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Thread: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

  1. #1

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    studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    .

    studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Just got my 1st chinese flash YN560II. Now learning how to use it. Where to put it/aim at subject, learn the flash settings. How to use the plastic diffuser, the small tape-on softbox.
    ( Thanks for the CiC Portraiture lessons by Colin and advice from Bill, and others)

    My grandkiddie, Pam.
    Nikon D300/55-200mm @165mm. focus mode:AF-C, used AF-On button. flash: Manual @128power. from my left side with plastic diffuser. Soft window light from my back. Exposure mode: Manual. f/5.6, 1/80 ISO1600. spot metering. pp/viewNX2, gimp, Helicon Filter

    [ note: Must position subject with window light coming from her side to get shadow on opposite side of face. ]
    Last edited by nimitzbenedicto; 21st June 2013 at 03:51 AM.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Victor

    I am not well qualified to comment on portraiture, but my thoughts on your image are:
    • The effect of the flash at the left and the window light behind seem to have cancelled each other out. What I mean is that the light on Pam's face is very flat, with no shadow to help give form and definition.
    • However, the flash light has had an impact in terms of throwing a shadow of her head on to the wall behind her. I think you needed to get more distance between her and the wall so that this would not happen.

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Victor - a couple of thoughts (in line with Donald's comments).

    1. Position your subject well away from the wall. 2m / 6ft would be a good minimum. That softens and diffuses the shadow on the wall.

    2. Your flash is set too low; you can see this from the position of the shadow behind her. The classicial position for a light is 45 from the front of your subject and shining down at 45.

    3. As you are using a combination of natural light and flash, you are creating a mixed light solution and there seems to be an oranage colour cast to your image. You should either gel your flash - I would try 1/4 or 1/2 CTO or gel the window (a bit tougher, but it has been done with CTB gel).

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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Hi Victor,

    I think Manfred is missing a point here. The flash was mounted on the camera and it is impossible to get the suggested angles.

    The WB seems a bit off. Try Flash WB in camera settings.

    I think if you bounce the flash you should get better results. What I have experimented with is to set the strength of the flash and then change the lighting by adjusting aperture. Try it.

    Does that Nikon like the YN?

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Andre - that was my point. There is no way that the flash should be mounted on the camera. It should be off camera (with his small softbox, preferably on a light stand). The light is simply not flattering; and while I agree with the bounce (which I use in informal situations), it is not the greatest light for head shots.

    Part of the white balance issue appears to be the mixed lighting; daylight and flash. CTO gel on the flash is the best solution.

  6. #6

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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Victor

    I am not well qualified to comment on portraiture, but my thoughts on your image are:
    • The effect of the flash at the left and the window light behind seem to have cancelled each other out. What I mean is that the light on Pam's face is very flat, with no shadow to help give form and definition.
    • However, the flash light has had an impact in terms of throwing a shadow of her head on to the wall behind her. I think you needed to get more distance between her and the wall so that this would not happen.
    Yes. there's lack of contrast and/or shadow to give more definition.
    Will have to find good placement of flash to get this effect.
    Make space between subject and wall behind her.

    Thanks Donald, will keep your comments in mind for my
    next shoot with flash.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Victor - a couple of thoughts (in line with Donald's comments).

    1. Position your subject well away from the wall. 2m / 6ft would be a good minimum. That softens and diffuses the shadow on the wall.

    2. Your flash is set too low; you can see this from the position of the shadow behind her. The classicial position for a light is 45 from the front of your subject and shining down at 45.

    3. As you are using a combination of natural light and flash, you are creating a mixed light solution and there seems to be an oranage colour cast to your image. You should either gel your flash - I would try 1/4 or 1/2 CTO or gel the window (a bit tougher, but it has been done with CTB gel).

    It should be off camera (with his small softbox, preferably on a light stand). The light is simply not flattering; and while I agree with the bounce (which I use in informal situations), it is not the greatest light for head shots.

    Part of the white balance issue appears to be the mixed lighting; daylight and flash. CTO gel on the flash is the best solution.
    Hi Manfred, As always I minutely go through your
    posts to extract the best info from you.

    I Will position my subject away from the wall.
    Place flash higher and get if off-camera. Gel? will research more on this.
    Will experiment with "bounced flash" to find out the best placement/results


    Thanks Manfred.

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    Hi Victor,

    The WB seems a bit off. Try Flash WB in camera settings.

    I think if you bounce the flash you should get better results. What I have experimented with is to set the strength of the flash and then change the lighting by adjusting aperture. Try it.

    Does that Nikon like the YN?
    Hi Andre, I agree with your comments and will take
    them into consideration .

    I'll have to experiment more on WB. I set WB to cloudy
    to avoid getting a "flash whitish" look.

    Also experiment with "bounce flash" as per your suggestion.

    I feel YN is gonna give the CaNikon speedlights a run for ther money.
    I've read so many good reviews of Yong Nuo!

    Thanks Andre

  7. #7
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Victor - here is a short article on gels in the Strobist. My Nikon SB900 came with some but they are fairly inexpensive and available at any good camera / video store. CTO (Colour Temperature Orange) is the one most commonly used. If the natural light is "warm", it matches your flash output more closely to ambient light and reduces / eliminates the mixed light look.

    You just tape the gell to your flash head.

    http://strobist.blogspot.ca/2006/03/...o-correct.html
    Last edited by Manfred M; 22nd June 2013 at 02:48 PM. Reason: Added link

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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Victor - here is a short article on gels in the Strobist. My Nikon SB900 came with some but they are fairly inexpensive and available at any good camera / video store. CTO (Colour Temperature Orange) is the one most commonly used. If the natural light is "warm", it matches your flash output more closely to ambient light and reduces / eliminates the mixed light look.

    You just tape the gell to your flash head.

    http://strobist.blogspot.ca/2006/03/...o-correct.html
    Hi Manfred,

    Will check out that Colour Temperature Orange next week at Samy's photo shop/Fairfax blvd so I can learn how to use it.

    And thanks for the link, now reading it.

    Have a nice weekend!

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    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    You will probably need something like 1/4 CTO for what you are doing. You don't want to overdo the correction. I have a set of gels that run from 1/8 - 1 CTO.

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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    For a different but very simple and useful lighting technique...

    http://www.strobist.blogspot.ca/2013...a-veritas.html

    Keep experimenting! Flash is so wonderful when you get the hang of it.

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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by blakemcguire View Post
    For a different but very simple and useful lighting technique...

    http://www.strobist.blogspot.ca/2013...a-veritas.html

    Keep experimenting! Flash is so wonderful when you get the hang of it.
    Hi Blake,

    Hey, awesome!

    Very practical hallway/room studio. In-between trailers? hmmmm......
    Anyways, the ideas and layouts in that blog sure are great .

    Will experiment his ideas and try them out.

    Thanks

    [ Manfred also gave similar link to some cool ideas too. ]

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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Andre - that was my point. There is no way that the flash should be mounted on the camera.
    Hi Manfred,

    If I do not have the facility to use flash off camera is there any way that it is possible to shoot flattering portraits with on camera flash? Perhaps it is one of those cases “if you are lacking the tools you will not get the job done”?

    I got myself a fair sized white reflector to experiment with some suggestions made by Terry (loosecanon). My biggest problem seems to be the model. My wife hates it when I take shots of her. She recons I make her look fat. Telling her cameras do not lie is not very helpful either.

    Will have to use some dolls again.

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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    .
    Hi Everybody, This one's no flash. Ambient light under the trees. This caused "greenish tint" on her skin.
    Have to be careful too about subject placement because of blotches of sunlight on her face.

    studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013


    Li Green @ McArthur park. Fri 21Jun2013

    studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013



    studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013



    studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013


    Nikon D300. 55-200mm. manual mode: f5.6, 1/80, ISO200. WB=shade.
    pp/viewNX2, Helicon Filter 5

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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    .
    ambient light. shade under trees. McArthur park, L.A. 27June2013

    studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Nikon D300. 55-200mm @110mm .
    Manual Exposure:f/4.5, 1/250, ISO 200. WB:shade. Spot Metering:
    pp/veiwNX2, gimp, Helicon Filter 5

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Hi Victor,

    The set posted on the 24th June all look very contrasty and with crushed dark tones
    It is possible you were using a laptop screen, viewed at the wrong angle, which led you to set the black point incorrectly.

    Unfortunately, the one posted today suffers some hard edged cloning in her hair (on both sides of her face) which is quite noticeable.

    In short; while your shooting is improving, I believe you should conentrate a bit on PP skills to make progress.

    Hope that helps,

  16. #16

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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Victor,

    The set posted on the 24th June all look very contrasty and with crushed dark tones
    It is possible you were using a laptop screen, viewed at the wrong angle, which led you to set the black point incorrectly.

    Unfortunately, the one posted today suffers some hard edged cloning in her hair (on both sides of her face) which is quite noticeable.

    In short; while your shooting is improving, I believe you should conentrate a bit on PP skills to make progress.

    Hope that helps,
    HI Dave.

    I guess you're right my laptop screen angle must've been off.
    [ making adjustments now. ]

    Yep. now that you pointed it out, those are awful cloning done on her hair.
    Will strive to improve cloning technique.
    Maybe adjust opacity down and improve brush technique.
    [ Altho tried out varying eyeglass prescriptions, the eye-doctor said the cataract procedures I had irrevocably affected my eyesight. ]

    Really appreciate your critique Dave.

    Thanks.

    Victor

  17. #17
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    Hi Manfred,

    If I do not have the facility to use flash off camera is there any way that it is possible to shoot flattering portraits with on camera flash? Perhaps it is one of those cases “if you are lacking the tools you will not get the job done”?

    I got myself a fair sized white reflector to experiment with some suggestions made by Terry (loosecanon). My biggest problem seems to be the model. My wife hates it when I take shots of her. She recons I make her look fat. Telling her cameras do not lie is not very helpful either.

    Will have to use some dolls again.
    Andre - it does depend on what you are shooting. If you are doing candid shots, you are kind of stuck with on camera or near camera work (holding the slave speedlight in one hand and the camera with trigger in the other).

    For higher quality work, I personally find that on-camera flash is very limiting, just because you are stuck with light coming out of a small light source (the flash) and it is coming straight along the optical axis of the camera. Bounce flash, off the ceiling or wall takes care of both of these issues, but adds complications. The wall has to be neutral (white is best) or you will introduce a colour cast. Control can be tricky, as you are fighting against drop off. A cheap light stand, flash adaptor and umbrella are, in my opinion, the easiest and cheapest way to go for off-camera flash.

    My wife and daughters tend to not like posing for me, but every so often I convince them and try to make the most of the opportunity.

  18. #18
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    Victor - laptops are usually a fairly mediocre tool for postprocessing just because most of them have terrible screens. Laptops are built for light weight and long battery life, and pretty well everything else suffers. My laptops cost was higher end of mid-range (pushing $1000) and it cost me less money than the screen I use on my desktop for PP work.

    You might want to consider getting a target (I use the xrite color checker passport) to help you with your colour balance. The colour balance is off and the images just look flat and muddy on your shots from the 24th. Take a test shot or two with the target and reshoot with it every time you change locations; that will at least remove that variable for you.

  19. #19
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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    I like image #3. Beautiful photo of a beautiful woman.

  20. #20
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    Re: studying how to do headshots/portraits 2013

    I use diffusers on my flash that is mounted on the camera. I have a Gary Fong (looks like Tupperware) that I have used when photographing people with good results.
    With this system you are basically bouncing the light from the flash; however you do not have to depend on the ceiling or wall in some cases. Is anybody familiar with the Gary Fong system?
    I agree that the best light to use is a off camera lighting setup. As previously mentioned, 45 degrees in front of your subject, 45 degrees looking down on the subject.

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