A "clean" photograph

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by ckphotography, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. ckphotography

    ckphotography TPF Noob!

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    I don't know how else to say it so I'm just going with the phrase "clean" photograph. I take portraits using mostly natural light. I've been looking around on the internet at other photographers lately and I want to know how some photographers get the perfectly well lit look on a subjects face when I know that they are using mostly, if not all, natural light.

    I will typically use a silver or gold reflector but that doesn't seem to give me the look I crave.

    Tips?
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, you might try a large white reflector...metallized reflectors in gold and silver are often a bit uneven, and produce lighting that looks a bit unnatural to me, especially when shot in color. I am not a fan of gold reflectors. I'm a bit more open to silvered reflectors. But plain, white reflectors usually create quite natural-looking effects. What looks un-natural with metallic reflectors is the specularity that so many of them create,and with gold reflectors, they add a lot of warmth to the image, which will not dovetail properly with areas that are lighted with either cooler flash, or which are natural light of a different color temperature, so a photo shot with a gold reflector usually screams "fake" to me.

    How big are tyuor reflectors? I think 48x72 inches is a good size to start with; many people use these small,round collapsible reflectors that are popular today, often in metallized silver or gold because with such a tiny, and round, reflector the reflector isn't actually doing much work except spot-duty fill.
     
  3. hossmaster

    hossmaster TPF Noob!

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    Buddy of mine uses this

    [​IMG]

    and got this from that weekend

    [​IMG]
     
  4. GeneralBenson

    GeneralBenson TPF Noob!

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    Bullseye!
     
  5. Jeremy Z

    Jeremy Z No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are a couple other factors to consider also.

    1) To me, B&W photos always look cleaner than their color counterparts. It seems to draw the viewer's eye right to the subject.

    2) It is also important to use a large aperture so the background is out of focus, which further draws the eye to the subject.

    Why don't you post some of your "failures" that don't seem clean enough, and we can give more specific advice.

    Then post a link to some of the ones that are what you're after?
     
  6. ckphotography

    ckphotography TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone! I was on the same lines of investing in a white reflector. I currently have a silver and gold round reflectors (at least 48x72) and just haven't been satisfied with the outcome. I'm going to invest in white reflectors.

    Hossmaster- Can I ask what specific reflector your friend is using?

    Jeremy- I'll post a few photos within the next day or two. Thanks for your help!
     
  7. myfotoguy

    myfotoguy TPF Noob!

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    Good info here. Thanks guys. I have been wanting to get a reflector for a while now. Need to pull the trigger, especially since the snow will be gone in a few weeks. Not sure how I have been getting by without one. I'm not a pro portrait photog, so I guess that's how.
     
  8. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    the key for even light in portraits using available light is open shade. No lights or modifiers required.


    for example:

    [​IMG]


    The only lighting was the open shade,we were underneath an awning, that's what the reflection in the bubble is. this is the jpeg straight out of camera, no photoshop except the resizing.
     
  9. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  10. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Obviously, you need to try something else. :D See my response to Derrel's post.

    Agreed if you are trying to shoot a full body portrait. For a close up you don't need a large reflector and a sheet of foam core board (available at most craft stores for a couple bucks) will do you fine.

    However, there is one thing that is missing from the responses you got and that is the fact that proper use of natural light can come from a combo of reflectors and diffusers. Depending on the situation you are in, you may want to use reflectors, diffusers, or both.



    This looks like a soft box and that is fine except the OP is asking about natural light. Plus, tbh, I find the photo a bad example of how to use it. This poor kid has been given bags under her eyes.


    True, but not always available. And when it is not you need to create your own.

    Hope this helps.
     
  11. hossmaster

    hossmaster TPF Noob!

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    well she does have bags under her eyes, kids and camping ='s no sleep.
     
  12. Felix 222

    Felix 222 TPF Noob!

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    diffuser + reflector...maybe cheat with by discretely using artificial light ;)
     

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