Hedgecoe Flash Portrait Project #1

jcdeboever

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Looking for feedback on project, thank you in advance.

1 speedlight sb600, umbrella, reflector. Goal is to light faces warmly without harsh shadow under eyes, chin, and neck. Additional goal is to eliminate any shadow or texture on back drop. Last goals were positioning and engaging sitter(s) to respond to your direction.

This was very hard and took me a while to get everything working together.

SB600 1/16 power 45° head level, 3 ft away.

Reflector 45° set head level angle slightly up.

D3300, 85mm 1.8, afs, Matrix Metering, F/5.6, 1/80s, ISO200, white balance auto. Adjust WB in post, sharpened, +0.2 EC.

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tirediron

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Not bad at all! For a one light + reflector set-up, I'd say you did very well. My only real nit is with your camera position/pose. If you had been a bit more to the right, the girls wouldn't have had to force their heads so far, resulting in a comfortable and more natural look.
 
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jcdeboever

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Not bad at all! For a one light + reflector set-up, I'd say you did very well. My only real nit is with your camera position/pose. If you had been a bit more to the right, the girls wouldn't have had to force their heads so far, resulting in a comfortable and more natural look.
Thank you very much. I see what you mean. I will work on that. So many things to think about. I forgot to set my WB in the camera. I ended up making a checklist as Hedgecoe suggested, of course I forgot.

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jcdeboever

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Here is another sitting. Same settings... Had the niece's and grandkids over.

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tirediron

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Cute! This one is really nice; my only thought here is perhaps drop the highlights and white point just a little; his forehead and her shirt seem just ever so slightly hot.
 

cherylynne1

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Maybe it's just me, but is there a little mixed lighting going on? It looks as though there's an incandescent light on the shadow side casting a yellowish/orangish glow. Might just be my eyes. I like them both overall, though.
 
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jcdeboever

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Cute! This one is really nice; my only thought here is perhaps drop the highlights and white point just a little; his forehead and her shirt seem just ever so slightly hot.
Better?

6faf328107149ee75b8c2359e0c2e48f.jpg


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jcdeboever

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Maybe it's just me, but is there a little mixed lighting going on? It looks as though there's an incandescent light on the shadow side casting a yellowish/orangish glow. Might just be my eyes. I like them both overall, though.
It is, the door to another room was open a little... Crap!

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Derrel

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I think you're making one, simple critical misstep here: the light is too close and the power level is too low. While these are nice enough, there's just a couple issues I see. Let's start with the best thing about both these shots: look at the lighting on the little girl's face in the second shot: the lighting on the girl is simply lovely. The light on the girl is great...but the boy in the Michigan shirt? He's too dark, and the light is not optimal for him. The girl is in glowing, gorgeous light; his shirt's sleeve is in that same light...but the boy's face is just outside of the ideal light of the umbrella. Because the umbrella is so close to the two of them, only ONE of them is in the lighting path where the light is optimal from that modifier. The reflector is providing a LOT of fill lighting in shot #2 (of the boy and the girl).

The first photo of the two girls together has the light angle coming in from a bit more off to the side that I'd like to see on such a tightly-spaced pose. The shadows reveal where the light was placed. Looks about right for the taller girl's cheek, camera right side. The little girl's eyes are very dark and color-less however--again...she's OUTside of that modifier's optimal light beam. I think the light's angle is such that the reflector is not catching any of the main light's beam, and is doing almost nothing to provide fill. I'd say it's under-lit and under-exposed a bit.

When the light is really, really close like 3 feet, some modifiers, and especially shoot-through unmbrellas used with a speedlight at low power, can create a very hot, central spot that falls off excruciatingly rapidly in practical situations. Again...look at the second photo: the light at 3' or so is glorious on the little girl, but the boy's face is in the "meh" part of the light swath that THAT particular umbrella throws, at that power level, with the flash set up exactly that way.

I'm not a fan of 1/16 power flash, or of an umbrella that is three feet away from two people...the light spread is very,very hard to "aim", especially shooting blindly, meaning with no modeling lamps, and as a newcomer to studio lighting. Moving the light around a little bit more to the front would have helped, and moving it farther away, and elevating the power to 1/8 to 1/4, would make it easier to get light in the eyes of both people. At close distances, a softbox is easier to aim, and has more-even light spread than an umbrella, and especially a shoot-through umbrella used with a speedlight.

I am watching Michigan pound Florida right now in the Citrus Bowl! it is 38-7 with 11:03 left in the 4th quarter. Hiring Harbaugh there was a stroke of genius, I must say.
 
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Derrel

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Again...another reason that shooting at 1/16 power is a mistake (in my opinion)...the flash is BARELY doing "anything"...allowing the modeling lights, or room lights, daylight, whatever, to easily approach the flash exposure setting. You are also working way low on the sensor's overall imaging curve...move up to brighter lighting, and you'll usually end up with a more easily-worked file in post.

The second shot re-worked version just popped up...it's warmer in color temp, and has been pulled down a bit, but I don't like the lighting look on the girl now, and the overall color balance looks warmish yellow/reddish,but this color look is well within the acceptable range.

I'd consider that for two-person portraits, you think about why shooting at HIGHER flash power from 5 to 6 feet away when using a speedlight, might make things different, easier for you.

These are not bad efforts, really, but again...that three foot distance brings with it some real negatives that make it harder to do the best work. You do not have the experience with **exact** light placement to shoot these kinds of shots nearly as easily as if you had years of experience and a modeling lamp in the umbrella to literally show you the **exact** lighting effects that raising 4,5,6,7 inches brings.

I'm gonna give a simple analogy: point a garden hose at FULL blast straight ahead from three feet, and you can MISS a Pepsi can sitting on a coffee table with the beam from the hose. Move back to 15 feet, and you will HIT a Chevy Malibu every time with the most lame aim.
 
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jcdeboever

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This time I bumped up two to 1/4 power, moved light to 6 feet (doubled) and in front of them just enough to get out of frame. Also raised a bit.

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jcdeboever

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cherylynne1

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I think Derrel's recommendation was spot-on...those two new photos are a thousand times better, especially the first one. The white balance on the second looks a little warm to me. Really well done.
 
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jcdeboever

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Again...another reason that shooting at 1/16 power is a mistake (in my opinion)...the flash is BARELY doing "anything"...allowing the modeling lights, or room lights, daylight, whatever, to easily approach the flash exposure setting. You are also working way low on the sensor's overall imaging curve...move up to brighter lighting, and you'll usually end up with a more easily-worked file in post.

The second shot re-worked version just popped up...it's warmer in color temp, and has been pulled down a bit, but I don't like the lighting look on the girl now, and the overall color balance looks warmish yellow/reddish,but this color look is well within the acceptable range.

I'd consider that for two-person portraits, you think about why shooting at HIGHER flash power from 5 to 6 feet away when using a speedlight, might make things different, easier for you.

These are not bad efforts, really, but again...that three foot distance brings with it some real negatives that make it harder to do the best work. You do not have the experience with **exact** light placement to shoot these kinds of shots nearly as easily as if you had years of experience and a modeling lamp in the umbrella to literally show you the **exact** lighting effects that raising 4,5,6,7 inches brings.

I'm gonna give a simple analogy: point a garden hose at FULL blast straight ahead from three feet, and you can MISS a Pepsi can sitting on a coffee table with the beam from the hose. Move back to 15 feet, and you will HIT a Chevy Malibu every time with the most lame aim.

I think Derrel's recommendation was spot-on...those two new photos are a thousand times better, especially the first one. The white balance on the second looks a little warm to me. Really well done.

Thank you both so much. I really appreciate it. OK, for these, they are 15' away raised up to 8 ft ceiling, 1/1 power. Amazing what a difference in the volume. I was too focused on the back ground before. Hedgecoe did reference power but with Derrel's explanation, made more sense. I see the background now so not sure how to adjust that in camera. I bumped the aperture a little smaller to 6.5 and bumped the shutter speed, it helped a little but with a slight bump in contrast at post, seemed to correct that. Depth of field is more concentrated in project #2. I see the dog hair on my grand daughter, crap, another thing to add to the list. geez. Well focused on light this time around.

#1
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#2
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