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Planing holiday shoot - technical questions

Did you try a set up in this order,
Camera - lights - subject? Where the lights are quite close to the camera and you make a shape out of wire to tie the lights to it and shoot through that shape. The OOF lights should bokeh quite nicely and you won’t need that many. Lots of examples abound on the interweb if it interests you.
That’s an interesting idea. Wouldn’t the out of focus foreground lights end up in front of the subject instead of behind them though? Not necessarily a bad thing, just a different look.

Yes they do end up in front of the subject. This is why a simple stiff wire loop with the fairy lights attached to it allows you to avoid placing one in front of the subjects face. You also have the additional flexibility of moving the lights and/or your camera independently to get the desired effect. Placing the lights behind the subject means your variables are limited. A bit of grip gear to suspend the wired loop in the right place is pretty simple to set up.

This method has been used countless times as I am sure you have seen people using prisms and iPhone screens to add effects to the captured image. Adding fairy lights is just another spin on the same technique.

Great tip! This may save me from trying to make it work outside with my lit up trees as background.
 
Hello Adamhiram,

Just an idea, I dont know if this would be acceptable to you, why don't you place Christmas balls in the background. They are bigger. :)

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I'd love to see how this looks with a 200mm f/2, but I don't have any plans of getting one of those. I will follow up with some real shots if I wind up following through on this idea, but for now I'm just happy I was able to learn something new.

Adam, I don't have the 200 f2 either...., bit I DO have the 200 1.8! Yes, it's a fun lens to play with.
The Bokeh shot here was shot at f1.8. I was about 8 feet from the subject and the light abouts about 6-8 feet behind her. I dragged the shutter to burn the lights and get the Bokeh of course.
Why don't you shoot it thinking outside the box? I shot the 4 young ladies with their heads stacked. It's the most popular shot on my IG! You don't need to shoot a full-on traditional full body portrait to create a beautiful life long family heirloom portrait. I do a lot of portraits with people sitting on top of each other and/or one behind the other or piggy-back etc. I realize with shallow DoF they need to be in perfect plane alignment!
I'm sure by now you know that maximum Bokeh is achieved at a lenses minimum focus point.
But also remember that every lens regardless of focal length can achieve the same exact DoF if they are are at
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the same f-stop and at their same relative minimum focus distance!
Don't be afraid to take your shot, just think completely out of the box as to what a creative shot could come out like.
My shot was spur of the moment using the interior confines that I had about 20 feet to work in and I needed to be at the 200's mfd. Good luck!!
SS
 
Just an idea, I dont know if this would be acceptable to you, why don't you place Christmas balls in the background. They are bigger. :)
If I had them, I would! Working with what I have, I better understand the limitations of my original vision and took it as a lesson learned.
 
Adam, I don't have the 200 f2 either...., bit I DO have the 200 1.8! Yes, it's a fun lens to play with.
The Bokeh shot here was shot at f1.8. I was about 8 feet from the subject and the light abouts about 6-8 feet behind her. I dragged the shutter to burn the lights and get the Bokeh of course.
...
I'm sure by now you know that maximum Bokeh is achieved at a lenses minimum focus point.
But also remember that every lens regardless of focal length can achieve the same exact DoF if they are are at the same f-stop and at their same relative minimum focus distance!
Beautiful photos, and great info! Those are some great rules of thumb to keep in mind for a future shoot. I am a bit envious of that glass, although not the size or weight...
 
I wound up going a slightly different route, sticking with a single subject. At 135mm at f/1.8, I had a harder time keeping the subject in focus than I did getting the background lights out of focus. This was shot from about 6' away with 10-12' behind the subject. I originally tried a white background, but the lights turned it bright pink, and any attempt to offset the pink cast with a gelled background light just made things worse. Eventually, I just swapped it for a black backdrop and called it a day. The key light is an octobox slightly camera left with a white reflector for fill camera right. I'm not sure if this quite matched my original vision, but it's something!

Nikon Z6II with Sigma 135mm f/1.8
135mm, f/1.8, 1/60s, ISO 1600


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by adamhiram, on Flickr
 
@adamhiram This is really nice. As I understood your vision it looks to me like you've nailed it. Only one suggestion I might make, is to crop portrait which would bring this good looking young man forward, putting the emphasis on him, and less on the lights.
 
Thanks for the info guys! this is very informative
 

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