My baby girl in hats

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by Sweetsomedays, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. boomersgot3

    boomersgot3 TPF Noob!

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    I really like #2 as well. Love the eyes! I wish I had large windows to work with!! All my windows are higher up! Very cute! I am a hat person as well!


     
  2. momof3girls

    momof3girls TPF Noob!

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    They look great! #1 and #2 are my favorites.
     
  3. bellavita64

    bellavita64 TPF Noob!

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    I love the eyes too! I have seen several people refer to defog and USM in posts and have no idea what they are talking about! I have Photoshop CS3, but can't seem to find anything that looks like it. What is it, and how do you do it? I love that look and would love to try it on my photos.
     
  4. stellar_gal

    stellar_gal TPF Noob!

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    Defog is using the unsharp mask (Filter, Sharpen, Unsharp Mask). Settings vary widely among forums, but start at about 40,60,0, or half those numbers for certain images if its too strong. Many people don't realize that they have sort of hazy images, until they use this method, then you use it on what you THOUGHT was a great photo and it gives a WOW factor to it and there is more clarity in them.

    Just zoom way in to check details and don't over do it. Many people do it before any other PP, but I just read one amazing photographer does it very last and not til after the final crop. Good luck. It does make a huge difference.
     
  5. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    Great series! Nice job on the post processing. Defog works great, not always, but in this series it worked out very nicely.

    Thanks for sharing.

    NJ
     
  6. Bobby Ironsights

    Bobby Ironsights TPF Noob!

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    I don't know anything about digital, photoshop is where I buy chemicals, so I can't fix this or anything else on the computer.

    Of course, almost nobody will criticize a portrait of a baby, regardless of it's technical deficiencies. I'm one who will, because it's important for us to help each other improve.

    Bambino is as cute as a button, but the lighting needs serious work.

    I've just finished my university photograpy class end of term project on Yousuf Karsh, the undisputed master of studio portraiture, and I'm feeling kind of clever. More clever than I am, I'm sure.

    But if you put ONE of these photo's into the serious critique section, I'm sure there are much more experienced photographers who can help you.
     
  7. Sweetsomedays

    Sweetsomedays TPF Noob!

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    Critique away. I would love to know what more I can do with my flash and a window since I have no other lighting right now. I am always open constructive criticism.
     
  8. Bobby Ironsights

    Bobby Ironsights TPF Noob!

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    Okey dokey.

    Since in nature, the light almost never comes from below, when lit that way, the human face looks most unnatural.

    Lighting from below, was extensively used in the old horror films with Boris Karloff, like the first frankenstein, arsenic and old lace..etc..etc..

    It also leaves shadows in the mouth and nose. I'd avoid it whenever possible for normal portraiture.

    I'd also make use of reflectance. I shoot black and white, so I'm able to use pretty much any sort of light I come across, without worrying much as to it's colour* cast.

    (*Not a typo, In Canada we use the Queen's English, Colour, Flavour..etc)

    You too, can use cheap lights, like clamp on worklights, if you make certain to get "daylight" bulbs, and use them mainly for either separation lighting, or to light the background.

    Also, try light modifiers. A 4 dollar sheet of the biggest foamcore that the office supply store sells, held by a friend or ally, can do wonders. especially if taking outdoors, (like on a balcony in shadow. It will reflect suprising amounts of light on your subject.

    Ideally there is the two light setup, where let's say the subject is facing you, turned slightly toward your left, (because their left side is their better side and thats what you wanted to highlight)

    Then, in the classic two light setup, the primary light would be high to your right, 45 degrees up, and the secondary(fill) light would be 15-20 degrees up above the eye level of the subject, and over your left shoulder.

    The primary light, should either be stronger than your secondary, or closer. Usually it's either closer, to account for the fact that lights aren't usually much cheaper in the smaller sizes, or the secondary has a light modifier over it to make it dimmer.

    A great thing is also a separation light. It's a light with a small degree of cast, from VERY high, usually right up in the corner or edge of the wall and ceiling, behind the subject, that shines directly down on the back of the subjects head, making their hair shine, and separating them from the background. Because a white skinned baby blends into a light background, and a dark haired person blend into a dark background.

    You can either use a spot type light for a separator, or a long dark tube on the light to guide it. Be careful using a paper tube, if you are using a very hot light.

    I'd also first test any light setup with a subject that doesn't get bored, and doesn't cry, like a teddy bear of about the same size as the baby.

    Small changes to lighting have big effects.

    And don't worry about your lack of equipment too much, my avatar was taken with a 20 dollar webcam, and using window light from one side, and a flashlight stuck into a book shelf from the other. Other than the obvious pixelation, it looks ok at higher resolution. I just used the the basic law of "primary-fill". If I had to do it over, I'd block off the light coming from the bottom of the window, to effectively bring up my primary lighting closer to a 45 degree angle.

    Also, have a look at other portrait artists. Yousuf Karsh's portrait of Sir Winson Churchill is the most widely reproduced photograph ever made. I'm sure that had alot to do with the nature of the second world war, but he even managed to make good pictures of Pablo Picasso, who looks much like a garden gnome, and THE inspiring portrait of Martin Luther King, who is a pretty average looking guy.

    Karsh's photographs were pretty miserly in their use of fill and separation lights, but remember, before him, nobody used studio lighting, all portraiture at that time was done with daylight, so his techniques were pretty radical at the time, and he didn't want to overdo it. His idea to use studio lights came when he attended a play in the early 30's.

    ***note*** The following images are copyright of the National Archives of Canada, and are used for illustrational purposes only and are thus fair use under Canadian Law, reproduction however, in whole or in part for commercial/personal purposes would violate Canadian, and International copyright law and is thus forbidden.

    [​IMG]
    Here is his use of a separation light in the background, albeit placed below his subject on the floor, it wasn't like he could go drilling holes and mounting lights in the wood paneling of the antechamber of the House of Commms eh? He had two minutes, literally 120 seconds to setup his lighting and all manual calumet view camera, and make a few exposures. Notice also how he lights the hand by itself.
    [​IMG]
    Here the fill light is almost unnoticable, except on King's Collar and ear.
    [​IMG]
    Here the fill is necessary, but low key, it gives itself away on Picasso's shirt sleeve, and although it may look like a single light, if it was, you couldn't see the fringe of hair on the right side of his head or the pupil in his right eye. Still, his use of shadow is very much deeper than what is considered normal today, 6-plus decades later.
     
  9. Sweetsomedays

    Sweetsomedays TPF Noob!

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    Bobby,
    I am so glad you took the time to share that. Your post was most informative! I love the examples and fully intend to play with all your suggestions :)
     
  10. gizmo2071

    gizmo2071 TPF Noob!

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    I don't think Karsh's style fits to well with Baby portraiture. His lighting was very dramatic and brought out the character in each of his subjects.
    I think with the styles that go with contempery baby portraits are very close to what you have achieved, the very shadowless cheeks and forehead.
    I liked your shots.

    No doubting Karshs ability and the amount that people can learn from his work, I know I did while I was studying. And I know it wasn't him specifically you were saying her photos should be like, but more talking about how he used lighting to achieve certain effects.

    When I've taken baby portraits in the past I've always used a single flash with an umberella from high up (rembrandt style), with a reflector on either side from low down to bounce some light back up to fill the shadows.
     
  11. LucyDarling

    LucyDarling TPF Noob!

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    How do you get your backdrop to stay up? I don't have any expensive backdrop equipment either.
     
  12. Sweetsomedays

    Sweetsomedays TPF Noob!

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    I turned my couch around and draped it over that ;) In other cases I just tack it to the wall. I want to get seamles paper and a portable stand next year though. So I can take it with me when I photograph babies.
     

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