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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 16 May 2008 (Friday) 12:16
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First Attempt at a Portrait, pls Comment

 
javaprog
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May 16, 2008 12:16 |  #1

What do you guys think about the lighting, setting and post processing of these photos?

Feel free to comment on anything actualy, well... be easy on the model, he has no intention of "going pro" I can tell you that! :lol:

All attempts: http://rhenry74.homeip​.net …esas/portraits/​?g2_page=4 (external link)

1 - 5120

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://rhenry74.homeip​.net …MAGES-NOT-ALLOWED-2287c)-

2 - 5219
IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
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3 - 5196
IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
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4 - 5221
IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
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Thanks

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Robert_Lay
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May 16, 2008 12:48 |  #2

#1 is the only one for which I like the lighting, which is similar to the Rembrandt style. It's a little hot (check the very bright hotspot on the tip of the nose), so it may be a little harsher light than necessary. Geerally, the more diffusion the better.

The colors seem to be a little heavy on saturation. The shirt seems too blue and the skin tones are a little too red.

The only one that I would call a "dog" would be #4, and that is because the lighting seems too flat, and that seems to be because the lighting seems to be coming from both sides at equal strength.

There only need be one key or main light - the other light is normally just to soften the shadows caused by the first light.


Bob
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Mizaki
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May 17, 2008 02:38 as a reply to  @ Robert_Lay's post |  #3

If I consider these images, 1-3 are decent, while in 4 the lightining is way harsh and looks too much like a P&S shoot.

However, trying to be constructive, I think that you could have managed much better with a bit more attention paid to setting or pre shoot arrangements. After all, in formal protraits like these where you can arrange the setting to meet your needs, it typically pays of to consider the setting for a minute.

In my opinion number 3 here is the best when the setting is considered, while I think that number 1 could have have been very good if the setting was bit more considered.

You see, the reason I prefer number 3 is the more isolated background when compared to other shots. And the reason for this is not your photographic technique (I checked the settings from your web site), but the arrangements. The only probelem here is that the model is sitting too near to the background which makes isolating background much harder. Although in number 3, where he leans just a bit nearer, the background is way more isolated than in other images. Which shows that 50 cm or two feet of distance is this respect has significant effect on the final image.

In this respect, next time you try portraits, you should consider if you can increase the distance between the subject and the background to get something looking more like number 3 here. In fact, I would say that if the background of number 3 was in number 1, it would have been very nice protrait (with slight crop, you could have made a nice contrast for the vertical lines of background and horisontals on the shirt).

Hope that this helps.


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John ­ E
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May 17, 2008 07:15 |  #4

The vertical stripes (blinds) and the horizontal stripes on his shirt make the picture way too busy and draw away from his face (especially #1, 3). Also, there is a little too much yellow in them - adjust white balance. Keep trying!


John E.
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Robert_Lay
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May 17, 2008 09:30 |  #5

Mizaki wrote in post #5541414 (external link)
If I consider these images, 1-3 are decent, while in 4 the lightining is way harsh and looks too much like a P&S shoot.

However, trying to be constructive, I think that you could have managed much better with a bit more attention paid to setting or pre shoot arrangements. After all, in formal protraits like these where you can arrange the setting to meet your needs, it typically pays of to consider the setting for a minute.

In my opinion number 3 here is the best when the setting is considered, while I think that number 1 could have have been very good if the setting was bit more considered.

You see, the reason I prefer number 3 is the more isolated background when compared to other shots. And the reason for this is not your photographic technique (I checked the settings from your web site), but the arrangements. The only probelem here is that the model is sitting too near to the background which makes isolating background much harder. Although in number 3, where he leans just a bit nearer, the background is way more isolated than in other images. Which shows that 50 cm or two feet of distance is this respect has significant effect on the final image.

In this respect, next time you try portraits, you should consider if you can increase the distance between the subject and the background to get something looking more like number 3 here. In fact, I would say that if the background of number 3 was in number 1, it would have been very nice protrait (with slight crop, you could have made a nice contrast for the vertical lines of background and horisontals on the shirt).

Hope that this helps.

With all due respect, I think you may be confused between #2 and #3. It is #2 that has the far better background in my opinion.


Bob
Quality of Light (external link), Photo Tool ver 2.0 (external link)
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Walczak ­ Photo
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May 17, 2008 09:55 |  #6

My $.02 worth...

I think #1 would have worked if the vertical blinds had of been closed and there was more distance between the subject and the background (as Bob said, such as in #2). The lighting is by far the best in #1. I would also mention that in #1, the blinds are slanted...that would have been an easy fix in pp if they were shot in RAW.

To be blunt, #2 & #3 just don't cut it for "portrait" work in my opinion...bad lighting, bad poses, etc..

#4 might have worked with better lighting and less saturation...here the blues in the models shirt almost jump off my monitor at me.

Now I do agree with Mizaki in that considering these were portrait shots, you could have done better if more consideration had of been payed before you started shooting. One little tip here with portraits...aside from the lighting issues that Bob mentioned, with portraits I generally find it's a good idea to have the subjects avoid wearing stripes and/or large polka dots. Plain, subdued solids usually work best...at least when you're first starting into portrait work.

Beyond this I would also mentioned there is a great deal of inconsistency from shot to shot. I supposed it's possible that you were just experimenting with things to see what worked and what didn't but generally speaking if you're doing a "set" such as you have here...same model, same attire, same setting, then you want all of the pictures to have a consistent look and feel in regards to lighting...at the risk of sounding rude, yours are all over the place here.

Not trying to be mean here or anything but to me these look more like p&s snapshots of someone's dad and not actual portraits.

Again, just my $.02 worth,
Jim


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midnitejam
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May 17, 2008 10:09 as a reply to  @ Walczak Photo's post |  #7

In #1 and #2, I think "short" lighting rather than the "broad" lighting technique would have worked better with a wide face.

The catch lights are confusing for me. Did you add them in PP? They don't seem to be in sinc with the source.

In general, I think your photos are really good candids.


Midnitejam--The happiness in your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

  
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javaprog
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May 19, 2008 19:34 |  #8

Thank you all so much for taking the time to look at these photographs. This exercise has given me new found respect for the subtle art of portrait photography.

Lighting was my main concern. I was not sure if I could pull off anything close to adequate lighting given what I had to work with. I believe the general impression is that the lighting in #1 is ok, not great, but ok... and that's something to start with.

I was definitely jumping around a lot, experimenting with lighting saturation and setting. I needed your help in narrowing the field of techniques. Given that goal I'd say, "Mission accomplished."

I was afraid that the vertical blinds would be detracting opened or closed either one. It seems the consensus is that they are acceptable; although I need to get further away from them (blur them more.)

With some minor corrections:

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
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javaprog
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May 19, 2008 19:45 |  #9

midnitejam wrote in post #5542566 (external link)
In #1 and #2, I think "short" lighting rather than the "broad" lighting technique would have worked better with a wide face.

The catch lights are confusing for me. Did you add them in PP? They don't seem to be in sinc with the source.

In general, I think your photos are really good candids.

I learned a lot by figuring out what the heck you were talking about here. :oops:

Except for #2; the catch lights are confusing because the main is too high and my eyes are picking up the fill lighting.


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Walczak ­ Photo
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May 19, 2008 21:28 |  #10

Lighting was my main concern. I was not sure if I could pull off anything close to adequate lighting given what I had to work with.

My question would be "What did you have to work with?" Perhaps some folks here may be able to give you some suggestions as to how to get the most out of whatever you have :D.

Peace,
Jim


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javaprog
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May 21, 2008 00:30 |  #11

Well... it's a bit embarrassing, :oops: but...

The main light consists of halogen lamps on a cable track light system. If I group them close together and diffuse them they can be quite bright. I diffuse them with a semi-transparent plastic bag (I think my printer was in it. :) )

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
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The main problem is that I cannot lower the main light. So I've tried to get a better angle by moving the main to one end of the track and shooting across the room. In this configuration I get a lot of bounce off of the walls, robbing me of control over the fill light.

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javaprog
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May 21, 2008 00:56 |  #12

Better?

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
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Robert_Lay
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May 21, 2008 06:14 |  #13

Sorry, not in my opinion.

The lighting here is much too frontal and rather harsh (deep shadow under the chin from the lighting).


Bob
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javaprog
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May 21, 2008 08:43 |  #14

Robert_Lay wrote in post #5566625 (external link)
Sorry, not in my opinion.

The lighting here is much too frontal and rather harsh (deep shadow under the chin from the lighting).

Hmm, I bet I can fill that in.


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midnitejam
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May 21, 2008 09:07 as a reply to  @ javaprog's post |  #15

javaprog, your ingenuity is stunning! Hats off to you!

Be careful how you eliminate shadows--they can be very useful. Shadows when used judiciously with no more than 1:2 lighting ratio can produce necessary and useful modeling effects.

I agree that your light positioning may be a little too frontal and lends its usefulness to product photograpy as much as it does to portrait.


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First Attempt at a Portrait, pls Comment
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