Senior Pictures, first time using a strobe

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by Cely, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. Cely

    Cely TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone,
    I recently shot some senior pictures, and it was the first time I was able to take my new strobe out. I used a Nikon SB-800 on a stand, and we used a reflective board to bounce the light. Tell me what you think.
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    [​IMG]
    2.
    [​IMG]
    3.
    [​IMG]

    Thanks everyone
     
  2. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    First one is pretty good, could have used a little more light on the guy and some light behind her in particular to make her hair stand away from the bushes a little better.

    Second one is OK, maybe some light camera left would have helped - I don't know.

    Third one needs a lot of help.
    1. What's the subject, the tracors or him?
    2. The smallest feature in this photo is the subject, and he appears to be facing the sun... where's his eyes?
    3. Left tractor wheel is cut off, his foot is hidden behind the front tire and worst of all...
    4. You have both a John Deere and an International (I think) tractor in the same photo! :lol:
     
  3. Cely

    Cely TPF Noob!

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    Haha, they wanted both of their tractors in the picture!

    The sun was actually behind him, whats lighting his face up is my flash, and its coming from the left. I felt the same thing when I looked at his face, (wheres his eyes?). They are open, but as you can see in the first picture, his eyes are squinty naturally.
    Ill try to crop it somewhat and make it look better.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    I should clarify that a lot of times when I leave my comments I'll point out things I see that bother me and move on (I typically post between things at work).

    You're doing good, keep having fun with it - lighting is a whole new world, enjoy!
     
  5. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    1 and 2 are quite nice for a first time out with light. But both of them could have used a little bit more light on the subject.

    3 The subject is just too far. Sometimes, as a photographer, you have to educate your clients. For a portrait, he is just too small a part of the image. You could have moved the tractors closer together, have him reclining on the tire of one with his feet propped up on the other one. Or something like that as long as it brought you in much closer. Which also would have helped with the light as you could then have used a reflector on his right side.

    Live and learn.
     
  6. red1013

    red1013 TPF Noob!

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    What kind of strobe did you get? I've been thinking I need one but not sure what to get.
     
  7. Cely

    Cely TPF Noob!

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    @red-Well, for now I am using my mothers Nikon SB-800. I have all of my own lighting equipment, except for a strobe, but I am using hers until I find out which one I should buy. :lol:

    @ cloudwalker- I definitely agree with you that the subject is just too far. But, the clients really wanted the picture. Im sure they will be happy with it, but its definitely not something I want to show off.
    I am definitely learning, thanks a lot everyone. I can really see an improvement in my photos since my last client.

    @Noyze- sorry if I sounded like I was trying to justify myself, I really take your critique seriously. And light definitely is a different world, and I will be enjoying it more as I learn!
     
  8. lschaaf

    lschaaf TPF Noob!

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    I like them. I'd increase the contrast on all of them. I agree on the first, the guy's face is too dark. On number 3, I don't mind cutting tires off the tractor, but I'd cut them on both sides to balance and add a grunge effect. Something like this, though this is just a quick edit... Oh, also, this would be a picture I would show off, I've sold a couple like this as canvas wraps or thin wraps. I think it's pretty cool and the "young" crowd seems to like it!

    [​IMG]

    Here's another with just a slight contrast and curves adjustment so you can see how it adds just a bit of pop. Looks a little strong here, better on my screen in photoshop but you get the gist!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think you have a white balance issue with your originals, as well as a bit of an issue with underexposure. The post processing corrections lschaff did on your samples in post #8 is more the direction I think you need to go. Honestly, for outdoor,daylight flash fill-in using something as low-powered as an SB 800 with a Nikon camera that has a baseline ISO of 200, I think that bouncing your speedlight (roughly a 60-watt-second flash in terms of a Speedotron studio strobe) I think you are wasting your time,and yor speedlight's limited output, by bouncing the flash off of a bounce board or an umbrella. Many beginners think they need to soften-up fill-flash outdoors. Not so, really, just not needed. Your main light in all these is the sun, a point light source; your fill in can also be a point source,and it will look great if you just get the balance of ambient to daylight right.

    Outdoors, fill-flash that is shot even directly on-axis, right on the camera's hotshoe, can be mae to look pretty good if you get the right balance between the ambient light exposure and the speedlight's flash output. The problem really lies with bright sunlight, and Nikon bodies that have an ISO 200 base ISO and a maximum flash synch speed of 1/200 second; your "basic sunny sixteen rule" means you are stuck at 1/200 second at ISO 200 at f/16 or thereabouts. Regardless, with "most" Nikon d-slrs except the D70 and D40 series that can synch flash with daylight up to very high speeds, you are STUCK using a top shuter speed of 1/200 second AND a small f/stop like f/11 to f/16, and at THAT small of an f/stop, your SB 800 has very little range or power, and even LESS rang and power when you bounce its output off of a foam-core or other refelctor surface.

    The base ISO of 200 is a limitation of many Nikons, and one area where Canon's original 5D with a baseline ISO of 50 proves its worth for more flexibility outdoors,allowing you to use larger apertures for more shallow Depth of Field, and simply more choices in terms of ISO/flash/f-stop combos when doing outdoor fill-flash work.

    I think you have the right idea with your Nikon--to shoot with the sun back behind the subjects, or sidelighting the subjects somewhat and using flash to fill-in and brighten the shaded side, but you really need to get the flash power UP, higher, and the easiest way to do it would be to get rid of the flash bounce board, and go to straight, undiffused, bare flash which will look perfectly FINE outdoors.
     
  10. Cely

    Cely TPF Noob!

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    @Ischaaf- Hey, I like what you did with that tractor picture! Thanks for the advice.

    @Derrel- I really appreciate all the detailed C&C you give. I've been playing around with my strobe since I took these photos, and I discovered exactly what you said, that I am pretty limited with my iso (100 on my D200). Also, I've been playing with the strobe without using a umbrella, and I am liking the effects better than with an umbella. Once again, thanks for the advice. It doesnt go to waste!
     
  11. CSR Studio

    CSR Studio TPF Noob!

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    Derrel is right. Your little flash can't compete with the sun, that is like putting a kitten up against a lion. You are dealing with the sun, use a bare bulb, no bounce, no diffusion or anything else. The only thing you can do is to lighten the faces and create some catchlights. I call it wink light, because it is just a little wink of light that brightens up the faces and makes them look fresh.
     
  12. Crimsonandwhite

    Crimsonandwhite TPF Noob!

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    Cely, couple of things...

    1) When shooting larger people always try to get a higher vantage point so they dont have to be looking down. Just that little adjustment will take pounds off of people.

    2) this is the place to learn about strobing..... Strobist go to his lighting 101 and 102 areas and read, this guy took me from no-nothing to expert (kinda compared to what I knew before)

    Good luck! Strobes open up a whole new world of photography!
     

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