Photo shoot idea and questions

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Bryant, Sep 23, 2008.

  1. Bryant

    Bryant TPF Noob!

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    I'm thinking about planning a photoshoot where you take a picture against a black backing with a person in complete darkness and then flashing it just to iluminate a few portions of the face. I really can't explain what my idea is but most people have heard or seen pictures of this.

    How do you achieve this pictures, do i set the expos. etc for the background or the person, do you use umbrellas or can i use my 430 ex? I have access to a whole photo studio so anything needed i can get ahold of.

    Thanks
     
  2. Bryant

    Bryant TPF Noob!

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    Like this...

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Bryant

    Bryant TPF Noob!

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    Any ideas?
     
  4. petercox

    petercox TPF Noob!

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    Well, if you took that shot then you've answered your own question. If it's just one you are using to illustrate your point, then read on:

    Firstly, you need off-camera flash. You can do that with your 430EX, but you need an off-camera shoe cord (about $50) and a stand for the flash (they generally come with one in the pouch).

    Set your subject up at some distance from the background (to minimize reflected light from it). Ideally you should use a dark paper backing, or some equally dark surface. In a pinch you can use a light background - just so long as the subject is at a good distance from it.

    Set your flash at whatever position you want in relation to your subject, put the flash in manual mode and select your power setting. How high depends on the background. If you're using a dark background to begin with (and the studio is dark) then a low power setting will work. If you don't have a dark background, a higher setting will be necessary because it will need to drown out the ambient light in the room.

    Now, set the camera to manual exposure and set the shutter speed to the maximum flash sync speed. Start taking shots, adjusting your aperture until you get the effect you're looking for.

    If there's any residual background, you can use an adjustment layer in Photoshop to black it out.

    Here's an example:
    [​IMG]

    .. and the original unprocessed RAW:
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, I didn't have a dark background, so I put the subject far from the backing stand and set the strobe to full power. This meant that in order to have a properly exposed image, I needed to use a very small aperture, low ISO and the flash sync shutter speed. Settings for this shot were: f/22, ISO 50 and 1/125.

    Had I taken the image without flash, the shot would be totally black. The light you can see on the backing stand in the unaltered shot is reflected from the strobe - I moved away from it so the inverse square law would work in my favour and make sure it wasn't too bright.

    In Photoshop, I opened up a curves layer and set the black point very high - essentially making the image totally black. I then inverted the layer mask and used a soft-edged brush to paint the effect in for the background. Lastly I used a black&white layer to convert the image to grayscale.

    For the shot you put there as an example, looks like two strobes behind and to either side of the subject, but otherwise it's about the same. If you're positioning your flash so that it's pointing anywhere near at your lens, you need to be very careful of flare - use your lens hood and/or shade the lens with your hand/piece of card/hat/whatever.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers,
    Peter
     
  5. Bryant

    Bryant TPF Noob!

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    Thank you, just the kind of explanation I was looking for. The image i posted was not mine, i found it on the net.

    Thanks
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That first pic is very easy... it's just strong side lighting with 2 oppossing lights. Best effect would be likely with 2 tightly snooted or spot gridded flashes.
     
  7. Bryant

    Bryant TPF Noob!

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    A friend helped me out by lending me a black velvet backdrop, Canon 580EXII Speedlite, an exposure reader thing (I know how to use it, although I can't recall the name haha), flash stand, and wires. I plan on shooting in the morning. I'll post some before and after shots to show what I've done and hopefully explain my steps more in detail.
     
  8. McQueen278

    McQueen278 TPF Noob!

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    Snoots will be kind to you.
     

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