Help with digital portrait photography?

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by creatives, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. creatives

    creatives TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi,

    I want to learn more about taking portrait photographs in the style of the photo attached. I have a Canon 400D, which is 10.1mp, however, when I took a portrait without direct flash, the camera obviously compensated and opened the shutter speed. But the photos are just too blurred. I then used a tripod with self timer to avoid camera shake, but yet again the photo looked just too blurred and out of focus. I used both auto focus and Manual and adjusted the appature and shutterspeed manually.

    I used continuous light from two light stands with diffuser umbrellas, but did not use the slave flashes on them.

    I used ISO 100 to avoid grainyness too.

    So my main question is, how can I obtain crystal clear clairty of the photos yet not use flash, whilst keeping the lighting like the portrait photo attached.

    Any advice??

    Thanks in advance.

    click here


    *edited to show link rather than image*
     
  2. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,237
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Rochester, NY Velocity: Unknown
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    You probably didn't notice, but the forum rules say that you shouldn't post images to other people's work. You can link to them, but don't paste them into threads.

    To answer your question: a lot of light.

    100 ISO is a good choice. A medium to wide aperture is good to both blur the background and let more light in. A slight telephoto, like an 85mm on 35mm film or a 50mm on the 400D, would be a good focal length.

    My guess is that you are working with weaker lights, and the umbrellas are going to cut it down even more. Posting examples of what you did will help us give better advice, too.
     
  3. bitteraspects

    bitteraspects TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Messages:
    813
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    honolulu, hawaii
    im guessing you used the kit lense for the portrait you attempted?
    you may want to invest in some better glass if you want images like the one you posted. also im pretty sure that picture was not using natural light.
     
  4. Big Mike

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

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    You can use flash...but not on-camera flash. I think Mark is right, continuous light are not nearly as power full as strobes...so you are not getting fast enough shutter speeds.
     
  5. creatives

    creatives TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks guys, so sorry about posting the photo, I had no idea! Lesson learned:)

    Thanks for the advice though. One silly question I would like to ask is, how do I turn off the camera flash and get the strobes to go off? Because the strobes seem to activate only when the flash goes off on the camera.

    Do I need to buy some kind of a connector lead? Any advice on that would be great!

    What apperture bracketing would you suggest I use to keep clarity without any blurring, and any suggestions on shutter speed.

    Any advice would be great:)

    Thanks
     
  6. Big Mike

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

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,822
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I'm not sure if the 400D has a PC socket or not...if so, that's where you would plug in a wire to connect to the remote flash. If not, you can get a 'hot-shoe to PC' adaptor.

    The photo you showed us...looks to be a professional shot, with several lights. While I agree that...trying to emulate shots you like, is a great way to learn...you may be getting ahead of yourself here.

    If your problem is blurriness...lets deal with that first. Provided that your focus is correct and your DOF is sufficient...you can get blurriness from a couple of things...camera movement or subject movement. When using continuous lights or ambient light...you will need a fast shutter to freeze any movement. When using flash/strobes...the burst of light is very short, much quicker than the shutter...so the shutter speed doesn't matter much (only for the ambient exposure...background etc.) So when using flash/strobes, you shouldn't have a problem getting sharp shots...given that the focus is OK and there there isn't an overpowering ambient exposure.

    Using continuous lights...it may be hard to get a fast enough exposure...the lights would have to be quite powerful.

    There are some other issues...sharpening of the digital image, for example...and that shot may also have so other post processing things like skin smoothing etc.
     
  7. creatives

    creatives TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2006
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, I am probably getting ahead of myself here!

    I have borrowed two 400w lights here, one a bowens and one a prolinca. I am a bit unsure what you meant when you said PC? do you mean pc as in computer? lol sorry for the ignorance!

    And when you said remote flash, do you mean the lamps (the two strobe flashes)? or a separate flash for the camera that can be taken on or off the camera?

    Also, to get a nice backlit image as she is in the photo against a black background, what positions would you suggest I put the lights? Are there any good website where I can learn all this? As you can see I am a total beginner, learning as I go:)

    Thanks so much for your help, really appreciated!

    :)
     
  8. woodsac

    woodsac TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    260
    Location:
    In a black hole
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    So if they are actually 'slaves', sounds like maybe you were using the modeling lights? Modeling lights usually don't exceed standard 150W bulbs. You'll need 10X that without flash.

    I'm pretty sure the 400D does not have a PC socket. Most slaves use a special cord to connect lights to cameras. Like Mike said, you'll need to buy a hot shoe to pc adaptor. Something like this
    I'm not sure if this is the right one...just giving you an idea.

    Here are some links that might help. If you take the time, the amount of knowledge in these links regarding lighting is priceless! Just start at the top and work your way down :mrgreen:

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

    http://studiolighting.net/

    http://www.photo.net/tv/

    http://www.lightingmagic.com/topics.htm

    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00BjHh

    http://www.photoflexlightingschool.com/
     
  9. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2003
    Messages:
    5,600
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Hermosa Beach, CA U.S.A
    I would like to learn more about this style as well. Primarily where can I get the model.

    The photo you posted is shot with high powered strobes. Continuos lighting is equally as beautiful. Light on the subject is your journey. A lot of great models are shot with hot lights. Key is to shape the models features and fill in the rest. Also consider that hot lights require the model to be perfectly still. Not sure how Cannon handles fill flash. Worse comes to worse you can always hold it down with duct tape.
     
  10. vandecarr

    vandecarr TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2006
    Messages:
    363
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    That photo has a lot of Photoshop work done to it. I recently put together a small manual on this kind of stuff, its really for my own use in case I forget some steps on different re-touch techniques.

    I don't use a very high end camera, Im just really good with my photoshop abilities and can recreate almost anything with it.

    If you already have a great camera and lighting you are in good shape. If you don't but you have photoshop 7, cs or cs2 again, you are in very good shape.

    The manual I use is not for sale but, I can tell you of a few books that can help you quickly to create this stuff.

    There are 2 books by Jack Davis called Wow or something like that I can't find mine right now and a magazine you can find in book stores called focus guide photoshop repair and restore your photos.

    the last one is written by a great guy out of the u.k named Matthew Henry.

    You can contact him on his website www.matthewhenry.net and he will usually take the time to answer your questions and help he is really a great guy.

    Anyway, in a nutshell, if I were to create the kind of picture you are interested in I would do it all in photoshop.


    Cheers,
    Mike V
     
  11. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,237
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Rochester, NY Velocity: Unknown
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I don't mean this to be antagonistic, but I don't agree with that. Photoshop won't help you if you don't have the light right to begin with. From my experience, you can't "do it all" in software any more than you can in the darkroom.
     
  12. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Messages:
    1,280
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Denver
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I have to agree with Mark. I've seen photoshop turn some mediocre pictures into great ones...but I don't think photoshop can do a ton if you don't already have decent lighting and a good eye for composition. Plus, why do a TON of work in PS instead of just doing it right the first time and then spending just a few minutes tweaking?
     

Share This Page