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Thread: Another go at Portraiture:

  1. #1

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    Another go at Portraiture:

    Grandpa to be is still trying his hand at capturing images of little ones. My model may be more static than the real ones but shooting at 1/250sec should do it.

    Is this image acceptable as a portrait?
    Any C&C much appreciated.

    Another go at Portraiture:

  2. #2
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Another go at Portraiture:

    Andre,
    The shot of your very cooperative model appears as though it may have been lit with on-camera direct flash. This results in somewhat harsh shadows falling to the image right.
    I would try bouncing my light and using a reflector of some type (business card or a commercially available reflector) to direct some of the light straight forward to reduce "Raccoon Eyes" caused by the bounced light being directed straight down from the ceiling.
    An off camera flash and an umbrella on a stand would also provide decent lighting but is not as portable as a flash attached to the camera (either hotshoe or on a bracket). That would be no problem when photographing an infant but, might be problematic when trying to capture images of a toddler or an older child.
    Unfortunately, here have been no infants or children for me to photograph for years, so I have no examples.
    Perhaps you can extrapolate from these dog portraits. Here is one done with a pair of studio flashes :
    Another go at Portraiture:
    This was my setup:
    Another go at Portraiture:

    However these were done by bouncing a single hotshoe mounted flash (Canon 550EX) modified with a Joe demb Flash Diffuser Pro...
    Another go at Portraiture:
    Another go at Portraiture:
    This is a convenient setup which would allow you to follow the kids as they become more mobile...

  3. #3
    Digital's Avatar
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    Re: Another go at Portraiture:

    Richard: you nailed those photos.

    Bruce

  4. #4

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    Re: Another go at Portraiture:

    Hi Richard,

    I really appreciate your comment and analogy.

    This effort is much in response to tips you gave me on shooting with flash. It was shot with on camera flash with a diffuser. To get the exposure to my liking I manipulated the flash to give me the intensity of light I wanted.

    The dark background was done on purpose, to have the face of the doll stand out. I was avoiding any harsh nose or chin shadows as are so common in most portraits. The shadow of the hand was no problem to me as it integrates with the dark part of the clothing.
    What is distracting in the image is the “red” blot in the right hand top corner and the three lighter spots on the left side of the dolls left arm. I am posting another shot, I think is much better.

    Would there be any difference between doggy portraiture and human portraiture, I believe so. The fur of a doggy is very important, especially to you, as that is an indication of the doggy’s health. In human portraiture the skin tone of the subject is the most important single factor to me. Get it wrong and it looks like you either shot your subject in a morgue or an Englishman on a South African beach in February.

    Deep shadows in the right areas should give more depth in the image. The more depth I can create in the image the more my main subject will stand out. How should I avoid having the image look flat?

    With the doggy shots the doggies look like they have been pasted onto the background. That does not matter in doggy shots. In human portraiture I do not want to paste my subject onto the background. In the second doggy shot you have the doggy “look out” of the frame, wrong composition for human portraiture, acceptable for doggies.

    Your “studio” setup will not work for human portraiture but for doggies it is a perfect setup.

    I am trying to get all of my subject in focus using a small aperture. I do not want the eyes in focus whilst the ears are OOF. I want my subject to be completely detached from the background. A shadow cast by a nose makes the nose look much bigger than it is – and humans hate that!

    Shooting with a single flash, achieving my objective to get an acceptable portrait, under demanding shooting conditions is not going to be easy. If my idea of portraiture is not acceptable I will have to return to the drawing board many a time but it will be worth the effort.

    Thank you for your input, again I have learned form it.


    Another go at Portraiture:

  5. #5

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    Re: Another go at Portraiture:

    Andre, your attempt is a bit too harsh looking, especially for a child's portrait. The dark shadow in the back does nothing to improve it. You could have placed a reflector(even if it's an inexpensive piece of foam board) on the right to throw some light back at your subject. I think Richard's setup is excellent.....even if he is shooting furry subjects. I prefer to see softer portraits of babies and children. Even to the point of using indirect natural light coming in a window...Just my opinion and personal preferences for children's photography. The effect you have used could be wonderful on different subject matter....
    Last edited by Nat; 8th June 2013 at 04:24 PM.

  6. #6

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    Re: Another go at Portraiture:

    AB26 --

    I like the effect --as a piece of photo art. It's not appropriate for advertising this particular doll. I like how it really draws attention to her face and eyes. An interesting and dramatic Chiaroscuro effect.

  7. #7

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    Re: Another go at Portraiture:

    Richard --

    I can't help it. You could post the worst photos of dogs and if they were slightly in focus, I'd love them. These, of course, make me totally jealous!

  8. #8
    Loose Canon's Avatar
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    Re: Another go at Portraiture:

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    Your “studio” setup will not work for human portraiture but for doggies it is a perfect setup.
    Hi Andre!

    Richard is actually using a form of “clamshell” lighting. Very common in glamour photography and a very acceptable way to light human portraiture. I also prefer it on doggies as it brings out the fur. It is a flatter type of lighting.

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    Deep shadows in the right areas should give more depth in the image. The more depth I can create in the image the more my main subject will stand out.
    If this is what you are looking for Andre, maybe you might consider bringing your subject away from the background. The hard shadow “attaches” her to the background rather than pops her out of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    How should I avoid having the image look flat?
    You might have a look at this thread and see if you get any ideas.

  9. #9
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Another go at Portraiture:

    Andre - why don't you start with "classical" 45/45 lighting; off camera lighting that comes in at a 45° angle from overhead and located at a 45° angle from the front of your subject, i.e. off camera lighting. A cheap light stand, pivot head and umbrella (mine can be used as a shoot through or bounce) with a Speedlight is all you really need. If you need fill light a piece of white foamcore coming in from 45° from the other side of your subject will work as a fill light. I don't remember what you shoot, but if your camera has a built in flash, use it to trigger the off-camera slave.

    You might also want to get your subject away from the wall a bit more; 2m is not a bad distance as that will get the shadows to drop off

    You do want some shadows in the image; but subtle ones to give the subject's face dimensionality.

  10. #10

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    Re: Another go at Portraiture:

    Quote Originally Posted by ggt View Post
    An interesting and dramatic Chiaroscuro effect.
    Thank You Gretchen. I had to Google that word. Is that what it is called: Chiaroscuro.
    All I wanted was to get that deep moody warm feeling.

    You don't think it is all that crappy?

  11. #11

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    Re: Another go at Portraiture:

    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Canon View Post
    Richard is actually using a form of “clamshell” lighting. Very common in glamour photography and a very acceptable way to light human portraiture. I also prefer it on doggies as it brings out the fur. It is a flatter type of lighting.
    Hi Terry,

    I really appreciate Richard’s setup. For the doggy shots it is perfect but for what I am trying to achieve it will not work. I do not want “flat” images!

    Thank you for the link – I am going to try it.

  12. #12

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    Re: Another go at Portraiture:

    Thank you for all the suggestions. It brings me closer to do what I really wish to do.

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