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Thread: Meet Ellie

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    Meet Ellie

    Hi All,

    Just putting the new studio "through it's paces" to iron out some of the kinks - so rounding up kids friends as usual!

    Canon 1Ds3 - EF135mm/F2 @ F10 @ ISO 100 - 3x Elinchrom RX1200 heads with softboxes - Sekonic metering.

    Meet Ellie

  2. #2

    Re: Meet Ellie

    Nice lighting, Colin, and a good composition.

    Your studio set up - how large is it? Are you just doing head and shoulder shots, or can you do family groups etc? I only ask as I was thinking of this myself. I have a large free room, but not full studio size.

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    Re: Meet Ellie

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Nice lighting, Colin, and a good composition.

    Your studio set up - how large is it? Are you just doing head and shoulder shots, or can you do family groups etc? I only ask as I was thinking of this myself. I have a large free room, but not full studio size.
    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for the kind words

    I should be able to do pretty much anything in there - it's 8m wide by 10m deep with 3m headroom sloping down to 2.5m at the "shooting" end. It'll be doubling as a gallery for me - I'll be able to display 25 canvas prints around the walls, which should be good for sales.

    At the moment most of the "infrastructure" is complete (most of the equipment etc) - I'm just at the stage now where I need to shoot a few sessions to work out what else might be needed - just little thing like anchor points for attaching wires to hang things etc.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Meet Ellie

    Hi Colin,

    You didn't specifically ask for C&C, may I?

    Ok, thanks ...

    First let me admit that I was formally taught lighting once (upon a time).

    This was in a theory + practical 'crash course' in about 1981 +1 year. This was for TV studio/OB lighting, so the same issues of limited DR, fairly small sets and (largely in a TV studio) a need for overhead lights, but the principles remain the same; key, fill, rim, etc. I think we spent about a week on it The more I study people's efforts here, the more I seem to remember, or at least I think I do, so see if these comments on potential kinks make any sense. Apologies if my terminology is outdated or just plain wrong.

    Looking at the above shot, the pose with the forearms a tad better lit than the face, presumably because closer to 'the Key' distracts me slightly. I also wonder whether you used the softbox on the rear 'rim' light? I think a slightly 'harder' source there might work better to lift the hair line from the background, but the level is about right I think.

    Beyond that, they are (of course) technically perfect. In particular, this one avoids the feeling I have had with some other shots, that the eyes were just too sharp compared to the rest of the face and body.

    Discussion point:
    My only other thought is whether there is some 'golden exposure ratio' of face vs background plus other things in shot?
    I find with a shot where skin tone is going to be the brightest tone in shot, by some margin in this case, with the dark background, whether that should influence what the model wears. I feel you're not far off here; the white on the check shirt almost does it, but the coloured detailing distracts a little.

    I think what I am trying to say (quite badly) is that if the face is the brightest part and you 'push it' in Levels to be towards peak white, it can be too bright for human comfort, so, does there always(?) need to be something else in shot as a white point reference for the eye? However, I have a feeling the need for this diminishes with increasing background luminance levels. Maybe it's a contrast ratio between subject and background. Like any 'rule', there will be times when it can and should be broken.

    Wading well out of my depth now, but based on another hunch;
    This next thought could be connected with the above, perhaps because there is a strong suggestion of it being a naturally lit shot (does that mean not quite enough fill?), I then think "that's nice, what's lighting her?". You obviously cannot show a window, but I wondered whether one might be 'suggested' by some means; either a prop or perhaps a false shadow effect, but beware lest the shadow pattern cast distracts.

    Enough rambling for one morning I think, cheers,

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    Re: Meet Ellie

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the critique

    Good point about the arms; technically they were a touch closer, but I don't think that would have made any measureable difference (lights still about 6 or more feet away) - probably what "does it" is the fact that I toned down some hotspots on the face, whereas in reality I could probably have knocked a couple of tenths of a stop off the key light, and raised it a bit - either that or knock it back in PP. I just ordered a 40" LED TV today to use in the studio (via tethered shooting) so I'll be able to make better lighting evaluations on the fly. By the way, the image you see is uncropped.

    Soft boxes all around - I might have to experiment using a rim light or a snoot for better hair/background seperation (no rim lighting in this shot - just fill from the right, and additional fill from above.

    I didn't selectively sharpen the eyes, but I did use my old soften the skin with a masked & blurred duplicate layer at reduced opacity - and to be honest, I merged the layers with the opacity being set too high; Ellie has pretty perfect skin as one would expect in someone that young, so it's probably something I didn't need to do at all. So probably not so much a case of "oversharp eyes" as "overly soft skin".

    In terms of key/fill ratio, I think it was about 3:1 off memory, with the overhead strobe throwing out something similar.

    Traditionally I like pretty flat lighting (colleagues moan about my flat lighting style) - so I did asymetric lighting today, and you're saying it might be better more balanced ... might have to quote you on that to them Personally, I agree with what you're saying -- I don't mind asymetric lighting IF there is an obvious or implied light source (I think I got away with it here) - something I'll be working hard to fine tune though.

    No excuses, but to be honest, it was a bit of a rush job - kids were waiting, and not waiting very patiently!

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    Antonio Correia's Avatar
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    Re: Meet Ellie

    Excellent Colin

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    Re: Meet Ellie

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonio Correia View Post
    Excellent Colin
    Thanks Antonio

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    Re: Meet Ellie

    I don't know that I'm going to make sense, here, and you would do well to remember I closed my studio in 1958.

    I like this shot very much. However, . . . I'll explain:

    This shot is obviously posed. That is a given in this type of portraiture. The trick to such a shot is to get the personality of the subject to overpower the posing aspect. That you have done, except for the position of the hand. It is so strongly "held in place" that it re-emphasizes the fact that the shot is posed.

    If that is all I can find to pick at, you may assume that I think it is certainly excellent, leaning toward perfect. Well done, indeed.

    Pops

  9. #9

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    Re: Meet Ellie

    Thanks Pops

    I like to get my subjects laughing - so I take quite a "bracket" of shots so that we can pick the one(s) with the expressions we like best. On this occasion we had the hand everywhere from "propping up the head" to giving the old Vulcan "live long and prosper" sign; I had posed a more natural hand placement, but it "drifted" over time, and to be honest, I was only looking at the facial expressions when I picked my keeper (so that's a good lesson for me).

    I might choose another shot in the series with better hand placement

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