B&W Portrait question

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by davidquillin, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. davidquillin

    davidquillin TPF Noob!

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    New guy has a question...I have a Nikon 8008. I want to shoot a B&W portrait using natural light only (by the window) . Can I just set on auto and use 100 film? What will be the results? Suggestions? Some time back I shot something very similiar using an old Pentax 1000. Turned out fairly well (IMHO); however, the settings I used came from a magazine and I have no idea what they were in order to replicate what I did then. Help!
     
  2. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes. Acceptable. Use a tripod.

    [And bracket!]
     
  3. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    In my opinion, shoot AP mode and bracket the depth of field. In a close situation only you know how much depth of field you'd like as an end result. I shoot most of my portraits at f4/5.6 which allows for about a human head's worth of DOF at 10ft on a normal length portrait lens (between 70-135mm ish)

    Use a tripod and encourage your model to sit still and you'll get sharper results.

    Consider investing in a cheap gold/silver reflector, or make one yourself out of a sheet of hardboard and some tinfoil - balancing hard light is very easy using a reflector and you'll get about half as much light again on your subject giving a pleasing contrast with the backdrop. When positioning the reflector, look to get a catchlight in the eye as a result. Having the reflector below the subject (if the window is above) will allow you to cancel the hooded eye/nose shadow problems that a single point source gives.

    Focus on the eyes.

    Rob
     
  4. davidquillin

    davidquillin TPF Noob!

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    Like I said...new guy...so dumb question...what do you mean by bracket?
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    If you don't have a tripod use ISO 400 film. You may want to shoot C-41 BW as it's probably easier and cheaper to get developed. C-41 BW is BW that can be developed with standard color film processing. It has a very wide exposure latitude which means you can goof the exposure, and your photos may still be acceptable.
     
  6. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Bracketing means taking multiple exposures of the same image using different settings. There are lots of different ways to bracket. Here are the two you'd most likely use: You can bracket exposure by taking multiple shots at different shutter speeds, or you can bracket aperture by taking multiple shots with different apertures (the f-numbers on that ring on your lens).

    For this portrait shot, don't go more than one change in shutter speed in either direction from what your light meter suggests. I.e. your camera/meter might suggest a speed of 1/60th of a second. Take the shot, then maybe try the same one at 1/125 or 1/30.

    For aperture, the smaller the f-number you select on the aperture range, the more depth of field your shot will have. I'd say try not to go below f5.6. Lots of depth of field means a small area that is actually in focus. If you shoot with the ring set at something like f2.8, then you'll probably get your subject's nose in focus but nothing else. Like I said, toy around with the aperture by bracketing.
     

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