First Portrait Attempt

412 Burgh

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Mar 18, 2011
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I guess this is my first portrait attempt.... my buddy had a speech today so he was all dressed up for class. He wanted his picture taken and a 'real photographer' wouldn't be able to say no... so here it is. Let me know thoughts on lighting.

Raymond by ZDiBeradin, on Flickr
Well, your Flickr page doesn't provide the EXIF for the image. We also have no information on what you used for lighting. Could you provide a bit more detail?

From what I can see, I'd say it's underexposed by 1/3rd of a stop. Bringing the exposure up will also help separate him from the dark background.
It's nice and clean. Not really anything that is technically out of place here.

However, he does look like he was select-copy-pasted onto the black background. The edges of the hair is just too....nicely defined.
haha he was copied and pasted pretty much.. I have black curtains.. I'll try to re-upload to get the Exif data
haha he was copied and pasted pretty much.. I have black curtains.. I'll try to re-upload to get the Exif data

You might consider changing the background to a middle grey. It would give the subject more pop. You can also throw a circular gradient in the middle of it to make it look like you used a background light with a snoot or something.
The cut and paste job was pretty poorly done. The mug shot isn't too bad. It's pretty well exposed and the focus looks perfect. Clean, clear and sharp.
The pose is typical mug shot and DEFINITELY needs a little posing work. The tie and arms lead right off the image.
3 light setup?

I think your Fill light is too much for a good lighting ratio. It's obvious you have a (Key ? ) light camera right, but your Fill is not allowing any modeling from the Key. The chin shadows are creating an even shadow beard. The lighting ratio on his shoulders/chest is good, but portraits are about the face.

You have good separation from the background, but why are you lighting his back so low? The separation should be concentrated more on the head and shoulders. Notice the highlights in the open area at the lower left in frame. The "hole" between his right arm and torso has a halo. Raising your back light vertically or flagging your source would eliminate this.

I bet his hands are in his pockets. Next time try having him move one leg forward and place the forward foot in line with his rearward foot. Then have him place his weight on his rear heel. This will shift his hips, thus his torso, thus his shoulders. Thus creating a more dynamic pose rather than the football shoulders we see here.

Overall...... better than most are posting.

Just my 2¢. Thanks for sharing.
Glad you mentioned it was copied and pasted, I was wondering where those blue aberrations were coming from around the shoulder and lower left waist! I'm a noob at portraits, but it looks like you've got some great advice :)
Lighting was just a SB-700 bounced off my little dorm room walls and ceiling

Exif Data:
Focal: 50mm
F. 2.5
Exposure: 1/80

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