First Photo Post (portraits)

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by amkphotography, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. amkphotography

    amkphotography TPF Noob!

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    I only had my Nikon D80 for a few days when my cousin called me and asked if I wanted to do portraits of them. Of course I said yes, but, I wasn't too used to my camera yet, it being my first DSLR, though I had a film SLR. Anyway, here are three shots of just the kids. Lighting is natural and the background is a simple white wall. I am not too sure about these ones.

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    I think out of all of these ones, my favorite is the first as you can see more of the baby and there's more of a dynamic. The boy in the middle, in the black, doesn't actually smile all that often. Constructive criticism is very much welcome!

    - Andrea
     
  2. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What is your setup? Lighting wise and lens? What is your aperture and shutter speed? I'll have a guess that it is either the 18-55mm or the 18-135mm. Much like your "Writing" photo, I think your focus can be much sharper.

    The first thing worth mentioning in doing portraits is to have your subject away from the background in this type of situation. Ideally 6-10 feet off the wall to create isolation and to avoid those shdows. With that, it would be helpful to have a light source behind them as well.

    Geometrically speaking, I'm not too impressed with #1 & #2. #3 is the strongest. IMO, ideally you would have the man at the apex.

    Having white and black clothing seems to confuse the camera metering system. Next time suggest to your models to not wear such contrasting colors.

    You have a wonderful camera with the D80. It just takes time to learn how to use it to get the best results. Practice, practice, practice. The onboard flash is useless IMO, but if you were to get the SB600, you would be amazed how much your flash photography will improve. I don't suggest you get one tomorrow, but keep it in mind, particularly if you intend to be doing much photography as seen here.

    I hope you don't take my words harshly. Good luck and keep shooting and posting your photos.
     
  3. amkphotography

    amkphotography TPF Noob!

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    My lens was a Tamron 28-80mm. My lighting was simply natural lighting, as of right now, I don't have any kind of studio lights.

    EXIF Data:

    Picture 1: 1/10sec (exposure)
    F3.5
    ISO 100

    Picture 2: 1/10sec
    F4
    ISO 100

    Picture 3: 1/10sec
    F3.8
    ISO 100

    Since then, I have been using my AF Nikkor 28-80mm lens from my Nikon N55 film SLR. I have found I like how the Nikkor lens performs better, my images seem sharper than with the Tamron.

    I do not take your words harshly, on the contrary, they are very helpful. I need ALL the help I can acquire since I want to be a professional photographer, though I have a long way to go.
     
  4. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    You need to get your subjects off the wall also.

    Also your shutter speed is way too slow. Are you hand holding? Or tripod? Either way its too slow. have you read understand exposure yet?
     
  5. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well, the first thing that jumps out at me from your data is the shutter speed. You didn't give the focal length, but your shots look as if close to the mid-range. Also assuming that f/3.5 is your largest aperture. (Don't know your lens).

    First I suggest to up your shutter to 1/60 to 1/125 for portraits. That may mean you also will need to bump the ISO up to gain the shutter speed. This is also likely to introduce some grain, but it's a trade off.

    Secondly, you will find that most lenses are sharper 1 or 2 stops from max. And it looks as if #2 is the sharpest.

    Thirdly, for lighting, try some kind of directional light and either point towards the background or towards the subjects, depending on intensity, to remove the shadows and separate the subjects. Even a work light from Home Depot for a couple of bucks.

    Fourthly, steady hands or a tripod. There are some breathing techniques that will get you acclimated to reduce hand/body tremors.

    I may be redundant here, but practice, practice, practice. :biggrin:
     
  6. amkphotography

    amkphotography TPF Noob!

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    Thank you, Kundalini.
    My brother has some work lights I want to experiment with. I didn't think I'd need my tripod for those shots, I was way wrong and I should have used it. Oh well, next time.
     

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