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 Post subject: A few B&W portraits
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:39 pm 
I was doing some experimenting with my flash, let me know what you think, any CC on the lighting would be helpful. Thanks

ISO 200
Exposure 1/40 sec. at f/3.2
Focal length 22mm


ISO 200
Exposure 1/100 sec. at f/3.2
Focal length 50mm


ISO 200
Exposure 1/30 sec. at f/3.2
Focal length 14mm

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:30 pm
Posts: 6953
Location: The Netherlands, Ridderkerk
Nice pictures John!
Try shining some light on the background, so it will become lighter and make your subject stand out.
Also, for portraits like these, high-key would be perfect. You might want to use colour in that case though...

- Bjorn -

Street and documentary photographer | Google+ | Twitter

Leica M9-P (my article on Camera Labs) | Leica D-Lux 5 | 50mm Summilux

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:56 pm 
Thanks for the tip if I have some time I will give it a shot today.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:57 pm 
Bjorn van Sinttruije wrote:
Try shining some light on the background, so it will become lighter and make your subject stand out.

I agree with Bjorn's observation. There isn't enough contrast between the background and your subject. You have several options on how to achieve the contrast, of which a background light is one. Others can include changing the fabric backdrop to a lighter or darker colour (the current one in monochrome looks similar to the skin tone), using a natural light source and reflectors rather than flash, getting the flash off-camera, and playing with the DoF.

Here's what I mean by natural light.


This portrait was taken on a cloudy day with light coming in from the right of the frame through a window. A reflector was placed on the model's lap to lift some shadows, and the tilted composition to flatter by creating the appearance of a longer neck. Further to the lighting and composition, I chose a shallow DoF to create more distinction between the background and the model.

Getting the flash off-camera can also yield more dynamic results. Here's an example set of images taken from my blog.

Left: Direct flash, Middle: Flash 45 degrees horizontal to camera right, Right: Flash to right front and above camera
Image Image Image

The difference in lighting is down to where I place the flashgun in relation to the camera - direction and distance will factor in. You can read more in my blog entry.

From a lighting perspective, is this helpful?

What hasn't yet been mentioned is composition; it's the second issue, primarily with the subject being too close to the edge of the frame. It's always better to give yourself a little more space around your subject from the frame edge as you have more flexibility in post-processing with crops. Granted there are times where being close to the edge is beneficial, but certainly not in images #1 and 2. The head and eyes are far too far to the left. #3 balances this nicely with part of the subject off the frame to the right and the head given more prominence at a third intersection.

In fact, the lighting in #3 is acceptable and shows you can, at times, get the lighting right.

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