First portraits with flash

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Lazy Photographer, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. Lazy Photographer

    Lazy Photographer TPF Noob!

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    So my pal lent me his flash and today I finally got to try it out on his little boy. What a cute kid, I gotta say. Any thoughts on how I might have improved on these would be appreciated. I'm taking a short course next week that gets into flash so I'm hoping to pick up some good info there. It's once a week for a month, three hours a night.

    What I did was point the flash straight up and use the built in diffuser. In a couple of them I even held my hand up flat just above the diffuser to get a warmer light on the boy. He's only 2 1/2 yrs old, so he's not "posing" per say.

    1. (I call this one, Get the f*** off my porch!)
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    2.
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    3.
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    4.
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    5.
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  2. Texas Aggie

    Texas Aggie TPF Noob!

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    Great pics. The third one is particularly awesome to me.

    With the exception of number 1 and 3, it seems the lighting is a little off...and I would maybe suggest a more interesting background than the window. BUT take my opinion with a grain of salt, I'm sort of a newbie when it comes to photography.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
  3. ababysean

    ababysean TPF Noob!

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    was this on camera flash or off?
     
  4. Lazy Photographer

    Lazy Photographer TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. I was using a Canon 430EX speedlite on camera. The lighting may well be off. I'm brand new to flash of any kind, really, so I wouldn't be surprised.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    He's an adorable little boy, and dressed really cute. I like the first photo, with the overalls and the Crocs shoes...those are so,so,so late 2000's, and will someday be relics. I do not like the way you've applied vignetting on the first shot, since it looks like you over-exposed the highlights pretty badly and tried to salvage them,and the weird look of the over-exposed bristles on the broom looks bad to me. It has that highlight recovery look...this is a cute photo, even though the camera is caddywhompus and all--the address marker, 55 on the porch will someday probably seem significant. This kind of a shot will someday become a treasured family memory, so a better RAW conversion effort would be worth it on shot #1.

    Shot #2 is cute. I wish there was a bit more top space for him in the frame, but the positioning of the boy in front of the window with the window mouldings adds a really noticeable sense of 3-dimensionality and realism. The way the kid's head overlaps the window mouldings just makes him Pop! out of the background. I wish the camerra was swung a little more to the left, and the space at the lower right hand corner where there is no body for a "base" makes it a less-than-formal portrait, but the lighting and the expression and the overall scene are pretty good. With a few minor tweaks, this could be an outstanding informal portrait. (And I know how tough it is with little kids--they move, and so on, all the time, just pointing out areas of concern.)

    I do not like the framing on #3 at all. #4 is okay to good, and again, the 3-D effect of him in front of a rectinlinear backdrop is working, but the red reflections are a slight bit distracting,and the color looks a bit muddy. #5 shows a look of wonderment or engrossment, but looks soft.

    I honestly do not think that the flash is acting much as an actual source of fill light, but more as a source of what I call eye-sparkle...I think it's filling in the shadows a very tiny bit, but it looks like, from a casual examination, that maybe the shutter speeds are somewhat slow, and that the flash output is pretty close to the actual,ambient exposure created by the shutter speed/aperture/ISO trio, and that the flash is not providing much direct fill, but is creating eye sparkle, and is actually bouncing up off the roof of the porch,and causing a slight under-chin shadow...which is what makes me think the flash part of the exposure is very close to the ambinet expopsure.

    If the flash had been aimed at him, straight ahead, you would have gotten more of a fill-light effect from it, slightly brighter eye-sparkle, and NO shadow under the chin. So, you could try using the flash straight-ahead instead of angled upward, and see which effect you like more. These are very subtle...most people would never notice that these shots used flash, but they would notice the lovely eye-sparkle that it creates. I'm not saying the way you shot this is bad, I'm just engaging in a bit of discussing the different looks that flash creates when used under the way you did versus with it pointed straight ahead; I think we can all agree that these look much better than many peoples' full-flash shots. Since your post hints that these are your very First portraits with flash, I thought I'd spend a bit of extra time and really go into what I see in the photos, more than just a regular-length C&C post.
     
  6. Lazy Photographer

    Lazy Photographer TPF Noob!

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    Thanks so much for all your thoughtful comments and advice, Derrel. Just what I need. I should have mentioned that I did crop these shots, so as for framing, they can be adjusted. The first photo really wasn't blown. I think I might have blown it in post. I'm going to revisit these in post using your suggestions and opinions.

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  7. AlexL

    AlexL TPF Noob!

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    I think the photo needs some more lights.
     
  8. ghache

    ghache TPF Noob!

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    haha nice! nice shots but the first one is golden!
     
  9. Lazy Photographer

    Lazy Photographer TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone.
     

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best diffuser for 430ex ii informal portrait
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if you used flash on your portraits is there any way to salvage it