It's Not an Animal! - Attempted Portait. C&C Welcome

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Caity, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Caity

    Caity TPF Noob!

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    Hey! My first shot that is not a rat or a dog for you all to see. I practically forced my sister into sitting still for some shots...

    What do you think?

    [​IMG]

    Figured out quickly my fill light can't properly "fill" when the main light is MUCH stronger. My sister is incapable of looking happy as well. She's my little emo sister.

    From a technical standpoint, how goes it? You think it's too tight a crop? The shirt was a t-shirt and the white of her arm was distracting so I tried to crop and leave that out.
     
  2. fokker

    fokker No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think it looks really good. What was your lighting setup? The shadows across her face suit her sombre expression. Maybe it would be nicer to see a bit more definition between her hair and the background, but it doesn't look too bad as it is.
     
  3. Caity

    Caity TPF Noob!

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    That was exactly my thought about the hair!! No one here at the house I showed it to thought that but I still had that niggling about it. I thought the wrinkling in the sheet (background) might help with that a bit.

    As for lighting... Overhead and to the right was a flourescent light (this was done in our basement). To the left I had my tripod set up with my external flash, and I bounced that off the ceiling. There was a lamp on the bottom right, but I can't for the life of me remember where it was pointed or if it was even on for this shot... *blushes* I was trying so many different things to get rid of this stupid shadow that kept cropping up.

    I didn't do much in PP; I didn't change the lighting or contrast or anything like that. I retouched her face a bit as she had some blemishes. But even then it was very minute.
     
  4. CSR Studio

    CSR Studio TPF Noob!

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    You never want to have a woman straight on to the camera. Always have their shoulder pointer toward the camera. And their shoulders back. That is a more feminine pose.
     
  5. Caity

    Caity TPF Noob!

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    I'm positive that is a basic rule I have read somewhere, and more than once. Thanks for the reminder!
     
  6. RauschPhotography

    RauschPhotography TPF Noob!

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    The hair/background/shirt all blend in too much :/ Would be nice if she could wear a color other than black!
     
  7. Mulewings~

    Mulewings~ TPF Noob!

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    First attempt? Very nicely done. Portraits are pretty hard to learn from scratch!
     
  8. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    And she is too close to the background
     
  9. Pugs

    Pugs TPF Noob!

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    Or, if you had a kicker light to give her hair and shirt some separation from the background. Black on black can be a cool looking portrait.

    And GSGary's right about getting her off the background. Six feet or more off the background and the wrinkles/shadows/etc... start to be much less noticeable.

    Oh, and your sister looks SO much like my little emo niece that I found the pic a little eerie...
     
  10. Layspeed

    Layspeed TPF Noob!

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    I think it's a great first (person) portrait :thumbup: You can only improve from this right?
     
  11. Caity

    Caity TPF Noob!

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    Yep, she was too close to the background. That's for sure and for certain. *jots that down*

    Pugs could you explain about the kicker light? I am trying my hardest to learn about lighting but if I read it online or even in books, it just... Goes over the top of my head. I need to find a lighting workshop somewhere. I bought "The Complete Guide to Light and Lighting in Digital Photography" by Michael Freeman in an attempt to learn... But I'll be jiggered if I understood most of it.

    RP... I agree with you there. However my sister, if she is not wearing black, is wearing something with words all over the front. For instance, before I asked her to change she had on a Run DMC shirt. But I was really taken with the black on black. In reality, that sheet is dark grey... I do have a lighter one though, might work better! I'd like to try this set up again and make a few adjustments, taking in to account all the comments here, and see how it goes.

    Thanks guys!
     
  12. Pugs

    Pugs TPF Noob!

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    A kicker light or rim light or hair light are various terms for a secondary (or sometimes tertiary, quaternary, quinary, or more) lighting instrument that is usually placed to the side, above, below, and or behind to varying degrees to give more definition to the subject "kicking" it/him/her out from the background a bit. I do like the black on black look. When you're doing that, though, think about whether you want the subject to have some separation or to fade into the background like this.

    The gray sheet is showing somewhat close to black because the light is falling off quickly, which is neither a good thing or a bad thing and can be controlled by shutter speed and by having a lighting instrument illuminating the background or not. You can make white show as black or black show as white with the right set-up... though you'll have to work at it for those extremes. This is one of the reasons why gray backgrounds are somewhat popular. You can have them show gray, white, or black (or colored with different gels) so you're basically getting multiple backgrounds with a single one.
     

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