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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 11 Nov 2011 (Friday) 16:57
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First time shooting portraits

 
Calcvictim
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Nov 11, 2011 16:57 |  #1

A friend of mine asked me to shoot some pics for him, he needs them for his business card. Another friend of his joined in also and so did the guy's girlfriend, the pics I'll post later for C&C in this thread.


I am looking for honest feedback, constructive criticism, tell me what you like, what sucks, how can I improve these.

The pics were shot with my sigma 50mmm f/2.8 and my 24-135 Tamron. I am using a 60D with a 430 EX II and a McGyver diffuser/bounce(I like it a lot).


Questions:
1)What is the prefferable flash configuration if I only have one hotshoe and the popup flash, should I try to use both or just the hot shoe. What is an good position for the hot shoe, should I place it on the side, behind the camera or somewhere else? I am also not sure if it's best to bounce the flash or use my diffuser.

BTW this is what I am using

IMAGE: http://super.nova.org/DPR/DIY01/Dual01.jpg



1--
IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]

2--
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3--
IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]

Flickr (external link)|Facebook (external link)|GEAR: Canon 60D|Canon 17-55 IS 2.8|Tamron 70-300 VC|Canon 430EX II

  
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Nomofica
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Nov 11, 2011 17:16 |  #2

First off, I will state right now I am not great with flash photography and thus will not comment on what's "best".

That out of the way, your flash appears to be quite harsh (solid shadows). This is an unattractive "amateur" look.

#1) Hard shadows, odd forward slouch of the head
#2) Easily my preference of the three, although appears soft with harsh shadows. Bags under the eyes are unattractive as well. Looks underexposed to me.
#3) Best exposure IMO, however he has an awkward slightly open-mouthed grin that looks unattractive. Bags under the eyes again, and his belly is too close to the edge.


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Calcvictim
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Nov 11, 2011 17:54 |  #3

Nomofica wrote in post #13387663 (external link)
First off, I will state right now I am not great with flash photography and thus will not comment on what's "best".

That out of the way, your flash appears to be quite harsh (solid shadows). This is an unattractive "amateur" look.

#1) Hard shadows, odd forward slouch of the head
#2) Easily my preference of the three, although appears soft with harsh shadows. Bags under the eyes are unattractive as well. Looks underexposed to me.
#3) Best exposure IMO, however he has an awkward slightly open-mouthed grin that looks unattractive. Bags under the eyes again, and his belly is too close to the edge.

Thanks for the critique, any tips on how to avoid the harsh shadows with the equipment that I have.....would a darker background mask the shadows better?


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Doctorh
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Nov 11, 2011 18:22 |  #4

Further away from the wall -- will help with the shadows


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bdpaco
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Nov 11, 2011 18:42 |  #5

I like to have my flash off to the camera right at about a 45 degree angle and slightly higher than than level with my subject. I like to get a little shadow under the chin. Also investing in a umbrella will get you way better results than the bounce/diffuser that you are using. Remember the larger the light source the softer the light will be.


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Titus213
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Nov 11, 2011 18:45 |  #6

Not too bad I think. First thing I would do is NOT use the pop-up on the camera. I would suspect the soft shadow in #1 is your diffused hot shoe flash and the harsher shadow in closer to the subject would be from the on-camera flash. I think you can turn off the pop-up flash and still use it for controlling the off-camera flash with the 60D.

Are you shooting manual or ETTL? I would suggest shooting manual flash and manual camera. Get your light dialed in, preferably with a flash meter, with the flash off to one side or the other. A reflector would work for the other side to help lift any shadows. Your shots here look to be on the verge of over exposed with hot spot reflections (perspiration/oily skin?) on the face. I suspect it's from ettl over compensating for the black clothing. If you use ETTL dial in some negative FEC.


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Calcvictim
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Nov 11, 2011 22:55 |  #7

I was shooting in ETTL and was using FEC. Thanks for the tips, keep them coming. I am hoping to pick up a second flash some time soon and to get 2 umbrellas.


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Nomofica
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Nov 11, 2011 23:58 |  #8

I would first focus on learning how to use the flash effectively before advancing on to multiple flashes.


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Frugal
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Nov 12, 2011 00:27 as a reply to  @ Nomofica's post |  #9

You'd get much softer shadows with an umbrella and you already have the bracket and stand for it.


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k-lo
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Nov 12, 2011 03:25 |  #10

Frugal wrote in post #13388881 (external link)
You'd get much softer shadows with an umbrella and you already have the bracket and stand for it.

this. ;)


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Calcvictim
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Nov 12, 2011 15:56 |  #11

Here are 2 more shots from the same session, feedback please.

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Nomofica
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Nov 12, 2011 16:04 |  #12

The one of the woman is extremely soft.


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snyderman
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Nov 12, 2011 17:28 |  #13

Agree with Nomofica. Are you allowing the camera to choose focal point? The first three images look like the focus landed on the gentleman's shoulder, rather on his eyes. Same with the image of the woman whose hand appears to be more in focus than her eyes as well.

dave


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elrey2375
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Nov 12, 2011 22:12 |  #14

for most portraits, you want to have the focus point on their eye. The first three are very soft to me as far as focus, especially on his face. Have you done any PP to them? The one of the girl is also soft as far as focus. None of them appear sharp.


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Calcvictim
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Nov 12, 2011 22:29 |  #15

I was using the central focus point on the eyes with a half press and then recompossing. I think the softness comes from my lens, the Tamron doesn't get very sharp until f/7 or so. Thanks for the comments....keep them coming.


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First time shooting portraits
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