Off Camera lighting - first try - C&C please

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by tdz16, May 8, 2010.

  1. tdz16

    tdz16 TPF Noob!

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    I'm trying to get into portraiture/off camera lighting. Today I used the vivitar 285 on a light stand at an approximate 45* angle between myself and the subject. Pocketwizards to trigger.

    I used the 18-135 lens towards the upper range of the lens. There were no light modifiers used at all.

    I did de-noise, play with white balance, saturation and contrast. I applied an unsharp mask at the end to try to offset some of the lost sharpness by de-noising.

    I'm not really going to go into details on what I feel about these, since I would like to know what the community here will see. If you are going to offer criticisms, please offer a solution to the problem, that is the only way I will learn. Thanks in advance!

    ~Tom

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  2. Timothy

    Timothy TPF Noob!

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    okay, here goes, in the first two i feel that the flash is to bright and has over powered the feel of the image, to me it screams flash camera left, especially with the shadow behind her.
    i'd say to fix this a diffuser might have helped or if you lowered the power a little, or an umbrella or softbox.

    the 3rd image looks much better, though i still feel that it is a littel tobright.
    you should try and blend the flash in with the natural lighting already so that you can't tell that flash has bene used.
    in the last image i feel that the flas is insufficient, perhaps it was too far away, and you could also have tried using a reflector on the other side to lighten up the shadows, on the clothing, which personally i find annoying, and the pose sort of looks a little off, seems like she is turning too much.

    but overall, great shots, and keep practising, trial and error is the only way to learn.
     
  3. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi Tom,
    #1&2 - First things first - composition. Here you have this gorgeous subject but she really isn't the topic of these images. Centered horizon with a little blimp (your subject) takes away from what could have been a nice picture. A diffuser (umbrella shoot-through/reflective or softbox) would definitely be of great help.
    #3 &4 - again composition - you have a great subject but she is hidden in the field full of grass.

    I'm not commenting on the pose, only b/c composition and lighting are far more important aspect that need to be addressed. Once you get a handle of those two, your posing is likely to fall into the right place.

    Here's a site I often recommend to anyone who wants to learn portrait lighting. Portrait Lighting

    If you have a light-meter, try these settings with exposure:
    If at ISO 400, 1/125sec, light-meter reads f/8 on your subject, shoot at f/11 (underexposing the scene by one stop) + a flash with a diffuser (mentioned above) to illuminate your f/11 subject.
     
  4. I am Ivar

    I am Ivar TPF Noob!

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    Not sure if a lot can be added after the above comments...but you might also want to try and play around with the colour temperatures of the different light sources a bit.

    To me it feels like the flash is too cold while the outdoor light is warmer, you can try adjusting this using coloured gels on the flash or in post processing (although I much prefer getting it right in camera ;-))

    Or try playing around with getting more of the ambient light in and using the flash to gently light the talent up a bit.

    cheers,
    Ivar
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I would just add that raising the light would have helped minimise the shadow beside her.
     
  6. tdz16

    tdz16 TPF Noob!

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    I agree about the flash on 1&2. I don't have an umbrella or softbox yet, but I do have a 5-in-1 reflector which is a diffuser when you take the reflective cover off, would that work if I fire the flash through it?

    In the last one and really most of them, could I have used a second flash at a lower power camera right as a fill for the shadows? Thanks.

    I kind of feel like if I agree with what you say about 1&2, it contradicts what I felt about 3&4. The composition of the first 2 is a competition between the background and the subject if I'm understanding you correctly. Yet, to me, the last 2 allow the subject to be against a "patterned" backdrop so to speak where there is really nothing to look at but her. Maybe you can just clarify what you meant. I think I'm missing something. I will say that I immediately wished there wasn't so much grass between her and the water in the first 2. Like she needs to be higher in the frame for it to work. I appreciate the help/observation.

    Yeah, I need to pick up some gels. I honestly keep forgetting every time I'm at the store. Thanks for the comment.

    I didn't even THINK of doing that and I can see how that would pull the shadow in tighter.


    Thanks to everyone for commenting and offering advice, please continue to answer my questions as I work through this post. I really appreciate your help.

    ~Tom
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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  8. indeedies

    indeedies TPF Noob!

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  9. tdz16

    tdz16 TPF Noob!

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    I've been wondering, in particular, if I used another flash on the right hand side as fill, would the two flashes cancel each others shadows out? Since one would be the key light and the other fill, there would be some shadow still right?

    Thanks and any more C&C would really be appreciated.

    ~Tom
     
  10. Timothy

    Timothy TPF Noob!

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    well the idea of the "fill" flash is to do exactly that, fill in, not to be the main light source. it should almost be the equilivent of a reflector. otherwise you end up with cross over shadows.
    as you said, it's just to lighten uup the shadows, not completely remove them. as hte human eye works on shadows to determine distance and 3d and what not, yadda yadda yadda, keep a bit of shadow.
     

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