Q: Re portrait settings

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by Johnboy2978, Aug 14, 2006.

  1. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you guys were shooting portraits with a Pentax 50mm 1.4 lens, what type of setting would you typically go for? I am trying to get good rich colors, and have some difficulty doing so. I use an Alien Bee 800 as my primary source of lighting, and I typically go with f/2.8 to 3.5 and a shutter speed of 1/180. I typically have the light set between 1/8 to 1/4 power depending on the ambient light to get a balanced exposure. Is it solely in the lighting that brings out rich and true colors?
    I also have a Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 lens that I could also use. Which would be better for portraits? I had always read to use a prime lens for portraits, but read an article today about using a zoom to soften the features a bit by increasing the distance between the subject and camera.

    Thanks, Any comments would be helpful.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    What medium are you using? Film or digital?

    The 50 is a 'normal' length lens but it's often recommended to use a longer lens to 'flatten' a person. (as opposed to shooting with a wide angle which would distort them). On a smaller sensor (smaller than 35mm film), 50mm might be pretty good.

    If you lights (or exposure) is too bright...it may wash out some color so don't overexpose.

    Other than that, I would count on the film for rich color or edit the digital file.
     
  3. JEazy

    JEazy TPF Noob!

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    use a low ISO, set your shutterspeed to 1/100, and adjust your aperature as needed, usually around f/9, and adjust your lighting as needed. Also, try and get your hands on a diffuser or an umbrella.
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Can you post an example photo? Are you using any other light source, reflector, etc... than just the one monolight?
     
  5. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sorry, I'm at work and don't have an example I could post. I shoot digitial mostly with a pentax ist ds. I always shoot at iso 200 as that is as low as my ds will go. I also have a 48" silver/white reversible umbrella that I use. I don't have a diffuser, but have found that a sheer piece of white fabric works well to soften the light. This is the only light I have currently, so I use it with the addition of whatever ambient light is coming through the window. The histograms look decent with data in each of the 4 sections and a somewhat "normal" distribution and I can get a decent image with photoshop in post processing. I was just trying to get a little closer in camera to reduce time at the computer.

    Thanks for the help.
     
  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'd use the white side of the umbrella.

    Don't forget to consider color temperture when mixing light sources. You should be fine when using your strobe with daylight, but turn off any other lamps (incandescent, fluorescent) that are lighting your subject. The best second "light" when working with one strobe is a reflector. No worry about a color shift if you use something white or silver.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Pete

    AND... shutter speed will not have an effect on the strobe exposure.
     

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