Portrait C&C


TPF Noob!
Mar 5, 2012
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Hey guys! I'm new at using studio lights. These are some portraits I took of a friend recently. C&c welcomed and appreciated. No need to go easy on me, I'm tough. :)

$amanda march 2012.jpg$DSC_1469.JPG
Hey guys! I'm new at using studio lights. These are some portraits I took of a friend recently. C&c welcomed and appreciated. No need to go easy on me, I'm tough. :)

In the 1st shot, I'd prefer to see both eyes. Her face is too bright against her hair and shirt, though goth may well be what we're going for here. I'd prefer to see the light fall off across her face and use a hair light to stand her out against the background.

In the 2nd shot, you've either got a very unfortunate shadow near her left eye, or she walked into a door recently. Also, the light is very flat, which is making her face look particularly wide.
I suggest raising lights up when shooting pictures of people (as a general rule), that way shadows from the nose go down their smile lines, not across their cheeks, it looks more natural that way.
I don't like the first photo. The shadows are flat so it makes it a bit...boring. It also makes the model seem like she doesn't occupy any 3D space - like her whole body is in one plane of existence. It doesn't have much dimension. Unless this was what you were going for. Then you nailed it. :d

The second one is better. Although the shadows are placed in kind of strange areas. The very little area of shadow on the face kind of distracts the viewer, because it's uneven across the face, and it almost seems like a blemish because it does not effectively outline the contour of the face. It outlines the contours of the nose, but the proportion of flat lighting to contour lighting is too unbalanced for my taste. There is also a strange shadow around the neck.

I'm not sure if this is what you were going for, but here is a pretty common lighting technique used in portraits

Rembrandt Lighting

I hope all of this makes sense. Sometimes I can't adequately explain what I feel when I evaluate a photograph.
Thank you all. I admit the first one is not one of my favorites but she liked it. I couldn't really figure out what it was I didn't like about it. I really like the second one though, other than the shadow that is now very obvious to me. Lol. Could it be saved? Or maybe it would be best to just try them again. This was just with a friend for practice. Any suggestions for next time?
The shadows in #2 are sharp edged, and the light is harsh - because your light sources are to small.

Light modifiers - umbrellas, brolly's, diffusion panels, softboxes, make a light source apparently larger. The larger the apparent size of the light source, the softer the light is, and the more diffuse shadow edges are.

To shoot portraits, I highly recommend turning the camera to the portrait frame orientation.

If you don't already have it I also highly recommend - Light Science and Magic, Fourth Edition: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting

Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It: Learn Step by Step How to Go from Empty Studio to Finished Image (Voices That Matter)

Chimera Super Pro Plus Shallow Bank Softbox with Silver Interior, Medium 36" x 48"

Photoflex 60" Convertible Umbrella

PBL Photo Studio 40" Reflective Umbrella Softbox Steve Kaeser Photographic Lighting
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Thank you for the advice and for the links. :)
Moved to the People Photography gallery section per new guidlines for the Beginner's Forum.

Read the new Beginners Forum description when you get a chance.

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