homemade diffuser and working with flash

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by Youngun, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. Youngun

    Youngun TPF Noob!

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    Two questions in one!
    I friend has asked me to do some 'headshots' for her for her acting portfolio, and I jumped at the chance to have someone that's ok with being photographed. The problem is I've never done anything like this.

    1) Would you suggest using some sort of 'soft focus' filter to maybe blur out skin blemishes and such? If so, what's the easist way to make one, or cheapest one to buy (if it's something useful, I might as well buy a decent one though)

    2) I've got a Nikon F100 and SB-28 and I'll be shooting an 85mm 1.8 most likely. There's not much chance that I'll get a sync chord before shooting (anyone know which one I would need, it's something I've been looking for), so I'm stuck with on-camera flash. Should I go for wall/ceiling bounce? Window light with posterboard-bounced fill?

    I know I asked a lot but thanks for any info. -Hunter
     
  2. JonK

    JonK I want MORE!!

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    You could try a soft focus filter; I'd go very light tho. Headshots are supposed to be pretty documentary I think as opposed to 'arty'

    Lighting-wise I'd try to minimise any texture on her face; so go for more even lighting. Try to get the ratio pretty close whichever way you light the person.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    1) i wouldn't recommend it. those can easily look cheesy and overdone. besides, nothing beats blemish removal like just plain old touching up in photoshop (of course if you shoot film that may not be an option).

    2) I've found that natural light with a small reflector can work wonders for lighting, and is much more even toned than even a bounced flash.
     
  4. Youngun

    Youngun TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys. A window with a reflector (shiny side posterboard) will probably be my first try. That way I can see what I'm getting. (Photoshop is for cheaters :D )
     
  5. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    sounds like a good plan!

    "Photoshop is for cheaters :D"


    haha.

    so is the darkroom ;)
     
  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Good plan. You can do some with a diffuser. I have extensively used a piece of black pantyhose stretched over a filter-sized frame with good, consistant results. If you try this, use the cheapest hose you can find. The good ones often have a shine to them. Also, the filter factor will be about one stop.

    General retouching should always be a given. I think Photoshop would be your best bet since you're shooting with a small camera. General retouching is not cheating; it's just professional.

    Good luck!

    -Pete
     
  7. Youngun

    Youngun TPF Noob!

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    I've heard about the pantyhose thing. How do you get it to stay on and keep tight?
     
  8. JonK

    JonK I want MORE!!

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    elastic band:thumbup:
     
  9. Corry

    Corry Flirtacious and Bodacious Supporting Member

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    I use foam core board for a reflector...much more sturdy! Also, I've diffused my flash using kleenex. It's not perfect, but it works for me. :)
     
  10. yummifruitbat

    yummifruitbat TPF Noob!

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    D'oh!

    I can't believe you passed up the opportunity to say "suspenders" :p
     
  11. JonK

    JonK I want MORE!!

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    dang..missed that one:confused:
    i really like the result you get with pantyhose. Just make sure you stretch it nice and tight and experiment with diff types. some may be tighter woven than others.
     
  12. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I always used a bellows lens hood to hold a vignette, so I made a black cardboard frame (two, actually to make a sandwich) and used ATG tape to hold the panty hose in place. I finished the edges with black photographer's tape. I used it by shoving it to the back of the hood, close to the lens. Using the same tape, I made a flap for easy removal from the lens hood.

    It looks like this:
    [​IMG]
     

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