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Thread: First Portrait Session suggestions

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Ann Arbor, MI USA
    Real Name

    First Portrait Session suggestions

    Hello, everyone. I usually lurk in the landscape and nature area, but I am always trying to expand my skills in other areas. These three pictures were the best from my reason foray into portraits. I bought a cheap black backdrop and some cheap studio lights and living room was a studio =) My two year old managed to hold still enough for me to get that close up of her eye (the strawberry was the ticket) and my wife was gracious enough and patient enough to let me torture her under the hot lights while I fiddle with my camera settings. I would be very happy if any of you experiences people could give me some suggestions or direction. I am pretty adept at PS and Nik software and used these to dodge/soften skin/sharpen etc. Thanks a bunch in advance! My biggest struggle was that my lights are apparently low powered which even at f2-f7 I was getting shutter speeds that were too slow 1/30th, 1/15th and even .5''. EEsh!

    First Portrait Session suggestions

    First Portrait Session suggestions

    First Portrait Session suggestions

  2. #2
    Moderator Manfred M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Ottawa, Canada
    Real Name
    Manfred Mueller

    Re: First Portrait Session suggestions

    Interesting first try. Now you know why strobes (speedlights or studio flash) are the preferred light source. You really do want to be shooting closer to f/11 and you need a lot more power to do that. I'm not sure what camera / lens combination you are using, but you do need to look at shooting with a longer focal length to reduce distortion of facial features.

    Image 1 - I would have shot that with either a white background or used a hair light to separate the subject from the background more. I would have also directed her to look straight ahead to centre her eyes more. I probably would not have cropped her ear either. I like the touch of red from her top. You might want to shine a bit of light in her eyes; the irises are a bit wide open.

    Image 2 - Lighting is flat. You really do want some facial shadows to create some interest. I'm not sure if I like the bit of the barette in your daughter's hair; a bit distracting. DoF you are already aware of. A longer lens would be nice as that strawberry looks huge compared to your daughter's mouth. You might want to darken up her eyebrows a bit in post.

    Image 3 - Interesting shot - centre the eye more (if you can get a 2-year old to cooperate). Shallow DoF is less of a problem as the eye is sharp. I might want to darken the eyebrows a bit in post and might crop a bit tighter on the right and left; I find the out of focus areas a bit distracting.

    Great first effort though. You might want to read up on portraiture lighting and look at some of the classical lighting techniques for your next shoot (if your family cooperates).
    Last edited by Manfred M; 18th June 2013 at 03:52 AM.

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