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

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2013
    Messages:
    6,673
    Likes Received:
    4,078
    Location:
    Boston
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Good suggestion with the foil. I actually have a “real” reflector that can be white, black, silver or gold. It’s a bit too small for people but great for flowers. I’m planning to get a larger one for portraits. The folding ones that go into a small pouch are very convenient once you watch the “how to re-fold” video on YouTube 5 or 6 times...

    Thanks for the info about the light temps. That would look a bit funky.


     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  2. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Nevertheless... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2013
    Messages:
    6,673
    Likes Received:
    4,078
    Location:
    Boston
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Here are another couple of shots from yesterday that I like but have some obvious issues. The first is one of the few that Princess and I both like. However, the hand by her face is super white and not sure how/if it can be fixed - I burned it a little but it started to get weird looking. I cut the other hand off which I guess I’ll have to live with. I like the deep shadows but I did lift them a bit because we hadn’t used the hair light or reflector on this one.
    97D9F557-1E2E-473C-B87E-182C6CF8D905.jpeg

    Thus one is similar to the first but with a smile. I tried to follow Dans tips about wb and contrast.

    29CB1015-920A-410F-9488-4123EBD72CE2.jpeg
     
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2005
    Messages:
    42,140
    Likes Received:
    12,975
    Location:
    Victoria, BC
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Great expression, nice lighting... right hand posing... FAIL! Never present the back of the hand to the viewer (unless it's appropriate; say a sporting image), and never display tension in the hand. The location is also too high on the cheek; bring it down, have her relax it, and turn it so at least it's not full on back to the viewer.
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  4. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Nevertheless... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2013
    Messages:
    6,673
    Likes Received:
    4,078
    Location:
    Boston
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Will be doing a reshoot of this pose and really appreciate the detailed feedback, thanks.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    41,368
    Likes Received:
    15,651
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I looked at the first shot posted, and my feeling was that the shadows were too dense, that the black point is set too strongly, which is something I've noticed in a number of your photos. I'd like to see a little bit more detail in the shadows of the hair, and in the shirt. I think this is a black point setting issue. There's a second and third shot posted too, and in those I think the eyes look a little bit too dark, with not quite the level of eye iris detail/color that would make the most impact.

    I haven't had time to have read the comments of the other respondents to your post. I guess I'd say that for a first effort at portrait lighting, that your captures look okay, but the post-processing stage could help to enhance the original captures. If these were shot in .RAF mode, there might be enough bit depth to work on the blacks and to boost the detail in the darker parts of the hair and shirt. Perhaps the eyes could be lightened up a bit (in PS or in Lightroom's "iris enhance" tool).

    This type of lighting might also translate nicely to B&W portraits, where deeper blacks can often create strong contrast and drama.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    41,368
    Likes Received:
    15,651
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    One suggestion that you might try in the next portrait session with here would be to turn her body away from the light, so the light rakes across the torso, and turn her head the opposite direction, so her face is turned back, toward the key light. Aligning the face and the torso in the same direction is a traditional masculine posing strategy, and is many think, less-flattering for most women than is a cross-body head placement.

    You can also experiment with short lighting versus broad lighting. I think with her facial shape, I might try some short lighting set-ups and see how she looks illuminated that way, with both an aligned head/torso pose and with a cross-body pose. Body and head alignment depends too on the desired "look" or "ethos"; she's wearing an athletic type shirt and has a lot of bare arm showing, so striving for a strong, healthy, athletic body and head pose makes a lot of sense. If she were wearing say a formal, traditional blouse or blouse+sweater or jacket look, then the body posing could be done differently than in this wardrobe.
     
  7. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Nevertheless... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2013
    Messages:
    6,673
    Likes Received:
    4,078
    Location:
    Boston
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yes, the blackpoint is definitely an issue in these. I increased it in post because the background was showing up too light. I wanted a black background but only had a dark gray sheet to work with. I moved the lights as far from the background as I could but the sheet was still showing just a bit too much. I haven’t mastered masking with Affinity Photo yet but am working on that today so will try a re-edit of the raw files once I think I’ve got that down and then I can just darken the background and not affect the rest. That may resolve the eye issue as well. She has blue eyes but in most indoor photos they look dark.


    Off to google short lighting...

    Thanks for the feedback Derrel!
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    41,368
    Likes Received:
    15,651
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Bob Bill's comments in this thread reveal somebody who understand the subtleties of masculine and feminine body positioning and key light placement and direction. This type of commentary is hard to find because so many people have learned photography from YouTube and from journeymen teachers over the last decade, and because this type of knowledge is not widely passed along nor absorbed these days. This thread is also brief, but touches on the idea that one lights people not by simple rule, but by their age and character (and by the desired end result, which is implicit but not mentioned specifically); that's what I mean by the athletic wear vs formal clothing,and how those might be posed differently.

    Feminine vs. Masculine Primary Light Source Orientation

    You can look up broad and short lighting, but most of the example photos on-line on a Google search show no comparison of the two,basic body/face orientation opposites, but just a single broad vs short lighting, with only ONE body/face orientation.
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  9. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Nevertheless... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2013
    Messages:
    6,673
    Likes Received:
    4,078
    Location:
    Boston
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks for your feedback and suggestions about posing.

    Yes she was bored but that’s ok, at least she was “willing” to help (in exchange for a ride to the mall afterwards...). This was more about me learning to use lighting and trying out some of the things I’d been watching in online tutorials than anything else...
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Cortian

    Cortian No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2018
    Messages:
    503
    Likes Received:
    207
    Location:
    S.E. Michigan, USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Most of the photos I've taken I didn't expect to come out nicely--or at least as nicely as I'd like. Much less be award-winning. What I hope to do is figure out the mistakes, or have somebody point them out, and eventually Get It Right :)
     
  11. ac12

    ac12 No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Messages:
    903
    Likes Received:
    295
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Better than I could do.

    Thoughts:
    • Maybe a bit of fill light. Either with a reflector or another flash/strobe.
      • But this really depends on the look that you are going for.
    • Hair light
      • The angle of the hair light depends on what YOU want it to look like.
      • The traditional hair lights that I have seen light up the top of the head. But for a hobbyist, a horizontal boom supported light is a luxury that I do not have, nor the room to make it work. So I am still working on a practical hair light setup that will work for me.
    • Black background with a brunette is a problem, to get the hair separated from the background. I would have used a grey, dark grey or mottled background, just to get that hair/background separation.
      • Having a small assortment of different backgrounds to choose from helps.
      • I think the default for a single background is a mottled background.
      • A background light can lighten the background to give you that background/hair separation.
    • BUT, the serious look on her face does match with the black background.
      • So I would go with trying to illuminate the hair to give you the hair/background separation.
    • The pendant is off centered. OK, I'm a little OCD, and not being centered bothers my eye.
      • Jewelry in general can be a problem, because bright/shiny/brightly colored objects/jewelry will attract/distract the eye from the subjects face. So it can both compliment or detract from the subject.
      • In this case, if the pendant was centered, it would not have bothered me, but because it is off-centered, it becomes a distraction.
    To your questions:
    • Flash/strobes do not mix with continuous lights. You have to put a CTO filter on the flash/strobes to bring their color temp down to incandescent temp. This is something that I would just as well avoid, so best to use a single type of light source.
    • IMHO, when you start out, you want to use either continuous light or a strobe with a modeling light. This is so that you can see the light and shadow as you are positioning the light and the subject.
      • When I say strobe, I mean either a pack/head system (like Speedotron Brownline) or a monolight, which have modeling lights. I do NOT mean a shoe flash or similar.
      • If you use a shoe flash (strobist style), you have to wait till after the shot to see what the lighting looks like. So learning is much slower than with a continuous light or modeling light. Because, visualizing what the light and shadow will look like, takes time and experience to learn. And unless you are tethered to a computer and monitor, I find the little screen on the back of the camera too small for me to evaluate lighting very well.
    • For continuous lighting, I would try to look for a lighting source other than a HOT light. Because a HOT is HOT, and uncomfortable to work under for any length of time. CFL or LED are much cooler to work under for long periods of time.
    • For continuous lighting, get MATCHING bulbs, so the color temp is the same. Don't use a combination of daylight, warm white and cool white, because the color temp of each bulb is different. And at the store, make sure that what is labeled on the box is what is inside. I've seen where people have switched bulbs around.
    • In a studio situation, I would lock down the white balance to whatever light source you are using. This is so that the camera is not changing the white balance under your feet. If your camera does not have a WB setting for the light you are using, do a custom white balance.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    41,368
    Likes Received:
    15,651
    Location:
    USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit


    SquarePeg,
    I pulled these three shots into Lightroom and hit AUTO, and it reverted them to a more-or-less the straight out of camera look, which really had a different "feel" to them. I was unaware that you had pulled the background way down to black until you mentioned it; the way these had originally been lighted and exposed was in some ways, better than the as-shown images with the backdrop pulled down to black. I think that perhaps these would be good processed with the original-toned, lighter backdrop.

    A couple Christmases ago, I shot a bunch of location studio-lit portraits in front of a medium-gray fabric background, and I pulled the whole exposure down by about 3.0 EV, so the backdrop was black, and then in Lightroom, used the Dodge tool set to 0.7 EV Plus-Exposure, and using an adjustment brush, painted back on the light, in four passes of 0.7 EV each....worked great! I got the black backdrop, but was able to make the people look good.

    I think the same processing approach would work with that backdrop.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page

news