Using A ND Filter In Studio Portraits?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by smoke665, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. petrochemist

    petrochemist TPF junkie!

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    I guess he must have very poor quality lights and no space to move them back :)
    My first studio flash only had two power settings full & half power, but even with that I've never had any need for ND filters indoors.

    FWIW A-level stands for Advanced-level following on from the Ordinary levels, but if it's anything like the BTEC course in photography my daughters just finished it will have very little photography in it.
    My daughters course was more about how you can play with prints cutting them & weaving the strips, or layering them with little spacers for a 3D finish!


     
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  2. malling

    malling TPF Noob!

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    Why would anyone use ND for indoor portraits?

    Just like why would you use f 2.8, for portraits? do you like half of the face out of focus?

    I have never truly grasped the concept of tight dof with location portraits, then you can just as well shoot indoor. It’s actually a good thing that you can see the background as it benefits to the story of the picture, why on earth would you want it to blurry out.
     
  3. petrochemist

    petrochemist TPF junkie!

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    Many people don't have a convenient studio, and even if they do the interesting person they want to photograph probably wouldn't want to relocate... 'Just as well shoot indoor' is frequently not an option!

    If the background adds to the image it doesn't make much sense to 'blurry it out' but often it's a distraction and often when it does add it becomes distracting if fully sharp, a slightly blurred background can hint at the location enough to provide the story. Like so much of photography a balance is required!
     
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  4. malling

    malling TPF Noob!

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    I did not write that it should be sharp or in focus, I where referring to the portraits where you can’t see what the background is. One of the points of shooting on location is that it adds to the story, if you remove that it’s as good as shooting in a studio without the benefit of being in one.

    I have yet to experience where I’m not able to find a decent spot even if the subject where reluctant to travel.

    Who say you need a studio! there are very skilled photographers who never use one, as they only do location. For me it’s a bit of a lazy trick, that doesn’t do any subject right. A background dos not need to be perfect, small imperfections can be photoshopped or managed with different angles/perspectives.
     
  5. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    @petrochemist I just don't see any upside with it. One thing I noticed is he was using wired Master and slave, switching from a black background to a white, I wondered if maybe he was using the ND rather then adjusting the lights. Adjusting individual lights can be a PITA, that's why I like my controller that can adjust individual or as a group wireless. In the time he took to add the ND, I could have adjusted the lights and fired off two or three shots.
     
  6. petrochemist

    petrochemist TPF junkie!

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    I couldn't imagine doing it either, an ND gel to lights perhaps (v. unlikely) but I think the only way I'd shoot studio lights with a ND is if I got a cheap lens that had a ND seized on...
     
  7. Braineack

    Braineack Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You're watching a highlight reel. You have absolutely zero context in why he went with an ND filter other than he was trying to shoot at 2.8 with studio lights. This is the same "trick" used when doing the same thing in daylight.

    I do agree his body of work is nothing to write home about...so we should just ignore him completely.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
  8. TWX

    TWX No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    To play devil's advocate, on a Canon APS-C camera, a 50mm focal length at f/2.8 with a 20' distance to the subject is a depth of field of around five feet. At 10' distance, that depth of field is reduced to a little over a foot. For a full-frame camera you're looking at around 8' and 2' respectively with that lens and aperture. We're not talking one eye focused, the other eye blurry territory here.

    Years ago really before I knew what I was doing with a DSLR, a local club I was a member of set up our home-made Star Trek transporter console at a local convention, with a Transporter Room shower curtain hanging on the wall behind it. We offered to take pictures with my Rebel XS and send them via e-mail to anyone that wanted, basically as a means of targeted marketing of our club.

    The shower curtain transporter pad made an acceptable backdrop but it was by no means perfect, so there was not a lot of reason to specifically have it in focus. It needed to be focused well enough to supply context, but the people we were taking pictures of and the transporter console itself were the subjects of the photo. Given that the shower curtain wasn't a dead-perfect representation of the prop/scene from the show anyway, too much detail would have detracted, rather than added to the photos. The area we were set up in wasn't especially bright and since I had the camera on automatic I expect that most of the pictures were taken at the widest aperture the lens could produce at the particular zoom.

    In hindsight I probably should have played with more manual settings, I probably could have gotten much better results. Apple's auto-brightening software was rather heavily used to quickly go through the pictures to improve them before sending them out.
     

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