First Portraits

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by Brokepilot, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. Brokepilot

    Brokepilot TPF Noob!

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    Well I had my first experience trying to shoot portraits last night. I learned a lot of things, especially when I tried to photoshop them. I definately needed more light for the photos. I don't have any lighting equipment other than the flash that I bought with the camera that I still don't know how to use properly, so I used a lamp that we had at home and some tin foil to adjust the light along with my flash. My sister-in-law was nice enough to sit with me and help and my daughter had a blast. My son wasn't nearly as excited. I was taking away from his time with his new Xbox.

    I would really appreciate any feedback on ways to improve the photos. My sister-in-law and a couple of her friends have volunteered to be my models for photos in the future, so at least I will have some people to shoot. Any suggestions on basic LOW budget lighting to buy and anything else that would help. I think a reflector would have been real nice and a softbox and ....... well someday I will get there.

    The first three are of my sister and the last is my son. Thanks for the help.

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    I have a couple of pretty good pics of my daughter, but I will have to get the wife's permission to post those.

    To me the photos of my sister look too orange or red, but I am new to photoshop and photography so I haven't quite figured out how to adjust everything yet. Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Are you using a digital camera? If so, you may need to adjust the WB (white balance) when using a lamp. Some cameras will even let you set a custom WB. If you camera allows you to record the images in RAW format, then you can adjust the WB afterward.

    One the simplest ways to get good portrait lighting, is to use window light and then use a reflector for fill light. The idea being that your light source is very big.

    What flash do you have? Can it tilt and twist? You could use it to bounce the light off of the ceiling or a wall....again, maybe a reflector for fill.
     
  3. Peacemaker636

    Peacemaker636 TPF Noob!

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    The first three pics could use some work with the white balance, do you mind if I take a stab at it with Photoshop?

    On your camera, I would think there should be some programmed white balance modes, so I'd look into that.
     
  4. Brokepilot

    Brokepilot TPF Noob!

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    Please edit however you feel it will help. I have only been at this for like 2 1/2 weeks and am trying to learn as much as possible. I could post the originals too if that would help. They are WAY dark. Thanks for the help.

    I well try shooting in RAW. I know that my camera has that option. Also, my flash does tilt and I was trying to bounce it off of the ceiling and wall, but I think I needed more light in the room. I think it has remote capability also, but I can't figure out how to use it. Too new for my own good. I feel like the guy that learns to scuba dive and buys all of the expensive gadgets and trinkets. You know the one that all of the other divers make fun of. Anyways, I have a nice camera and nice flash and don't know how to use either one YET. I am determined to learn.

    Would you guys recomend any good books that I can read about lighting set up and placement? Beginers level please. I also wanted to try and shoot some shots of motorcycles out doors and need to figure out how to do reflectors and light settings. I know the image that I want to get out of the pics, but don't know exactly how to get it. I have been thinking about taking some classes from the local University. They have a degree program, but I mostly just want to learn how to do this correctly.

    Man this stuff is so cool. I feel like a little kid again. :boogie:

    Wow, I just read through my post and I think that I have Adult ADD.

    OK, reality check, I have to go back to work now.
     
  5. Mad_Gnome

    Mad_Gnome TPF Noob!

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    Others can probably do this a lot better than I can, but I figured I'd give it a shot. First, I brought the exposure up a bit with "Variations" in Photoshop 6. After that, I tried to correct the red color cast by using the color balance to move the cast more toward Cyan and Blue. I think this looks much closer to what it actually should be.

    [​IMG]

    If you flip through your camera manual to the section on adjusting White Balance settings, it should tell you fairly well how to correct for tungsten lighting. This is what is giving your photos the reddish cast. The last photo of your son was taken with your flash, I'm assuming. The color is much closer to natural light.

    For the record, you should be using a lot more light for portraiture. Photoshop will help to a certain extent, but it tends to be destructive, and the resulting photograph will take on a grainy, unnatural look. The levels can only be brought up just so much before the photo starts to deteriorate. The first photo of your sister had just enough light to still look fairly natural when I lightened it, but the last one lost detail quickly when I attempted to brighten it. Otherwise, these are very good images.
     
  6. Brokepilot

    Brokepilot TPF Noob!

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    Hey thanks!!! I knew as soon as I looked at the pics today that I needed more light. The one with my son had a lot more light. I was trying to adjust my homemade reflector and he was tired of taking pictures and being my guinea pig. So when I snapped that pic he was basically an inanimate object that was sitting on a chair waiting to get back to video games. But after I shot it I kind of liked the way it turned out.

    I will check out my camera settings tomorrow when I get a chance. I have found that I am taking it everywhere with me and always looking for some good shots when I am out (Does that make me Crazy? or just obsessed?).

    I am also going to go back to the original images and see if I can't do a better job of photoshopping them. I am pretty sure that I added too much red to them while trying to adjust for the inadequate lighting.

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  7. Brokepilot

    Brokepilot TPF Noob!

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    OK, here is another one. Hopefully better than the last attempts.

    [​IMG]

    please feel free to edit as you feel it needs to be.
     
  8. Graelwyn

    Graelwyn TPF Noob!

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    I think these are very good for someone doing it for so short a time. For some reason, I don't like so much of the top half to be exposed though, I would have cropped some of that out...maybe gone to just above where you can area between arm and shoulder...
     
  9. Brokepilot

    Brokepilot TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the compliments and advice. I will try to crop it and see how it looks. I will also see if I can fix some of the others that we did.

    I also got some pretty good shots at the freestyle motocross last weekend that I will post at some point. I need to crop a couple of them and haven't had time. Too many long days and short nights. I must be getting old.
     
  10. bowronfam3

    bowronfam3 TPF Noob!

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    Here's my try at an edit!

    [​IMG]
     
  11. bowronfam3

    bowronfam3 TPF Noob!

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    Here's a try at this one.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I felt challenged to play a little with the second of your first post here, Brokepilot, but I am not quite so sure about the result?
    It was quite, quite yellow and I tried to get rid of that. Played so much with my PS that I now no longer remember WHAT exactly I did :scratch: [​IMG]

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    I find the outcome a bit noisy, but NeatImage made her look like she's made from plastic, see here:

    [​IMG]

    So that's no possibility...!
     

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