First practice session with new light kit - with pic.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by schuylercat, May 1, 2008.

  1. schuylercat

    schuylercat TPF Noob!

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    My daughter makes a suitable model, when she'll sit still.

    Here's the poop: just got all my stuff from Adorama - stands, umbrellas, swivels. I had 1 hour. Grabbed a bed sheet (ew-blue...yeah), set up a simple 2 light setup, mounted 2 580EX's, set up the remote, and off we went.

    This is shot number 20 or so. Lens is ES 28-80 f/2.8L at about 30-35. Camera is 40D, 1/60th at F7.1 in full manual. Flash to camera left is manual 1/2 power 3 feet away, 6-76 inches high, flash to camera right over shoulder is manual 1/2 power 6 feet away, 6 feet high. Model is six, squirmy, and prone to fits of severe drama.

    I took a few shots using ETTL and the portrait preset and watched the results, which were bound to be odd using twin lights and umbrellas. I never knew what the flash was doing power-wise, and the camera was something like 1/100 at f8. They were daaaaark. I went manual all over, set the flashes 1/1 and the aperture to F5.6, fiddled, landed on the above settings, and shot it at is.

    Kicked it .5 stops in RAW, made a JPG, then removed a blemish on her lip and chin - no other photoshopping.

    [​IMG]

    I note a specular error in her right eye: the side light was juuust a little too far forward. Makes it a little 2D as well. Still, I was VERY tickled for a first time-ever session.

    There it is. Comment is invited.
     
  2. passerby

    passerby TPF Noob!

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    I am not a technical kind of person but directly look at the result, without even seeing who is the poster or what equipment used.

    If I look this picture the way I judge a picture than this is good enough shot. Her face area is sharp well in focus but her right arm seem slightly out of focus.

    I don't know though, to me it is good enough portrait.
     
  3. Jedo_03

    Jedo_03 TPF Noob!

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    I think you just about nailed it...
    I like it...
    But what does "she" think about it..?
    Did you want her evenly lit..?
    or
    Did you intend to use the sidelight as the Key light..?
    Try it again (bribe her) with the side light dimmer by a stop or two to take the shadow from her hair off her neck
    Or
    Move t'other light closer...
    Remove the highlight with PS...
    You could borrow one or two of her dollies to practice with...
    Jedo
     
  4. Ben-71

    Ben-71 TPF Noob!

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    I like it.

    There's something "Mona Liza-ish" about her face.

    I don't mind the un-focused right hand.
    Looks like it is well judged, to not interfere with the main subject
    of the face, and to add some depth.

    The lighting is a bit too soft to my taste. I'd have introduced a bit
    more contrast, but that's really a question of personal taste.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    It's certainly a good start...and with all that fiddling around with the settings, you will really learn to get a good feel for it.

    This looks quite evenly lit. I think the next thing to work on would be creating a ratio.
     
  6. schuylercat

    schuylercat TPF Noob!

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    Hi all,

    Good feedback, and not at all what I was thinking...which is why it's good!

    I think this looks like a $30 school photo, with the exception of the narrow DOF. I am good with that - one can make good money shooting school photos, yes?

    I also find it not too compelling, but this isn't a supermodel fashion magazine cover shot: it's a basic portrait.

    Ben - I agree. I like the depth added by the shorter DOF. I have plenty of light to play with, though, and might experiment: I'll move her a foot further away from that ghastly backdrop (maybe looks better darker, dunno) and stop the camera down from F7.1 to maybe f/9.

    Jedo - As for the side light, that's what's softening the whole thing up, I think. It is the main light, but I think it shouldn't be. Too much diffused light flooding the scene. I'm actually thinking of using a reflector on the right, and putting a short snoot on the other flash, setting it behind the scene, and aiming at the back of her hair to get definition. I have to go through Strobist again and see what he says.

    And next up: her and her brother at the same time. I am prepared. I have many, many cookies...


    Thanks for taking the time, y'all!
     
  7. andrew99

    andrew99 TPF Noob!

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    Looks good! I am about to take the plunge and buy some umbrellas and stands and all that good stuff. If my first attempt looks this good, I would be pleased!

    That said, I've been doing a lot of research on lighting, and I think one thing people do is put a light behind the subject, which will light up the hair and give more separation between the subject and background, that might be something to try!

    And you have a very cute kid! :)
     
  8. schuylercat

    schuylercat TPF Noob!

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    Mike - I was writing while you were posting. Thanks!

    Ratios...well, here we go. Lots of reading to do. I'm over-thinking everything as it is, but I'm having a ball doing it!

    Let me ask you: what do you do when you can't set lights where you want them? I ask because I had very, very little room to work with (it's a spare bedroom used as a play room, filled with toys and junk) and set the umbrellas where I could, not where I wanted. The only thing I was certain to do was to keep the main light (over my right shoulder) twice the distance away from her as the side light. This gives a ratio of 1:2, side to main, since both were 1/2 power for this shot.

    I want the main light closer, for bigger specular lights in her eyes. I'm thinking this means 3 feet away for both, with the back light at 1/4 to maintain a 1:2 if I wanted the same lighting value for the shot.

    Is my math right here? I don't recall a lesson on ratios in Strobist - I'll go look - but am I thinking the right way, ratio-wise?

    Help, O great one...
     

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