Eyes..

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by asheeants, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. asheeants

    asheeants TPF Noob!

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    Hello all! I am looking for some advice on portraits. I'm am going to take my children out soon and try to get some good patriotic shots for the 4th of July. I guess my main question is; what do I do to make my subjects eyes pop? So many times I've taken photos, and the eyes are out of focus or dull, what am I doing wrong? Other than that I am open to any tips you all may have on portrait taking. I am quite the noob so anything will be helpful. Thanks
     
  2. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    Im not sure your camera and equipment but the first thing you need is a decent lens. Most kit lens dont cut it. Once you have a decent lens ie: 50mm (1.8,1.4,or1.2) or 85(1.8 or 1.4) than I like to use spot metering and focus on the eyes. Also watch your shutter speed most of mine are out OOF due to motion blur or camera shake so be aware of the shutter speed.
     
  3. asheeants

    asheeants TPF Noob!

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    Pardon my manners. I have a Nikon D90 & 18-55 & 70-300 lenses. Thanks for the tip, I really need to put some time into spot metering. Another question, I have found myself stuck in aperture priority mode for a while now. I am going to be taking these photos outside, mostly in the sun light, do you think I could get better shots manually? Being a noobie I am very intimidated by manual shooting, and I'm not sure I can get good shots that way.
     
  4. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    You will probally get the best results using your 70-300. I would use Aperture priority and use the smallest F-stop ie:1.4 or in your case at the long end F5.6 That way you can get some seperation from the subject to the back ground. Also the further the background the more OOF it will be. If using spot metering it may blow out some of the image depending on the lighting. So if you wanted to switch back to manual to try and save some of it you could or use exposure compensation. I would start in Av and see how it goes. Be careful in alot of sunlight it will cast a shadow under the eyes or anywhere on the face so you may want to bring your flash or a reflector to help bring out the eyes.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2010
  5. asheeants

    asheeants TPF Noob!

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    Thanks again, I'll post the end results!
     
  6. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You don't need another lens yet because the two you've list are quite adequate. Probably more so the 70-300mm. Focusing on the eyes is paramount in portraiture. You can lock focus/meter and recompose.

    You'll want to find a spot outside that is evenly shaded, no dappled shading as this creates uneven tones. Your best bet is an off camera flash to fill in the shadows of the eye sockets *read raccoon eyes*, but barring that, a reflector will certainly do the job. This may also require another person to assist positioning the reflector.

    Have your subjects at least 6-10 feet away from any solid background. Stop down your lens in the f/4.5 to f/8 range so that entire depth of the subjects are within the focal plane. Unless of course you want to do a close up and have the focus start to blur behind the ears.

    Your camera position should level to slightly higher than eye level. There are three basic mask positions..... 1) Full Face - ears are of equal size, 2) 2/3 mask - both eyes are seen, but nose does not break opposite cheek line and 3) Profile - exactly one half of the face is seen. Also remember that any position you want your subject to be in begins with the feet. If your subject is not balanced and comfortable it will show in your photos.

    Regardless of how good your exposure and focus is, additional work in post processing is required to make the eyes pop. There are boo-coos of videos on youtube and other sources to search for your preferred method.

    Some mask examples for you.....


    Full Face
    [​IMG]


    2/3
    [​IMG]



    Profile

    [​IMG]



    Hope some of this helps.​
     
  7. JR Davis

    JR Davis TPF Noob!

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    I have found it very hard to focus on the eyes, especaily on children, doesnt take much head movement to get it oof.
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    This guy ought to be in a Geico ad on TV....you know,the ones that have the tag line, "So simple a shirtless dude can do it!" :lol: Pretty good shot,actually. Very theatrical, in a fun sort of way.
     
  9. asheeants

    asheeants TPF Noob!

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    Wow thank you so much that really helps! My only problem is I don't have an off camera flash or a reflector. Not sure my budget would permit them either. Thanks again for the great advice!
     
  10. nchips1

    nchips1 TPF Noob!

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    You could burn them in post-processing if they're important and would make the shot.
     
  11. sovietdoc

    sovietdoc TPF Noob!

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    If you can't get a flash just try using the lighting available to you. Choose the right angle so the light is on the face, if inside the house, you can turn on/off certain lights to get the positioning just right..

    Play with what you have.
     
  12. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You can get an el cheapo 5-in-1 reflector kit like this one at Adorama for $30. They can make a tremendous difference IMO. I recently stepped up to a Lastolite Trip Grip and the extra covers. I really like this design because I can securely hold and position the reflector in one hand and shoot with the other.

    Another really cheap, but effective way to get a reflector is to buy a 24x36" white foam borad from Wally World or an art shop for a couple of bucks. Affix aluminum foil to one side and you have two different ways to render the light. The white side gives soft light and the foil side creates a more contrasty light.

    This shot was taken using only a reflector. The model, in deep shade, was about ~15' from the hedges in the background and the reflector was ~10' to camera right. In post using Adobe Camera Raw, I brightened the whites of her eyes and the irises, did some skin smoothing and finally sharpened the eyes and lashes, then bumped the saturation of her lips. One of my qualms with this shot is that my assistant (okay, it was her mother) didn't hold the reflector high enough (okay, I failed to instruct) to get the catch lights at about the 2 o'clock position. This would also given me some shadow on her nose. I'm still learning to do people.
     

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