Christmas Portraits for C&C please.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Stamp, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. Stamp

    Stamp TPF Noob!

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    The Wife asked if we could take some Christmas portraits tonight when I got off work, of course I said yes. So I grabbed the two table top lights, positioned them as best as I thought, and got everything else set up. All comments and critique is appreciated!

    1. 1/60 sec, f2.0, ISO 400
    [​IMG]

    2. 1/60 sec, f2.0, ISO 400 [​IMG]

    3. 1/50 sec, f2.8, ISO 800
    [​IMG]

    p.s. As you can see, I decided to get a nifty photo watermark like everyone else. ;)
     
  2. flameshots

    flameshots No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm a noob but the biggest thing I can see is the shadows on the wall are detracting. Maybe change the light position to more in front of the subjects to move the shadows away from the wall. Just my $.02 worth.
     
  3. Stamp

    Stamp TPF Noob!

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    Being a noob doesn't de-value your input ... You still have an opinon.... That's good stuff.. I kind of thought the same thing when I was PP'ing them.

    Maybe a bounce flash would help eliminate that... not sure though... anyone have input on getting rid of those shadows?
     
  4. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Attractive family you have there.

    The shadows are killing the shots.

    1/50 & 1/60 second was way too slow. Notice the motion blur.

    Be mindful of the missing digits.... fingers/hands.

    Move the tree from the corner to help even out the background and avoid the crease.

    Lower yourselves and/or raise the tree to have more if it to fill the frame.

    Move yourselves further away from the tree to add separation.

    Because of the distance (depth) from front to back of yourselves, try stopping down the lens (f/4 to f/6.1) to increase the DoF. A better chance that everyone is in focus.

    Prefocus on one person, then turn AF off.

    If you have a flash, by all means, bounce that sucker. With the table lamps, try moving them closer and add some type of diffusion, even a lower wattage bulb.

    That one package on the right wall is distracting..... more or none.

    Good luck and hope eveyone's on the Nice list. :biggrin:

    Just my 2¢.
     
  5. Stamp

    Stamp TPF Noob!

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    Excellent... Thank you for the great advice... This is the kind of stuff I'm looking for. The tree is very sparse :lol:, so having it fill more of the frame would be quite the challenge, as I was already on my knees in the photos.

    My thinking about the lens at f2.0 and f2.8 was to try to keep it at a lower ISO with somewhat of a decent shutter speed, but the more I look at 3 with ISO 800 and f2.8, I'm wishing I had shot all of them at that or smaller, so like you suggest.

    These were my first photos shot in RAW, and it's amazing with all the PP options that open up to you. Will shooting in RAW at higher ISO's (1600-3200) produce less noise than shooting them in JPEG? While shooting in JPEG, I decided to limit myself to 800 for the highest acceptable ISO (I'm pretty picky about noise).

    So far, everyone is on the nice list, but I think that may change 13-15 years down the road. :mrgreen:
     
  6. DubDeez.

    DubDeez. TPF Noob!

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    As said above the shadows take my eye away from your lovely family. I also think as said above moving the tree out of the corner to incorporate it more into the shot would help as well. :)
     
  7. RPetterson

    RPetterson TPF Noob!

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    I would agree with you its the first thing that I noticed.
     
  8. GFreg

    GFreg TPF Noob!

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    Yeah you definitely needed more light. That way you would have been able to use a smaller aperture make sure all the subjects are tack sharp. f/2 is pretty wide open and usually lenses will tend to be softer when they are wide open like that. I don't agree that your shutter speed was off. 1/60th of a second should be perfectly acceptable for a portrait...well with kids you might be pushing it but should have been ok. I think any sharpness issues on your subjects were probably caused by your aperture and not your shutter speed. The DOF that you will get with f/2 will make it extremely hard to get everybody's face sharp, unless you were all standing in a line and were the same distance from the lens.

    From your post it sounds like you are using regular table lamps with exposed bulbs? You can diffuse the light that you had so that the shadows would not have been as harsh on the wall. Try setting up a white bed sheet is front of your lights to diffuse them.

    Another way to help get rid of those shadows would be to move farther away from the wall.

    Honestly, I would just stay away from ISO that high. I can understand using a higher ISO if you are in a situation where you can't control the light but for portraits you won't want to make that sacrifice, imo. You need more light. You will be able to reduce noise in PP but the results wont turn out as nice as a shot that was taken at an ISO of say, 200 or even 400.
     
  9. Stamp

    Stamp TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Gfreg. I just got that fast 1.7 lens for low light, but then I realized that having it at 1.7 makes the photos real soft, so now, like you've suggested, I'm trying to find the sweet spot for that lens. I guess I just need to get a directional flash.

    So that brings me to a new question. If I have a 1.7 max lens shooting at 3.5, will that be sharper/better quality than a 3.5 max lens shooting at 3.5 in the same conditions?

    The sheet is a great idea! I will definitely try that. Thanks!
     
  10. Martin_Garcia

    Martin_Garcia TPF Noob!

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    Nice family !.
    I would have add more light and set the aperture between f/8 or f/11. That will give you the best quality from your lenses.
     
  11. GFreg

    GFreg TPF Noob!

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    Without knowing exactly which lens you are using it is hard to say where the sweet spot will be but most lenses will achieve a sweet spot a few stops down from wide open. Set up a shot with an inanimate object such as a piece of fruit and go through the range. You could put a second piece of fruit somewhere in front or behind you main subject and see how the different fstops not only affect the sharpness on your main subject but the DOF. I believe that generally an f/1.7 at f/3.5 should be sharper than an f/3.5 at f/3.5

    A directional flash will be a huge help because it will allow you to bounce light. I find being able to bounce a flash off the ceiling to be extremely helpful. Another alternative to just hanging up a sheet in front of your light would be to make a DIY lightbox if you want something that seems a little more professional. There are numerous tutorials online. Remember that you will probably need more diffused light to light up your subject but that light will give you a much more pleasing result.
     

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