First Self Portrait

Starskream666

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Decided to try a self portrait. As I haven't tried my flash off camera yet. I know this technically is pretty bad. There is a harsh shadow behind me, i tried to actually get rid of it by moving the light position but that took away from the rest of the photo if i did :/. Probably needed another flash for behind me?

 

amolitor

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Not bad, really. I think the shadow works fine with the dramatic light you have going on here.

One of your eyes is lost in shadow which is, well, it's dramatic but it's not really "correct form" I guess. Since the other one's out in the light we at least know you ain't dead ;)

If you want more traditional looking portraits, get something to diffuse your flash with so the shadows don't have those hard edges, and start experimenting with "fill" light. You can use another, smaller, flash to fill in shadows a bit, or you can use a reflector to bounce some of the primary flash's light into those shadows. You can buy nifty reflectors in white, or shiny gold or whatever. Or you can have a friend in a white shirt stand just out of frame on the shadowed side. Or anything in between.
 

amolitor

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Really? I guess the edges do look a little soft.. How far away from you was it?

Remember, the idea is to make the light source bigger -- wider and taller. If you get a giant softbox and put it on the moon, it's still pretty much just a speck. Diffusers diffuse more the closer they are.

Still, now that I look actually a little, you know, carefully, the harshness is more about lighting ratio (lack of fill) than about the diffusion. More diffusion helps with that to an extent as it tends to splash more light around the room, but it's kinda random.
 

cptkid

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Use of a modifier such as an umbrella or softobox would make the light seem nicer.

The composition is off as well. Look at all the negative space above you.

What focal length are you shooting at ?

Here is an example of a self portrait I took using a speedlight with no modifier. It was at 90degrees to my right and i stood quite a distance away from the wall.

http://img823.imageshack.us/img823/5522/selfiet.jpg

You should shoot portraits at your max sync speed to cut out all ambient light if you wanna add some drama.

Here is what I would do when you shoot again.

Put your camera in manual mode, shutter speed 1/200 (if thats your max sync speed), aperture 5.6, speedlight on half power and then take it from there.

Experiment with flash to subject distance, aperture, and flash power.

I know its hard to compose for self portraits. But if you keep trying, you'll get there eventually.

Hope this helps somewhat.
 

Big Mike

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Unless you are planing this to be a magazine cover shot, there is way, way too much room above your head. All that 'dead space' doesn't really add to the image, so why not crop it out?

There is a harsh shadow behind me, i tried to actually get rid of it by moving the light position but that took away from the rest of the photo if i did :/. Probably needed another flash for behind me?
If you just move yourself (and the light) further away from the way...the shadow would have been out of the frame.
 
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Starskream666

Starskream666

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Aye I know the dead space isn't 'right' but I did actually want it for some reason, aha. Granted I was in a tiny room and I moved alot further forward from where i started for that reason, as I know it would of got rid of the shadow but I simply ran out of room haha. This was just more of a practise on lighting for me, but cheers.
The main thing that confuses me is the zoom on the flash. I can't remember what I had it at, either 50mm or 24mm, but the flash was about 2 half feet away, above me.
 
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Starskream666

Starskream666

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Put your camera in manual mode, shutter speed 1/200 (if thats your max sync speed), aperture 5.6, speedlight on half power and then take it from there.

Experiment with flash to subject distance, aperture, and flash power.

I know its hard to compose for self portraits. But if you keep trying, you'll get there eventually.

Hope this helps somewhat.

I always use manual mode but yeah this time I had the shutter way slow at about a 6th of a second and aperture higher like 14 maybe. Cheers
 

cptkid

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Put your camera in manual mode, shutter speed 1/200 (if thats your max sync speed), aperture 5.6, speedlight on half power and then take it from there.

Experiment with flash to subject distance, aperture, and flash power.

I know its hard to compose for self portraits. But if you keep trying, you'll get there eventually.

Hope this helps somewhat.

I always use manual mode but yeah this time I had the shutter way slow at about a 6th of a second and aperture higher like 14 maybe. Cheers

What you need to remember when it comes to flash photography is that

Shutter speed - Controls the ambient light (the light we have no control over)
Aperture - Controls the flash power

Shutter speed - The time you allow the light to enter the camera
Aperture - how much light enters the camera

Shutter speed has no impact on flash because it is not an ambient light, and it fires so fast that it is not effected by shutter speed.
 

Pallycow

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if you have the capability, put a flash behind you hitting the wall and shadow is now a non issue. ;-)
 

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