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 Post subject: First proper attempts
PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:24 pm 
Right please, please give me some feedback on these, the reason I ask is because I have just purchased a home studio lighting kit (2 head) and didn't realise that I might need a light meter, so I decided to have a go and try checking exposure from the Histogram, but with a black bg and such a brightly coloured model I really found it hard to tell - so I went for gut instinct, I think these are close to being well exposed but would love your feedback.

Bear in mind I did not use any reflectors so I know there are unwanted shadows etc which I would have avoided but my reflectors did not arrive. These are straight out the camera with nothing but resizing and converting to jpg.

I'm hoping you guys will think I have improved over the last few weeks, I definitely think more about composition and camera settings these days.



Getting tired and wanting Dad to stop the flashing lights :oops:

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 12:53 am 
Cool Mark that you got yourself a studio set-up!!

And with a cute gal like that to pose for you, how can you go wrong? :-)

Exposure-wise they look "real" enough, as in skin-tones appear to be probably what you'd see with your naked eye and you have deftly avoided any skin-shine or over blown highlights.

As you are not using reflectors yet, it might help to move her a little further away from the muslin to avoid the shadow in the first one - not that the image suffers from it.

The background is a little "uniform" and drab and although it help separate your model and create more focus, tossing a little more light around can help create some interest, if you so desire.

Portraiture in a slightly formalized set-up as yours is often - not always - done for the purpose of bringing out the best or flattering the model. Your gal doesn't need flattering as she's cute as a button already, so I mean in general.

For example: in the first one, the Directionality of the light suggests that it's up and to the left of the camera. This can cast unflattering shadows on a face - like my own weathered mug. Dropping it a little can fill out the natural shadows a little and make it appear more vibrant. Experimentation is key.

I know that you're not make a Revlon advertisement where everything is so forcefully lit that skin looks like orange plastic, but there is something to be said for a very gentle raise in the warmth/yellows of the image. You can do this with gels, filters and post-processing, for example. However it's a very personal taste kind of thing and some portraits are designed to be "real" as opposed to "flattering".

In the first one you may have more of her delightful face to enjoy of she turns a liiiittle to the right - or you more a little to the right with the camera. This increases "intimacy" so that the beholders feels more like being connected with the scene/model.

The second one seems a little more like a "snap" and less a formal portrait. There's some "centrism" going on there with perhaps too much air on both sides. Compare that to the third, where she fills the frame and you have a little more "interest". It's fun for sure, but with her eyes covered, distance is created and not enough personality is conveyed. If you'd give her a camera with a viewfinder to the side and with her other eye open looking at you, for example, you could retain the camera and increase "connection" to the model.

I like the last one too. It is very expressive and conveys that little-kid fatigue that every parent knows can set in at a seconds It could also be interpreted as "sad" or "unhappy" or "frustrated"..all strong.

As a series, I'm left with the desire to see her face, her eyes and her full expressions - to get a glimpse or sense of her personality expressed through her face rather than her body-language. There's a hint of roguish charm to her, but it's not fully expressed and I think you and her can create some really strong portraits if you let us see more of her eyes and face.

Being far from a portrait-photographer myself, take all I say here only as personal observations on my part - evident of my own taste and preferences rather than any kind of expertise :-)

Thank you for sharing these images and I hope that you will share more with us soon!

Cheers :-)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 1:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 9:28 pm
Posts: 1065
Location: Syracuse, NY
I think possible adding a reflector at a 45* angle below the model would be good, because you really don't have a lot of light under her chin, and a separation light to separate the model from the background. and for exposure, if you don't have a meter (i don't) just play around, guess if its to dark slow it down, if its over exposed, speed it up, just find the one that works.

Congrats on your purchase and hope my advice was helpful.


Jake O'Connell, 40D Crew
Canon EOS 40D | 28-135mm IS | 50mm f/1.8 |Vivitar DF 383 | Vivitar 285hv
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"Photography isn't so much about the results as it is the collective experience, your interactions with people and with the world"

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 1:06 am 
Hmm is it just me or is that black backdrop a little too dark.. it makes your image look underexposed.. i would look to see a light blue or grayish color backdrop.. i think that would make these pictures all the better.. besides for that though i thing the portrait itself is very good just i think it needs a different backdrop.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 7:17 am 
Thanks guys, all really helpful stuff.

It was very quickly put together with my black backdrop from other posts and I would love to take a black bed sheet and "tie dye" it grey for a much better portrait background (which is on the list of to-do's :)).

I have a close up of the camera one as I too thought this one may be a bit too central.

Reflectors are on order and I will be trying again in the next couple of days heh

The main thing is that it seems I read the histogram reasonably well going by your comments, it was so heavily towards the black end of the scale (I assume because of the backdrop) that it was really difficult to read.

This is another one from the set for a look at her cheekiness :!: :P


Thanks again, I will keep practising

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