden rule of portraiture . . . give the head / eye a negative space into which to face NOT come from.

    The shot really is, after all a loose H&S or “Bust Shot” – it is NOT a really good Half Shot with the arms in that pose, IMO.

    But hey rules are only there to be broken . . . but all up the tighter crop is way better and for many reasons, IMO.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 2nd November 2009 at 06:33 AM.

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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Thank you all for your responses.


    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen
    By going in closer you get to see his face better, and you lose some of the shirt stripe. I think his face looks wider in the close-up - no?
    I agree It's amazing how much a crop can change a picture.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alis
    I think these are great, specailly for first attempt and also because you acknowledged most of the problems yourself.
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Alis
    I think your model has a lot of character, definitely and interestingly much more than those pretty, symmetrical, flawless girls we usually see in portraits. I think the sort of messy hair adds to the character!
    I agree. It probebly has something to do with my inability to talk to pretty girls!

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    IMO, there is another issue, more subtle - the lighting is towards dead flat on his face and as such reduces the three dimensionality.
    I agree. This shot was taken from a single flash bounced off the ceiling.

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    the crop carregwen supplied uses the left arm to cradle the Tight H&S and it bring the framing into thirds and also adheres to the other golden rule of portraiture . . . give the head / eye a negative space into which to face NOT come from.
    H&S...?


    Well my lighting kit should arrive today -- I'll have some new shots up within a few days. I'll do my best to put into practice all of the suggestions -- Thanks!

  17. #17

    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Having just joined I will jump in at the deep end.

    I can't agree with your comment that the stripes make his face look longer. vertical stripes do tend to make people look slimmer but I have never found them making a face look longer, your model has that shaped face, even if you cover the bottom of the image it has no effect on the face. The closer cropped image is better IMO as too much shirt detracts from the purpose of the portrait.

    The lighting is a little flat but actually much better than one would expect from a single bounced flash, dark eye sockets usually result from bouncing the flash.

    With your new studio flash you will be in a better position to experiment with lighting effects and find you can shape the face any way you want it.

    I quite like the pose although leaning toward the camera can be a little more powerful and folding the arms works for some and not for others, but I would have folded the arms the other way and exposed the hand rather than bury it. (hands are a real task to pose properly).

    If this is a first attempt then I think you have done very well and from the comments you have had I am sure you have learned a great deal from it.

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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    Thank you all for your responses. H&S...?
    Sorry about the short hand – H&S means Head and Shoulders. (Pls. see below)##

    To expand on my point – I was saying that, if we wanted an Half Shot the arms are wrong, IMO - folded like that the arms have power – that power would be strengthened by the torso being more front on – perhaps only ¼ profile and the leading shoulder slightly dipped, perhaps.

    With the arms folded but shot in Half Profile, the impact and power is lessened almost lost.

    Moreover, the hands are quite a distraction especially as those stripes from the shirt lead the eye down to what really are distracting little patches of skin. I think it would have been better to roll the sleeves up and display the strength of the biceps and triceps, especially in the leading arm . . which leads to . . .

    The arms – if that is the natural position for the Subject to fold his arms then I would have posed that shot as a ¼ profile with the Right Shoulder leading (Right Shoulder closer to the camera).

    When the Subject’s arms are properly folded (which in the sample they are not), the Right Hand would be visible, sitting on the Left Bicep – If then taken as a ¼ Profile with the Right Shoulder Leading the viewer’s eye would be lead to the exposed and firm Right Hand and not an hand tucked away hiding.

    Exposed hands are generally powerful disclosed hands are generally weak.

    ***

    ## On the description of the “Shot”

    Perhaps outmoded now amongst many (Still) Photographers the Portrait was described by “Shot”:

    Head
    Head & Shoulders – “H&S” (sometimes Bust)
    Half
    Three Quarter
    Full (or Full Length)

    Then, for more description adjectives such as “tight”

    e.g.: Tight Half Shot – cropped nearer the ribs or bust – not at the waist . . . etc

    ***

    Additional stuff which comes to mind:

    Perhaps the most important element of understanding The Shot is its effect on DoF. For an in field, quite accurate approximation - all that is needed to be remembered are a few Apertures for each Shot, for both the Horizontal (Landscape) or Vertical (Portrait) Framing and DOF. I only know three: F/2.8, F/5.6 and F/8 – that’s enough.

    The same protocol applies in cinematography apropos accurate approximation for DoF.

    This theory is (was) taught in the courses that take a technical or “trade” approach to Photography, it seems missing from the courses which are more “artistic” and missing form many which are “Optimized for Digital” - which interestingly enough I noted as a descriptive in the advertising banner for a range of tripods in a camera store, last week.

    Interesting, yes?

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    Well my lighting kit should arrive today -- I'll have some new shots up within a few days. I'll do my best to put into practice all of the suggestions -- Thanks!
    One suggestion – though it will be difficult – use one light only for a week or so - - - get to know one light first and understand how to begin to manipulate light and shadow. ONE LIGHT first . . . hard to do – beneficial to you if you do so, IMO.


    Have a great day,

    WW


    Quote Originally Posted by MrTee View Post
    I can't agree with your comment that the stripes make his face look longer. vertical stripes do tend to make people look slimmer but I have never found them making a face look longer, your model has that shaped face, even if you cover the bottom of the image it has no effect on the face.
    I guess we’ll disagree then, but it is an optical illusion and keeping that in mind it is important to clear the head and bring nothing to the viewing when judging the “illusion” and A/B comparison does cloud the issue I think.



    Quote Originally Posted by MrTee View Post
    The lighting is a little flat but actually much better than one would expect from a single bounced flash, dark eye sockets usually result from bouncing the flash.
    I think the Flash might have been an Canon dedicate Flash and the little white plastic tongue sticking out – that gives a bit of head-on bounce Flash – I guess that because of the catch light’s definition. I further guess that the Flash was camera mounted and I guess that beacsue of the shadow from the nose on the Left Cheek – I am thinking that is from the bounce from the white Plastic tongue of the Flash.

    If I am correct (about the camera mounted Flash) then I suggest that although typical to rotate the camera counter clockwise when moving from Landscape to Portrait Orientation - for this image that was a mistake. It would have been better to rotate the camera clockwise, rendering the mounted Flash to camera Right and thus the Bounce Flash from the Tongue would have created depth throwing the nose shadow to the Right Cheek (i.e. BEHIND the nose)

    A slightly (only slightly) higher camera viewpoint would have benefitted.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrTee View Post
    I quite like the pose although leaning toward the camera can be a little more powerful and folding the arms works for some and not for others, but I would have folded the arms the other way and exposed the hand rather than bury it. (hands are a real task to pose properly).
    Yes I agree. I actually wrote my answer to KentDub, before reading any of your commentary, but after reading your contribution I thought that it would benefit the discussion to address some of your comments also.

    I also agree that hands are a task to pose, and I add that hands are a very important anatomical portion of the Subject to get correct – perhaps the most important next to the eyes.

    WW

  19. #19

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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    I think the Flash might have been an Canon dedicate Flash and the little white plastic tongue sticking out – that gives a bit of head-on bounce Flash – I guess that because of the catch light’s definition. I further guess that the Flash was camera mounted and I guess that beacsue of the shadow from the nose on the Left Cheek – I am thinking that is from the bounce from the white Plastic tongue of the Flash.

    If I am correct (about the camera mounted Flash) then I suggest that although typical to rotate the camera counter clockwise when moving from Landscape to Portrait Orientation - for this image that was a mistake. It would have been better to rotate the camera clockwise, rendering the mounted Flash to camera Right and thus the Bounce Flash from the Tongue would have created depth throwing the nose shadow to the Right Cheek (i.e. BEHIND the nose)
    The flash was off-camera - and what was what sparked this exercise (I had just recieved my ST-E2). The first shot was with the flash aimed directly at the subject with a plastic diffuser on it. The second shot was bounced - you nailed it though I did use white pastic pullout card to get the catch light. In both shots, the flash was no more than a couple feet from the camera - and tripod difficulties (hadn't figured out I needed a screwdriver to allow me to fully extend it) forced me to have the flash a lot lower than I would have liked.

    I suppose I was a little decieving in my PP. I found the dark shadow to the side of the nose very attention grabbing, so I dramatically diminished it. Very interesting about rotating the camera different directions to control which side the shadow goes on - I've never thought about it, great tip!

    I did find that posing him was difficult, especially without a seat or a prop. My two posing books mostly focus on women. The shot I selected to post here (#2) was the most natural looking shot. He didn't like it when I tried to have him put his hands on top of his arms instead of underneath. When you suggest rotating him to a 1/4 view - do you mean more square to the camera, or closer to a profile (torso wise)?

    Thanks!

  20. #20
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: C&C: My First attempt at "studio" portraits

    Quote Originally Posted by KentDub View Post
    The flash was off-camera . . . I did use white pastic pullout card to get the catch light.

    Ah! Thanks for the information. Sorry if you wrote all that before - I didn’t read the top of the thread - I just looked at your photos.

    Have fun with your new Flash gear . . .

    WW

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