The Night Before Christmas

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by smoke665, Nov 20, 2019.

  1. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Starting on the first of the Christmas themed shots, all told I'll have somewhere around 10 sessions of family and friends by Sunday. The walls and crates, I built for the set, everything else we had on hand. This was something completely new for me. I wanted to capture the glow of the incandescent lamp at the back as well as the LED lights on the tree in camera as much as possible. Set up was one AB800 - 2x4 softbox horizontal high directly over the camera, and one AB400 - 2x4 softbox horizontal directly below the the camera. This gave me a nice even light over the whole scene. On camera left at 9 o'clock is a single AB400 with a 7" reflector and barn doors with a 10 deg grid, just above the eye level aimed down to light the face. Camera right on the floor and angled slightly up is a 4' white reflector to help fill the shadows. The exposure for the strobes was controlled with aperture (f7.1), the ambient light was controlled with shutter (1/50), ISO 100. By dragging the shutter, I got just enough of the ambient light to come through, that I was able to clean it up post. Bumping the temperature warmer helped with warming the scene. Before I lock in all the images to the same processing, any suggestions, or comments will be appreciated. Think I already see where I need to bring the exposure of a few of the outlying areas of the image up slightly.

    [​IMG]The Night Before Christmas by William Raber, on Flickr


     
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  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I generally like this quite a bit, but if there were one small detail that I would change it would be to make Lil Bit's face just a tiny bit less bright. I get that she is supposed to be reading in the light beam supplied by the light on the wall but in light of the overall total scene oh, she just looks a slight bit too bright For 100% realism. I kind of like the overall darkish look to the set, and I think you did a commendable job of blending flash and incandescent light. I think this is a delightful allegorical family photo .... kind of Norman Rockwell-esque.
     
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  3. Dean_Gretsch

    Dean_Gretsch Always looking... Supporting Member

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    A great start to what I am sure will be a great theme.Her expression is one of wonder and totally believable.
     
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  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well done, sir. Agree with Derrel on the exposure on her face.
     
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  5. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Thanks Derrel!!! Yeah the face is catching the strobe on the left as well as the light from the lamp. It was a PITA trying to get it right, but I can remedy that in post. I kinda felt like I need to bring up the reindeer just a tad more. What about a little more blue in the shadows - yes/no?
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think the slightly warm overall color look looks great. It might not be accurate, but it is pleasing. I think you should look at this in about 3 days and then decide what changes should be made. I think perhaps you are too close to your shooting date to be 100% objective and dispassionate .

    I think if you were to see this in 3 months you would have a different opinion on several small areas. I am seeing this on my phone, and am looking at the photo as a thumbnail, which I have found to be a good way to arrive at decisions on the overall Gestalt of an image, and when seeing this photograph at a small size, the little girl's face just stands out as being overly lighted.
     
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  7. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    She was in fine form today. Between the solo shots and the ones where she posed with other family members, she was in close to 300 images. She was working her "poses" pretty much without help, every now and then I'd make suggestions, or say something silly to get her started again.

    Thank you!!! I think I might have bumped the key up between shots, and she leaned forward. (or at least that's my story LOL), but it should be easy enough to tone down slightly.
     
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  8. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    Lovely image.......
     
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  9. zulu42

    zulu42 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Beautiful! Very nicely lit. Along with your lighting adjustments may I suggest a bit tighter crop at the back of the chair to lose the shadow outline, and maybe a little off the bottom.
    She held the book at the perfect angle for the lights, didn't she!
    Adorable. Great job.
     
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  10. adamhiram

    adamhiram No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Love it! The final product looks awesome, and you keep outdoing yourself with these sets. Really impressed with the technical aspect of it as well, really stepping things up. I'd like to see more of her face, rather than the book blocking her mouth, but that's easier said than done!
     
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  11. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    @Jeff15 Thank you

    Thank you for the kind words. With her you have to be quick to catch her pose. I'm curious about your comment on losing the chair outline. I pulled a lot of my remaing hair out trying to adjust lights so shadows matched the direction of the light. I thought the chair shadow was a pretty close match to what the floor lamp would have cast. Would you mind explaining more on why you would get rid of it?

    @adamhiram Thanks man! The set wasn't as complicated as it might look. I've been wanting to build some faux wall panels anyhow. There's three 4x8 panels constructed of .115 thick smooth masonite, with a 1x2 frame on the back. The assembly is screwed and glued together, for a rigid, lightweight panel, each panel is only about 30lbs. 1/4" carriage bolts through the 1x2's in the back hold it together, making it easy to assemble/disassemble. The furring strips are 1/4" thick strips ripped from a 2x4, and stapled to the panel for easy removal if I want a smooth wall. I have screw eyes along the top so I use wire to attach to floor joists above for stabilization, but bracing off the back would work just as well. The other stuff in the set was gathered from DW's decorations and things on hand.

    The peek a boo over the book was only one of many shots. Just her by herself, I think I ended up with close to 175 shots, which I culled down to around 40. I was shooting on a tripod, thethered, so I could watch her better. My keep average was lower, but the ones I kept are really good.
     
  12. PJM

    PJM No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wonderful photo! I love the mood, feels very homey to me.
     
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