I need some help with a portrait please

Discussion in 'Critique Forum Archives' started by Hair Bear, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. Hair Bear

    Hair Bear TPF Noob!

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    I took this at these at the weekend

    1
    [​IMG]

    2
    [​IMG]


    The sun was very low, winter at around 3pm UK time.

    Shot onto Kodak 400 asa film, thats what was in the camera.

    Nikon F801 with Nikkor 35-70mm lens, aperture around 5.

    I'd like to know who to improve them.

    Would a reflector, bottom left have helped with softening the shadow.

    I think I needed to meter more from the highlight on the face, is this the most important piece?

    I also took some closer shots with scarf around her mouth (there on the next dev film) as she is a bit worried about her zits - oh to be young again.

    Any constructive help please. The wall is always there so I can return and try again when the suns out and the model is one of my kids.
     
  2. oCyrus55

    oCyrus55 TPF Noob!

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    Well I don't have anything to say about using film because I shoot digital (but I did just acquire an old Canon AE-1). Anyway, when shooting outside I try to avoid having the model in direct sunlight. Maybe go behind a building or under a tree where the light is not directly shining on her. A reflector would help, but it would be a lot easer if someone could hold that for you. And when it is really bright outside like it was for you this weekend, you should probabley shoot with a filter, like a polarizer.

    And for me, most of the time, when I shoot just the face and shoulders of a person like you did here, I like to shoot vertical.

    And for the reflector, just get a large piece of cardboard and staple silver aluminum foil to one side and gold aluminum foil to the other.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    They look to be overexposed...not too badly though. If that's what you wanted, then that's OK. I would prefer to have less exposure...which would, of course, darken the shadows...which would really enhance the need for fill light. A reflector would have worked well.

    I'm not sure I like how close she is to the wall...and with the angle of the light...I don't really like the shadow on the wall. Again, that's your call.

    I would like to see her eye better. He hair is covering her eyes.
     
  4. Hair Bear

    Hair Bear TPF Noob!

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    Yes, it seemed to be a good idea at the time. Going for contrast but they didn't come out how I was expecting.

    AH the joys of digital, shoot - look, re shoot, tinker. No such luck with good old film and I'm still learning a lot.

    I'd like to try again with a reflector to see if I could soften the shadow and also spot meter on the high light.
     
  5. Jeremy Z

    Jeremy Z No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Unless you want the shadow on the brick wall, consider moving her away from it. The thing about portraits is that it is all about the person. You don't want things to distract from that. (such as the wall in perfect focus and the shadow on the wall)

    Move her away from the way, stop the lens down all the way, and zoom it out all the way to 70mm. Try a shot with a mild amount of fill flash, and if you can, set the flash exposure compensation to -0.5 or -1 so that it doesn't override the nice sidelighting.

    That's what I would try at least, but it is really all about what YOUR vision is.
     
  6. Hair Bear

    Hair Bear TPF Noob!

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    My vision was a softer but contrast face. Trying to include the warm tones of the winter sun with the colours of the bricks.

    I agree with the shadow on the wall. Ill stand her off it next time, although I like the relaxed fell of her leaning against it
     
  7. photochucker

    photochucker TPF Noob!

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    Hi

    Had a bit of time and thought I would see what I could do with the second shot.

    I worked it over a bit in PhotoImpact which I like to use for much of my digital work - it is not so demanding as PhotoShop and gives some pretty good results.

    I started off by adjusting the color balance, brightness and contrast to get a bit more fleshtone in her face - then I added flash fill - you could do the same by using a reflector when you shot it - after that I took away most of the shadow on the wall using the clone tool. I then cropped it to the square format - to make it all about her - not the girl and the wall. The final step was to blur up the brick wall - you can do this when shooting by adjusting the DOF. This then brings the young lady out into the center of the shot as she is the only item that is in focus.

    I don't know if that was the look that you were trying for??????

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/73431714@N00/361963477/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm1.static.flickr.com/140/361963477_933488e995_o.jpg" width="422" height="396" alt="29660024xf3a" /></a>
     
  8. Tyson

    Tyson TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys would a flash have taken the shadow off the wall?
     
  9. Hair Bear

    Hair Bear TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Photochucker, I'm going to have a crack at the hi res this weekend.

    I think the DOF is a little over done but I agree the shot does become more about the girl
     
  10. photochucker

    photochucker TPF Noob!

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    Tyson

    A fill flash could remove most of the shadow - BUT!!!! - the additional light will change the exposure needed - it would be very easy to overexpose if you don't make the adjustments.

    IMHO - the best way to shoot in this type of situation is by using reflected light - the reflected light is the same "temperature" as the sunshine and keeps the color truer than using an electronic flash unit. You can make them fairly inexpensively - aluminium foil on a carboard backing will often do the trick - I sometimes rumple up the foil rather than leaving it smooth - gives a softer (more diffused) light rather than a flat glare.

    Do a "google" on Peter Gowland and look at the equipment he used. His website is very good and often you can see how he shot the models.

    It would be nice to have a lot of money to have all the equipment - but in the end no matter what you are phtographing - it is still about focus and seeing the light.

    Hope this helps a bit
     

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