First "Real" Portrait

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by RoseBud, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. RoseBud

    RoseBud TPF Noob!

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    This is my first attempt at a portrait. I have not used lights before, and am learning. I don't know any of the tech terms yet.

    I used single light positioned in front of my model. Aperture was 6.3, and shutter speed, I believe was at 1/125. Does that sound right? Please forgive me if I got it wrong.

    I am just playing with lights right now to learn how to best utilize them. Any CC would be most appreciated!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Looks pretty good, especially for your first attempt.

    One thing you might try is moving the light to one side, rather than right above the model. You may then want something to fill in shadows on the other side (or maybe not). A simple reflector would do the job.
     
  3. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    Looks pretty good.. For me, I don't like the lean without seeing the elbows on the knees and clasped hands (guessing), and if you're going to leave that out, leave the lean out and have her erect... I like the way her hair is arranged, too.. She's a pretty model, and you did her justice. Just my 0.02
     
  4. AlfromLA

    AlfromLA TPF Noob!

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    I like it. it may be an automatic for me because since I started getting into photography & I see protrait, I look for that light to one side. Still looks pretty good without it.


    Welcome to the forum.
     
  5. tbphotography

    tbphotography TPF Noob!

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    nice... I like the tones, warm and simple...
     
  6. Ridge Meadows Photography

    Ridge Meadows Photography TPF Noob!

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    awesome!!
     
  7. Staile

    Staile TPF Noob!

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    Really liking the warm tones of this, the colors are saturated just right. As far as the lighting goes, I think it really depends on what look you were going for. I think the lighting here is good, though experimenting with some different configurations wouldn't hurt.
     
  8. xtort-

    xtort- TPF Noob!

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    Damn good for a first try! Get a few lights- they don't have to cost much to do the trick, and play around.
     
  9. Dick Sanders

    Dick Sanders TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Big Mike on moving the light a little to one side, so you get more "modeling" (shadow areas that sculpt and define the facial features). I actually use the lighting placement you have here, but for a harsher examination of the subject, not a flattering, romantic portrait as you are going for. And though your colors are warm and beautiful and everything is soft and nice (as Staile points out), the tones are overall too even across the entire picture, thus flattening the subject and lessening the interest. Finally, Stsinner is right about the pose and cropping, so I'm going to crop it to get rid of the tension created by the lean-in and arm placement. And then I'm going to create more light and dark values and paint in some shadows on one side of the face that you would normally get if you moved the light to one side. And darken the background a bit. And brighten the hair and eyes. It'll look phony as this was all done in PhotoShop in a quick and dirty way, but I think it will show you more of the lighting effect you want, with some "modeling," for a more flattering and romantic portrait.

    [​IMG]

    Also, let me show an example of a portrait with a heavily diffused key light coming from one side, and a white reflector bouncing light back onto the opposite side (as Big Mike recommends). This portrait shows the "modeling effect" and how it adds interest and drama. Note, also, that when the subject is coming out of a dark background, it is very romantic.


    [​IMG]
     
  10. stsinner

    stsinner TPF Noob!

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    Wow, Dick, you backed up my leaning comment and posted a great crop.!! I think the portrait looks great when you can't see her arms heading out toward her knees...
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2009
  11. RoseBud

    RoseBud TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the advice! It gives me a place to work from.

    Dick, thanks for showing me how to make it better. I can see what you mean now, by too even. I appreciate seeing the difference.
     
  12. Dick Sanders

    Dick Sanders TPF Noob!

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    Rosebud: Glad to help, and I'm looking forward to seeing your next portrait. Also try some window light portraits with a white reflector (can just be a piece of white foamcore) on the opposite side.

    Stsinner: Your observation was right on the money. The arm placement and cropping was causing some distraction. Still, the lean-in has real value. I got so fed up with getting ugly mug shots on my Driver's License every few years, I tried turning slightly and leaning in a bit just before the operator snapped the pic. It was the best DL pic I ever got. Now, I tell everybody to do it. :wink:
     

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