Portrait...of sorts.....

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by battletone, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. battletone

    battletone TPF Noob!

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    I haven't done many "portraits". So pointers would be nice.

    Outside of the tree poking him in the head, and the phone line, I am more or less happy with this...considering the situation I had.

    My cousins homecoming, this is a friend of his. It was the first photo I took and it was the last before the on camera flash was mandatory due to a quickly decreasing light situation hindering my 3.5-5.6 lens. I didn't schedule the thing, I just road along.


    [​IMG]
     
  2. txphotog

    txphotog TPF Noob!

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    All in all, I think it's a really good photo. I don't think the background is too distracting because it's out of focus. Maybe clone out the red area on the bottom center of the photo and it would be better. Other than that, it's a good one in my opinion.
     
  3. chip

    chip TPF Noob!

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    how about adding a fill in flash?
     
  4. battletone

    battletone TPF Noob!

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    You mean from the camera, a hot shoe, or from a remote?

    I took most of the others with the flash on the camera, with various shutter speeds, but I have to admit ignorance as to how to properly use fill flash. I guess my flash knowledge is all or nothing. I have been reading everything I can but I haven't gotten around reading about fill flash outside of a website on real estate photography that had a few pages on it...and that was mostly using off camera sources, which I am not ready to invest in since I think I other areas I need to cover first. Got a tripod and remote about 2 weeks ago.

    I am kind of unsure what to make it....as from the angle it wouldn't be the tree or have any of the house.
     
  5. ASPbreakdown

    ASPbreakdown TPF Noob!

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    Nothing really bad with this shot, just lacks that "pop", seems kinda dull in color to me.

    I would suggest to never use your on-camera flash. It usually produces just a "snap shot" type image. Either buy an off camera flash like an sb-600 (if youre a nikon guy) or 430ex (canon guy). Grab a reflector and thatll help as well.

    I shoot almost 100% with just natural light and about 75% of the time with no reflector. It's all about knowing how to use the light you have.
     
  6. iolair

    iolair No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It's nice. Would have been improved with a shallower DOF (more out-of-focus background), if your lens allowed it. I might have tried to shift around to have just the tree, and not the house, behind them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
  7. _rebecca_

    _rebecca_ TPF Noob!

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    I find the skin softening too much, they look like ken and barbie ;) I also think having them looking at you rather than off to some other camera would have been an improvement. I don't find the background that distracting, but I agree shooting more head on would probably have eliminated any problems with it.
     
  8. chip

    chip TPF Noob!

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    using a camera mounted flash is usually not a great idea...you want it off the camera if possible...except a photo like yours, outdoors, an on camera fill flash would have been nice to use. You won't see any shadows on the background and will eliminate the shadow on their faces.
     
  9. Actor

    Actor TPF Noob!

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    I'm no expert on fill flash but I think the use of any flash pretty much dictates what your aperture must be, meaning you have no control of DOF. It's a trade off. You can control DOF or you can have fill flash, but not both, unless by sheer luck the aperture for fill flash just happens to match what you need for the DOF you want.

    But then again maybe you could back off and zoom in. Then...

    At this point my head hurts too much to go on.
     
  10. battletone

    battletone TPF Noob!

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    So fill flash is based on your aperture? Not the timing, or how powerful of a flash?
     
  11. Actor

    Actor TPF Noob!

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    They are all interrelated. The algorithm I've tried to use for fill flash was developed by Ansel Adams. It goes thus:

    1. Divide the flash's guide number by the camera-to-subject distance to get the "normal aperture."
    2. Stop down two stops from normal aperture.
    3. Compose your shot and take a meter reading.
    4. Adjust your shutter speed for the correct exposure.
    If the shutter speed you get at step 4 is less than or equal to the camera's maximum sync speed then you're good to go. If it's faster, which can happen on a bright day, you have problems. To get your shutter speed you need to either stop down your aperture some more or use a faster ISO. If you stop down your aperture then you need a more powerful flash to compensate. If you increase ISO (an option usually open only to digital users. Kind of tough to do with film) then you have changed the guide number and must do back to step 1.

    So getting correct aperture and shutter speed (and perhaps ISO) for a proper flash fill is tough enough. Now you want to throw control of DOF into the mix? Get the aspirin.

    DOF is controlled by aperture and focal length. You probably set your focal length (zoom) when you composed your shot, so you don't want to use that. But if you change the aperture (a preferred method for controlling DOF) you have upset your flash fill settings and are back to square one.

    Every time I've tried to use flash fill all this math has slowed me down, invariably taxing the patience of my subject. That's the main reason I don't really have much experience with it, and the reason my head starts to hurt. :lol:
     
  12. chip

    chip TPF Noob!

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    Try the "H" high speed mode on a Canon flash. You will see that it allows you to use any shutter speed you need - and thus a much wider range of aperture.
     

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