some simple questions

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by charles181, Jan 21, 2010.

  1. charles181

    charles181 TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys! My name is Charles (obviously), and I'm new to this forum, so nice to meet you all.

    I started getting into photography about a couple months ago and would like to know the best way to frame someone in portraits. For example, if I'm going to photograph my girlfriend on the beach, I know I would ideally like to keep her whole body in and capture the background, but what if I want a close-up shot--should I cut her off from the waist up? Thanks for the feedback.:D

    Also, I'm looking to get an external flash for my camera--is the 430ex good, or is there a better buy for a better price somewhere else?

    Lastly, can someone describe neutral density filters and how they work? I know they work well with running water or clouds because they can decrease the f-stops so you can increase your exposure time. But, what do those .6 or .9 stand for? My friend was talking to me about how this guy took a picture of the washington monument, and he left his exposure on for hours so it looked like no one was there. How do you do that?

    Sorry for the long thread, but you guys don't have to answer those questions all at once. Thanks again!
     
  2. GFreg

    GFreg TPF Noob!

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    Hi Charles and welcome to TPF. To answer your questions, yes if you were going to shoot a close-up of your girlfriend a shot from the waist up would be a good idea. I don't do portraits very often but if I remember correctly the common portrait shots are; full body, waist up and headshot (just below the shoulders). If you are doing full body or waist up shots then be mindful of the hands. Make sure they aren't doing something weird and they arent cut off.

    As for neutral density filters, the .6 or .9 that you refer to should be how much light the filter lets through. Try to avoid the screw on type ND filters as they limit you to having the split right down the middle.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Try to avoid having the edge of the frame cutting through a person's joints. So for example, don't cut her off at the knees, either include them or don't. Same deal with writs & elbows etc. Try not to cut of bits like the hands & feet. If you art that close to getting the whole person into the shot, the make sure you get them, you can always crop it a little closer later.

    Also consider what you might do with the photos down the road. For example, you may want to make a print, like an 8x10. But the ratio (4:5) of an 8x10 is different than what you camera shoots at (3:2). So to make an 8x10 print, you will need to crop something. If you didn't leave room for that cropping, you may have to cut something off, thus hurting the image.
     
  4. Felix0890

    Felix0890 TPF Noob!

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    To answer the flash question, the 430ex (either I or II) is a great flash. It's near the top of Canon's flash line and is a great bang for your buck. It's not their best in terms of power, but the difference between this one and its big brother is only noticeable by really picky professional photographers. I'd definitely go with it.
     
  5. charles181

    charles181 TPF Noob!

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    What do you mean by having the split right down the middle? Also, thanks for all the tips guys.

    Also, for ND filters, do each of them have a specific stops that make them unique? For example, one ND filter would be 3 stops down, while another one would be 2 stops down. Does this just relate to the .6 and .9?
     

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