First attempt at Portrait Lighting - cc plz

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by SquarePeg, Feb 16, 2018.

  1. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Nevertheless... Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Still have a long way to go, especially with any post processing work but hoping to get some feedback on the lighting (and whatever else you think would be helpful). Watched a couple of videos and decided I had enough of a clue to get into some trial and error. I have a few more that I’ll post later but this one is pretty representative of the lighting in all. What do you think? Suggestions for next tine? This was with 2 softboxes. Key light camera left at a 45 degree angle, 2nd softbox used for hair light maybe should have been a bit higher?

    36972E4C-BFA2-4291-9C7D-6A93C7D0B9CC.jpeg


     
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  2. JonA_CT

    JonA_CT TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I think you've done really well for your first shot. I agree with the hair light...I think a little higher would be nice, and maybe 1/3 of a stop less power.

    I also really like putting a reflector in front and below the face (princess could have even held it in this one for you). I like the soft, large catchlight it produces, and it brings just a tiny bit more definition to the shadows. You can use a 4-in-1...but I have a tri-fold poster that cost 5 bucks that I use more often. I think it's easier to position.

    Of course -- the experts will stop by soon ;) .
     
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  3. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper Furtographer Extraordinaire! Supporting Member

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    Great first portrait.

    I like the power of the hair light and agree it could be higher. The key light could use a bit more power. Maybe 1/2 a stop more.
     
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  4. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Nevertheless... Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. The lights are cheap ones that I borrowed from a friend and not adjustable for power. I tried to turn the hair light at an angle that would lessen its impact and I think that’s when I lost the light on the crown. We did use a foam board for a reflector in a few of the shots but not this one. On the back of it is my daughter and her BFF;s “bucket list”. I was going crazy trying to figure out where I had left the board and then noticed it on the desk in Princess’s room, lol.

    I really like working with continuous light. I may need to get more into this portrait thing! Got to get good enough by senior year so I can do the senior portraits for the squad. Trying to decide what to buy for myself. I have 2 speedlights so probably umbrellas... a little Creative Live is a dangerous thing...

    Thanks for your comments. Yes the key light was a bit weak. I had to bump the exposure on almost every shot. I wish I had moved it a bit closer. Going to do a reshoot tomorrow while I have the lights here. I may try adding a diffused speedlight to the mix. Do continuous light and flash mix?
     
  5. JonA_CT

    JonA_CT TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    You'd probably like the Adorama Flashpoint strobes that everyone talks about on here. I think they're around $120ish? (I could look it up...but you know...), and they'll have a modeling light and a strobe.

    I'd be wary of mixing continuous light and speed lights...I'd bet the color temperature is different so it might be hard to set the white balance.
     
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  6. zombiesniper

    zombiesniper Furtographer Extraordinaire! Supporting Member

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    From my limited experience they would have to be pretty powerful continuous lights to have much of an effect.
     
  7. DanOstergren

    DanOstergren Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Beautiful lighting. I feel as if the shot is under exposed, with flat contrast, and the skin has a purple cast to it that to me prevents her from having a healthy "glow. I think if you were to increase the exposure in the highlights it would add some life to her skin and give the image some nice contrast, and a warmer white balance would give her some healthier skin tones. I would also suggest reducing the saturation in the lips, specifically the areas that are rendered in a neon tone. The whites of the eyes have a tone to them that almost make her look high (not sure, she totes could have been), but you can fix that pretty easily with a layer mask over a color balance adjustment layer in photoshop. I added contrast using a Curves adjustment layer, and adjusted the white balance using a Selective Color adjustment layer. I would try getting the white balance right in camera rather than having to do major corrections in photoshop though. Personally I always have my white balance set to "shade" no matter the light conditions, to ensure warmer and richer skin tones. If it ends up being too warm, you can adjust in RAW, but more often than not it works out.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
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  8. DanOstergren

    DanOstergren Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I just want to say you did a great job. I also want to reinforce the idea that the quality or price of gear should almost never have an effect on the outcome of the photograph. Don't be afraid to use higher ISO settings so you can get brighter exposures if you're using low output lights; noise wont hurt your portraits.

    What really counts is how you're using your light for shaping the features of your subject, and it looks like you have that down well. Make sure you focus on getting the exposure and white balance right as well, and your portraits will start to really improve.
     
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  9. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Nevertheless... Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks for your feedback in this and your other response. The original version had the wb much warmer and I “fixed” it so that’s a good lesson to learn for me to leave well enough alone. I love your edit and will try to do it myself on the raw file. I’ll try your wb to shade tip next time. I used to do that all the time on my Nikon but after switching to Fuji I’ve been using auto wb a lot.

    I hope she’s not high since it’s my daughter who just turned 15 last month!

    Thanks for the encouragement.
     
  10. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Nice start. I have found chrome simulation works well on portraits, using AWB. It will give you that look of Dan's edit.
     
  11. Granddad

    Granddad Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think everyone has covered most of the serious points (good work on the lighting etc) so that leaves the picky stuff that everyone points out to me that I've missed. ;)

    Unlike Dan I assumed that she wasn't high but she does looked b.o.r.e.d. (get on with it Mother, I want to get back to snapchat!).
    Do you talk as you shoot? Talk to your subject, joke, encourage, DIRECT them towards the expression you want and when they hit it or even get close ENTHUSE and tell them how fantastic they look. That was hard for me to learn to do but it is SO worth the effort because it works wonders and you see your subject start to glow and perform for the camera.
    Shoulders. The hair over her right shoulder in this case prevents football shoulders but it's good practice to have your female subjects stand at an angle of about 35 to 45 degrees and turn their heads towards the camera.
    Before you shoot a series of shots look at your subject and check for things that are out of place. She may have been perfect when she entered the studio or for the previous batch of shots but check again. Somehow that necklace got skewed around and it's distracting.

    This is all stuff I learned from some of the stalwarts here to whom I owe what small skill I have gained over the last few years. It feels odd to be passing it on. :)

    I will add in fairness that young teens (especially your own kids) who have their arms twisted to model for you are notoriously difficult subjects. No matter how attractive they are they tend to lack confidence. I personally much prefer to shoot women over 25, or even better, women over 45. :)

    P.S. All my studio strobes are stuff off Ebay or Amazon and the only item that cost more than about £60 is my new vinyl wall mounted backdrop. If you can afford it brand names are fine but you don't have to break the bank and reduce your family to penury :D.
     
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  12. Cortian

    Cortian No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't know portrait work from nothin', so take the following FWIW...

    Built this the other day, based on member @ac12's suggestion, I believe it was:

    [​IMG]

    It's aluminium foil tacked to cardboard with spray-on adhesive, non-shiny-side-out. (N.B.: He suggested crumpling it, with shiny-side-out, I assume.)

    I haven't tried it, yet.

    I prefer it, too, but what I've seen and read suggests sufficient continuous light is really expensive.

    I have read that the further back you can be (w/in reason) the less it freaks out your subject. There are also DoF considerations, from my limited experience with other subjects. (Mainly cats :).)

    Heed colour temperature.

    I have an OttLite I bought for macro work. It's alleged to have a colour temperature similar to daylight. I believe speedlights are a similar temperature. But normal room incans, LEDs, fluorescents, halogens, etc. would be a mismatch. A white card can't fix that, because the different light sources will almost certainly have different angles of incidences.

    I have seen professionals that came in to do product photography where I used to work use continuous light and speedlights together. They'd have these gigantuous reflective umbrella things set up to light the entire "stage," then speedlights in addition.

    Re: The photo. My only thought was the shadows were too deep, but, as I said: I don't know from portrait photography.
     

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