First portrait. Input please!

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by shawnxstl, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. shawnxstl

    shawnxstl TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]

    This is my friend joe. For some reason, the picture doesnt look as sharp on flickr as it does on my computer. So, keep in mind that its not as soft as it seems on screen. It's actually pretty sharp.

    Anyway, with some black sheets, some construction lights, and some other random stuff, I came up with this:
    [​IMG]

    Seems to work pretty well. I'd like to get some more lights however.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Clawed

    Clawed TPF Noob!

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    Very dramatic, nearly split lighting. Personally, I like the lighting, however, but maybe it's just a bit on the warm side.

    Thanks for sharing & nice shot
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, for starters, Joe appears to have only one ear. And no shoulders. And poor old Joe, he's floating in a sea of texture-less,inky blackness. Because the camera is mounted horizontally on the tripod, we can't see Joe's shoulders, nor do we even get to read what clever slogan is printed on his black T-shirt! Doggone it! On the overview shot you took with a second camera, or your cell phone camera, you had the camera oriented properly; since the subject was taller than it was wide, the vertical or 'portrait' orientation used in the overview shot showed us what we wanted to see: the tripod and camera in the foreground, the basement roof beams, the clamp-mounted work light mounted on top of the water heater (careful, Miley Cyrus might pop out of nowhere and dance on that pole!),and of course there in all his defocused glory, there stands your buddy Joe. Standing tall, standing proud.

    As far as things to work on, I'd try getting a good white balance for incandescent lighting,and turn the camera to what's often referred to as portrait orientation, and maybe show Joe's shoulders a bit. Add a white sheet to the camera-right side of your set, to reflect some fill lighting back onto the Dark Side, so we can see that he has two ears. And, if he's up to the task, I'd ask Joe to wear a fancier grade of T-shirt for the next session--maybe one touting a favorite band, or even a favorite beer company shirt.;)
     
  4. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, poor ol' Joe is in good company.

    I completely agree with Clawed. Try taking a bit of the warmth out of it... maybe retouch the blemishes (pimples, not freckles).

    Nice shot.

    -Pete
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    :lol:
     
  8. shawnxstl

    shawnxstl TPF Noob!

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    That's kind of what I was going for as far as the one sided face thing. Ill try the sheet idea tonight to see if i can get some light shining back on that side and see how it works.

    The second shot wasn't meant to be serious. It was just a sloppy overview shot of the set up. The shirt he's wearing IS a band shirt. hahah. Harm's Way (from chicago)

    Are portraits really considered bad if they dont show shoulders?

    The clone stamp button on my photoshop is for whatever reason not working right now. o_O so.. there goes the ability to touch things up.

    We're shooting again tonight..so hopefully it'll go better.
     
  9. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    van Gogh only had one ear. So what?

    And frankly, the last thing I want in a portrait is some clever slogan on a t-shirt.

    But I do agree it is a bit warm. While you deal with that in PP you may also want to get rid of his pimples, if those spots are pimples.
     
  10. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think some people here who are self-taught,entirely,with no art school or design background, might like to look at what people consider "famous portraits",and then take a look at what modern people consider "great portraits" on Flickr....Google that,and see what comes up.

    There is a genre of photography called portraiture,and a genre called snapshots, and one called headshots, and one called mugshots. All are subtly different. A horizontal shot of a head floating in 20 percent of the frame is not a portrait. Of course, I have a bias, having supported myself shooting portraits people actually were willing to pay for. Full-time. That was years ago, but I think you'll find that comparing the "famous portraits" done over the past 500 YEARS bear a remarkable similarity to the "great portraits" of the internet age,at least as shown on Flickr.

    FLippant,ignorant responses to sandwich links do absolutely nothing except to show how lightly regarded tradition,training,and proven methods are to many of today's self-taught shooters. A portrait without shoulders is....a mug shot!
     
  11. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    There is retail photography and there is art. In art, anything goes.

    If you are so into rules, maybe you should remember this one: rules are meant to be broken.

    I recently used Obama's official portrait as a great example of a photog getting paid a lot of money (I hope) to produce the most boring photo. Perfect in every way but boring as hell.
     
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Special Exhibitions
    Richard Avedon. An iconic portrait shooter.

    Herb Ritts + portraits - Google Images
    Herb Ritts. Departed. Very talented. One of the bigger names in portraiture among actors, entertainers, musicians,and fashion art directors.

    Tim Mantoani Photography
    Tim Mantoani photographs 32 very famous photographers. All 32 of the photographs were framed as verticals.

    The work of these three people spans the past 70 years of high-end,well-taught, disciplined portrait shooters who have reached the highest heights. There is self-taught, and there are mentored masters. It's always clear when a person is self taught,and does not understand the genre he wishes to enter into. One needs to understand the rules in order to break them effectively,and sadly, I see many beginners framing things horizontally simply because the don't know any other way to frame a photo except to hold the camera the way it's most comfortable for them.

    Again it's really,really simple. When a subject is taller than it is wide, the subject is begging for a vertical framing. And it has been so for 500 years.
    People by their very nature are tall, and not very wide. Feel free to espouse the unconventional, and you'll meet barriers all along the way. Again, we have the self-taught versus the tutored, educated, mentored, and studied shooters. The choice is there for every beginner to make. Learn. From the masters. Or from people who have actually studied the past 500 years' worth of what portraiture is,and is not. Knowing when to shoot wide and when to shoot tall is a really basic skill; it is Decision Number One when you use a 3:2 or 6x7 or a 6x9 format camera. Or a 4x5, 5x7, or 8x10 camera.
     

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