Ugly Hedgehog - Photography Forum
Home Active Topics Newest Pictures Search Login Register
Photo Analysis
Portrait comments
Page 1 of 3 next> last>>
Jan 18, 2012 19:27:10   #
RobertinRI Loc: Central Falls, RI, USA
 
I was trying out my new lights today, and my landlord came by. I invited him in for a quick sitting, as I was tired of shooting myself (not in the foot). I had an improvised softbox (silver umbrella with white fabric in front)close on the left, some reflected fill on the right, and a softbox hairlight (new to me). The light backdrop might not have been my first choice, but it's an painter's dropcloth, and seemed to fit.

Would I have been better off without the hairlight (given the white hat)? How can I keep hairlight light off the backdrop? Light ratio ok?

He sat naturally in this position, and I did not change it. He seemed comfortable and had an easy smile.



Reply
Jan 18, 2012 22:14:17   #
ronz Loc: Florida
 
Never let the hair light go past the front of the hair as it adds light to the face . Have backdrop further away from the subject, at least 4 feet.

Reply
Jan 19, 2012 02:06:51   #
tainkc Loc: Kansas City
 
Please explain what is meant by "hairlight". By the way, that photo is a lot better than what I have been doing. This is why I ask.

Reply
 
 
Jan 19, 2012 07:13:34   #
Kenneth Pierce Loc: Campbellsville, Kentucky
 
Try moving subject out from background to about 6 feet. This would prevent some of the hairlight from spilling on the background. Your ratio between main light and reflector seems to be on target. Shadows right under the hat on subject's left bothers me a little, which can be solved by tilting the reflector up slightly.

Reply
Jan 19, 2012 09:56:41   #
Pixelpixie88 Loc: Northern Minnesota
 
I have to admit that I don't know anything about portrait photography, but I would like to say that from my "layman's" terms, I love the idea of what you have here. Backdrop, helmut, etc. Not to mention, he is a good subject.

Reply
Jan 19, 2012 12:01:35   #
twowindsbear
 
Consider steaming your background, to remove the creases.

Or, just wadding it up & stuffing it into a bag - so the creases will be more random.

You may want to add 2 lights, 1 for a background light & the other for a hair light.

Good luck & keep up the good work!

Reply
Jan 19, 2012 13:44:59   #
BGenie Loc: Sacramento, CA
 
Kenneth Pierce wrote:
Try moving subject out from background to about 6 feet. This would prevent some of the hairlight from spilling on the background. Your ratio between main light and reflector seems to be on target. Shadows right under the hat on subject's left bothers me a little, which can be solved by tilting the reflector up slightly.


Kenneth has it right ^^

...but want to add, that I don't like seeing the chair sticking out of his butt. His hands are sitting too low for you to crop it, so I'd suggest draping the chair in the same fabric as the backdrop.
Also, the chair seems a bit high for him to be sitting on. Moving the chair means changing your lighting, which is a pain! I'd suggest getting a small step-stool or box of some-sort, for shorter people to put their feet up on.

Reply
 
 
Jan 19, 2012 15:39:48   #
Lucian Loc: From Wales, living in Ohio
 
Get some dark paint, of say black, dark grey and even some browns and randomly paint streaks all over the back cloth with three seperate brushes and overlap some as you go. Then use something like a piece of sheepskin or bunched up newspaper or even large piece of plastic crumpled up and dab it all over your background and you will have an instant stippled effect that will look great as a darker unobtrusive backdrop.

Steam out the creases before painting though and you could also just pull it off to one side and create a sort of curved flowing set of folds to break it up. keep light off the background as much as possible, so your hair light works better and use mat or flat paint.

To reduce the shadows on the face, especially for shooting females, get a large piece of anything that you can bend an arc into and make it about 1.5 to 2ft thick/depth and about 3-4 ft wide and bend this so that the outsides point up with the dip in the middle.

Place this somehow, make a stand or holder, under the subject's face, about where their knees might be when seated or just a foot further out and this will reflect all the light you need up in to the shadows, from your existing lights. It is a little trade secret for getting great lighting when shooting closer up head and shoulders or waist up shots of women. Don't tell anyone!

Take a shot without it and then play around with it as you watch the light being reflected into the subjects face and then take another shot and see the difference, you'll be amazed.

Also place your hairlight right above and just behind your subjects head about 4 feet or so above the top of the head. Turn off all lights and just play with this to get the light you want on the hair and back of the shoulders. Then turn on your other light and start to build you set.

You can use a reflector instead of a fill light off to one side from your main light, and never put the main light source pointed directly at your subject. ALWAYS feather the light away from the subject. Another pro secret. The edge of the light from an umbrella or preferably a soft box, is what we use which is the best of the light, never the main centre of the light.

Try this to see the effect. Stand a subject sideways on to a window for window light, right in the centre of the window and take a photo (correctly exposed of course). Now move that subject back to the very edge of the window or even 6 inches past the end of the window, side ways on (so the window is pointing to the side of the head).

Now the window is sort of 45 degrees on to them or the window light is, I should say, and take another photo. This is how the light should be set up. You will notice how the light sort of wraps around the subject whereby before it was too hard on the face. This way you need less fill light, (or better said) fill reflector.

That is the way to light your subject. Always use the edge of the light source always, never the centre or middle of that source. That's why we shoot early morn and late afternoon for best outdoor lighting because again this is the edge of the sun light that wraps around the earth and not the middle of the sunlight. It therefore has a better quality to the light.

Reply
Jan 19, 2012 15:42:56   #
RobertinRI Loc: Central Falls, RI, USA
 
Thank you all... I have so much to learn!
R

Reply
Jan 19, 2012 20:16:30   #
BGenie Loc: Sacramento, CA
 
Lucian wrote:
Get some dark paint, of say black, dark grey and even some browns and randomly paint streaks all over the back cloth with three seperate brushes and overlap some as you go. Then use something like a piece of sheepskin or bunched up newspaper or even large piece of plastic crumpled up and dab it all over your background and you will have an instant stippled effect that will look great as a darker unobtrusive backdrop.


Ummm... you could do all this work... OR... you could just buy one pre-made (and probably cheaper then buying all that paint)...
(for example, there are tons available) http://www.amazon.com/Fotodiox-Master-Muslin-Background-Backdrop/dp/B005UJLHY4/ref=wl_it_dp_o_npd?ie=UTF8&coliid=IQIDWOCK8XFHS&colid=3THBD6ZS7JHW7

Otherwise Lucian has some good instructions. :)
Plus there are all kinds of tutorials on YouTube you can search and watch.

Reply
Jan 19, 2012 20:19:53   #
DavidT Loc: Maryland
 
Pardon me if I Photoshop the background with a Gaussian blur to get rid of the creases.

I also applied a trick I learned from Monte Zucker - to tilt the camera slightly, instead of showing the subject in a perfectly vertical
position.



Reply
 
 
Jan 19, 2012 20:26:18   #
MtnMan Loc: ID
 
Nice ideas. Is there a way to avoid the halo?

DavidT wrote:
Pardon me if I Photoshop the background with a Gaussian blur to get rid of the creases.

I also applied a trick I learned from Monte Zucker - to tilt the camera slightly, instead of showing the subject in a perfectly vertical
position.

Reply
Jan 19, 2012 20:32:30   #
BGenie Loc: Sacramento, CA
 
DavidT wrote:
Pardon me if I Photoshop the background with a Gaussian blur to get rid of the creases.

I also applied a trick I learned from Monte Zucker - to tilt the camera slightly, instead of showing the subject in a perfectly vertical
position.


Please don't post-process people's photos without permission.
The OP is asking about technical issue in setting up a shot, not how to "fix" this test shot.

Reply
Jan 19, 2012 20:53:42   #
DavidT Loc: Maryland
 
lleach wrote:
Nice ideas. Is there a way to avoid the halo?

DavidT wrote:
Pardon me if I Photoshop the background with a Gaussian blur to get rid of the creases.

I also applied a trick I learned from Monte Zucker - to tilt the camera slightly, instead of showing the subject in a perfectly vertical
position.


The halo was an unfortunate result from a quick selection that included part of the hardhat. It could have been avoided if I was more careful.

Reply
Jan 19, 2012 20:55:14   #
RobertinRI Loc: Central Falls, RI, USA
 
Here's a quote from Anthony Armstrong-Jones (aka Lord Snowdon) from a Harper and Row book titled "Snowdon Sittings 1979-1983"

"A background has to be just on this side of being something, and just on that side of being nothing: you can only use it until it becomes recognizable, then it's past its usefulness."

I appreciate all the comments and suggestions here!

Reply
Page 1 of 3 next> last>>
If you want to reply, then register here. Registration is free and your account is created instantly, so you can post right away.
Photo Analysis
UglyHedgehog.com - Forum
Copyright 2011-2022 Ugly Hedgehog, Inc.