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Thread started 20 Nov 2015 (Friday) 10:01
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What is WRONG with my studio photography?

 
Felicia ­ Mariah
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Nov 20, 2015 10:01 |  #1

I shoot actor headshots and am much more comfortable with outdoor lighting. However, I have created an at-home photography studio to cater to those who prefer the studio look (especially when it gets to cold to shoot outside). I got a LOT of practice the last couple of months but feel that there is something "off" in my work. I think it's the lighting... but I can't seem to put my finger on it. Below are some web-resolution images for example.

IMAGE: http://s2.postimg.org/fnfm8uzud/Aliyah_Sims_FM_004_Edit_Web.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://postimg.org/ima​ge/fnfm8uzud/  (external link)
IMAGE: http://s2.postimg.org/wiq5u4g6t/Chara_Kirkland_FM_052b_Edit_Web.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://postimg.org/ima​ge/wiq5u4g6t/  (external link)
IMAGE: http://s2.postimg.org/49t2xnpbp/James_Gaccione_FM_033_Edit_Web.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://postimg.org/ima​ge/49t2xnpbp/  (external link)
IMAGE: http://s2.postimg.org/f6pt8omph/Jordan_Konick_FM_042_Edit_Web.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://postimg.org/ima​ge/f6pt8omph/  (external link)
IMAGE: http://s2.postimg.org/j4d2y39it/Joshua_Leger_FM_026_Edit_Web.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://postimg.org/ima​ge/j4d2y39it/  (external link)
IMAGE: http://s2.postimg.org/rdtjq8smt/Monae_Slaughter_FM_018_Edit_Web.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://postimg.org/ima​ge/rdtjq8smt/  (external link)
IMAGE: http://s2.postimg.org/i8l6wdp85/Monse_Maldonado_FM_020_Edit_Web.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://postimg.org/ima​ge/i8l6wdp85/  (external link)
IMAGE: http://s2.postimg.org/cvwci91bp/Xavier_Mc_Knight_FM_034_Edit_Web.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://postimg.org/ima​ge/cvwci91bp/  (external link)

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k4j98
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Post edited over 3 years ago by k4j98. (2 edits in all)
     
Nov 20, 2015 10:45 |  #2

Well, no responses probably means that you're seeing things, and these are as good as it gets. I'm probably not one to judge these kind of images, but they look perfectly professional to me.

If you wanted to be extremely picky, I'd say that there are a couple shadows on the faces. The guy with the vest has some darkness on his right side that might annoy some.

Most of the skin is over softened for my tastes, but again, who am I to judge a style that I've never done?

I'm just noticing that framing changes slightly for each; the girl with the frizzy hair and blue shirt, the girl with the maroon shirt, and the guy with the white shirt, for instance. Those three were shot (or cropped, shame shame ;-)a) a little tighter than the others. This might be a conscious decision, based on body shape, I guess.

I'm really overthinking this--these look great!




  
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bsmotril
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Nov 20, 2015 10:46 |  #3

I am by no means an expert on studio work, but to me these look a little flat, lighting is too direct, not enough shadow to bring emotion into the image.


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k4j98
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Nov 20, 2015 10:48 |  #4

bsmotril wrote in post #17790684 (external link)
I am by no means an expert on studio work, but to me these look a little flat, lighting is too direct, not enough shadow to bring emotion into the image.


Ah, see, I'm wrong about the shadows.




  
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longbeachgary
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Nov 20, 2015 10:52 |  #5

Some things that I don't like and it may be just me - I don't like that the heads are cut off in some of the photos. Some of them look like passport photos because there is no emotion.


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Roy ­ Mathers
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Nov 20, 2015 11:06 |  #6

May I chip in? I agree with the comment about passport photos, but mainly because of the dead square-on poses. The subjects don't look very at ease - and that doesn't help convey the fact that they are actors. Also, there arevsome very clumsy cut outs on some of them that have resulted in careless selections.




  
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drdiesel1
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Nov 20, 2015 11:22 |  #7

I might be wrong, but the only time you cut the hair off is when
the shot is an actual headshot. These are not headshots.

I agree with the flat lighting and the backgrounds are a little dark.
This makes them blend into the background with the lighting setup.
I am not a studio expert by far, but you asked for feedback :twisted:


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bob_r
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Nov 20, 2015 12:02 |  #8

drdiesel1 wrote in post #17790719 (external link)
I might be wrong, but the only time you cut the hair off is when
the shot is an actual headshot. These are not headshots.

I agree that these are not headshots. You are including too much of the body for it to be considered a headshot and when you include this much of the body you have no reason to cut off part of the head. You might take a look at some of Peter Hurley's headshots. I think he was the one that started shooting headshots in landscape orientation and starting cutting off part of the head, but he was shooting much tighter than you.

I also agree with the others that the lighting is too flat. Even when shooting tight, you can still have shadows and highlights. It looks like you are using the same type of modified clamshell lighting for each shot and that setup is producing very flat lighting.


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longbeachgary
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Nov 20, 2015 12:05 |  #9

Also, I googled actor head shots and there are tons of examples. Pick what you like.


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DThriller
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Nov 20, 2015 17:45 |  #10

The poses are a little flat especially the guys. Just having there sholders straight to camera is too basic IMO. #4 and #5 look like DMV photos. Have subjects turn there torso at least a little bit next time.

Your lighting is totally fine IMO. Nothing wrong with high key lighting for a headshot. Nice even lighting.


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Nov 20, 2015 17:49 |  #11

Yah not really true 'head shots' but they are perfectly fine. Personally I'd like to see more shadow, i.e. Less flat lighting.

Can you let us know what your lighting setup is?


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TerryMiller
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Nov 20, 2015 18:07 |  #12

This looks like two lights were used. A large softbox or octa to camera left and a kicker behind and camera right? You could try moving the key light up a bit to see if you like that better.

The straight on poses are the part I'd work on. I personally like the first photo best because she appears engaged and natural, the pose isn't straight on and the crop looks good. The rest of the crops look to me like they should be tighter like a bust or wider to include space on either side of the shoulders. The girls should have their shoulders turned more than the guys but both should have some angle.

I agree with searching the web for shots you like and saving them to a playbook. Then get as close as you can with your light kit. You can do a lot with two lights.


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Felicia ­ Mariah
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Nov 21, 2015 11:43 |  #13

k4j98 wrote in post #17790683 (external link)
Well, no responses probably means that you're seeing things, and these are as good as it gets. I'm probably not one to judge these kind of images, but they look perfectly professional to me.

If you wanted to be extremely picky, I'd say that there are a couple shadows on the faces. The guy with the vest has some darkness on his right side that might annoy some.

Most of the skin is over softened for my tastes, but again, who am I to judge a style that I've never done?

I'm just noticing that framing changes slightly for each; the girl with the frizzy hair and blue shirt, the girl with the maroon shirt, and the guy with the white shirt, for instance. Those three were shot (or cropped, shame shame ;-)a) a little tighter than the others. This might be a conscious decision, based on body shape, I guess.

I'm really overthinking this--these look great!

Thanks for the feedback. The reason why there are three different framings that you noticed is because I try to shoot a variety of framing to fit the taste of the client. The edited shots above are all retouched by selection of client. None have been cropped :)

I appreciate you taking a close look.


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Felicia ­ Mariah
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Nov 21, 2015 11:45 |  #14

bsmotril wrote in post #17790684 (external link)
I am by no means an expert on studio work, but to me these look a little flat, lighting is too direct, not enough shadow to bring emotion into the image.

FLAT! Yes!! That's my problem..


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Felicia ­ Mariah
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Nov 21, 2015 11:47 |  #15

Roy Mathers wrote in post #17790704 (external link)
May I chip in? I agree with the comment about passport photos, but mainly because of the dead square-on poses. The subjects don't look very at ease - and that doesn't help convey the fact that they are actors. Also, there arevsome very clumsy cut outs on some of them that have resulted in careless selections.

What do you mean by clumsy cut-outs? Do you mean the head on top?


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What is WRONG with my studio photography?
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