Help Needed

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by vandecarr, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. vandecarr

    vandecarr TPF Noob!

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    Hi,
    I really want to perfect something and I believe the talent on this forum can help.
    I want to get great portraits using nothing but a bounce flash and a reflector.
    I used a Canon 350D in manual mode and a sigma 28mm-70mm DG lens.
    The flash is attached to the hot shoe and bounced from the ceiling.
    Does or has anyone here ever attempted to perfect portraits in this manner?
    Here are my first two attempts at this. Your opinions are very welcome.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    They both look underexposed to me...so I would increase the exposure.

    To get really good portraits...one thing to concentrate on, is the lighting ratio between the light and dark parts of the face. Lets assume that we are already talking about light that is not coming from the direction of the camera.

    Here is a suggestion...sit the subject next (but not too close) to a white wall and point the flash at the wall. The wall is now your light source...it will be the key (or main) light. Now you can use the reflector to bounce some light back onto the other side of the face...this will be your fill light. Experiment with the power of the flash, the distance to the wall, the distance of the reflector...until you get a ratio that you like. Use the histogram to determine your exposure.

    Another thing to think about is wardrobe and clothing. Check out this site. Lots of other good stuff there as well.
     
  3. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Not sure this is alternative photography but in my opinion portriats are more about the subject than the lighting. That said you must have enough light and it has to be pleasing light past that it is fluff in my opinion.
     
  4. Jeremy Z

    Jeremy Z No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Personally, my best portraits have all been made with natural light, usually side- or backlit. To me, flash is the last resort, as it takes so much work just to try to approximate something that looks natural. Why not use something natural to begin with?

    The photos you show seem pretty good to me. I think there is more room for improvement in the backgrounds than in the lighting. (they're a bit cluttered, even if they're out of focus)
     
  5. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I'd also try a longer lens (more telephoto). Not only will it reduce the balloon-head effect, but it will put more distance between you and the subject. Right now, the light is bouncing up to the ceiling and back down at a pretty tight angle. This is creating strong shadows under their chins, and in the first one, highlighting his forehead. With the subject further back, the light will come down at a better angle.

    Like Mike, I prefer wall bounce over ceiling.
     

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