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  • Self Portrait and Light Setup

    Guys

    I think by now you know that I am struggling to remove the shadows from my portraits. Yesterday, I was very frustrated of not getting my single light setup to work as expected and I spent some time to play around with my Sigma EF-530 DG Super. It was not at all fancy setup but I liked the fact that I was able to take a picture without the dark shadows.


    0.005 sec (1/200) | f/5.6 | 48 mm | ISO 100 | +1/2 EV | Flash Auto, Fired, Return detected

    I had the camera on tripod (4ft from me), with Sigma EF-530 rotated towards my left (camera right) bouncing off the left wall, held a big reflector on my right (camera left). I don't know if this is a good setup but for a face shot atleast it worked. Special thanks to Autofocus for sharing the link to the "Selective Sharpening" tutorial. I applied it here since I felt the original picture was not that sharp.

    I would appreciate if you can give your honest opinion on the light/light setup, composition and sharpness of this image. Any other suggestion/tips would be really appreciated. Thanks!
    PS: If you want to see the original.. do let me know.
    <3 Sri
    Love Nikon D80, 18-135mm & 70-300mm
    Sriz Klickz - A Photography Cafe <- Appreciate if you give me a LIKE on Facebook.
    KlickzBySri @ Flickr
    You cherish a place only when you are there, but photographs are cherished life long.

  • #2
    Hi Sri,

    I like the lighting of the shot. It's not entirely even on the wall (which is pretty hard to do if not impossible with a single light), but that doesn't bother me. It actually gives some depth to the background.

    What I don't like too much, if I'm honest, is the composition. I keep wondering 'what's he looking at??'.

    Maarten.
    Canon EOS 7D, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS, SpeedLite 430 EX
    Canon EOS Digital Rebel (300D), EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6, EF 50 mm f/1.8 II, EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6

    Comment


    • #3
      I think you pulled it of rather well. not sure if it is just the way the photo was taken or the post but the whites of the eye appear overly white almost blown out. Granted I am at work on an uncalibrated monitor. but over all a good shot.

      One thing I have learned recently from Peter Hurley is how to make the jaw line pop more and define it as well. I was watching this at lunch at work and was so taken aback how a minor tweak makes a much better photo.
      It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Peter Hurley! | Scott Kelby's Photoshop Insider

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by morsm View Post
        Hi Sri,

        I like the lighting of the shot. It's not entirely even on the wall (which is pretty hard to do if not impossible with a single light), but that doesn't bother me. It actually gives some depth to the background.

        What I don't like too much, if I'm honest, is the composition. I keep wondering 'what's he looking at??'.

        Maarten.
        Hi Maarten

        Thanks for your honest comment on the composition. I was looking at my wife.. How would you have composed this? I am really interested in know it.. Please please please
        <3 Sri
        Love Nikon D80, 18-135mm & 70-300mm
        Sriz Klickz - A Photography Cafe <- Appreciate if you give me a LIKE on Facebook.
        KlickzBySri @ Flickr
        You cherish a place only when you are there, but photographs are cherished life long.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jonnyquest45 View Post
          I think you pulled it of rather well. not sure if it is just the way the photo was taken or the post but the whites of the eye appear overly white almost blown out. Granted I am at work on an uncalibrated monitor. but over all a good shot.

          One thing I have learned recently from Peter Hurley is how to make the jaw line pop more and define it as well. I was watching this at lunch at work and was so taken aback how a minor tweak makes a much better photo.
          Its Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Peter Hurley! | Scott Kelby's Photoshop Insider
          Waow, Jonnyquest! Thanks a million for sharing the amazing video. This guy is amazing!! Ofcourse, thanks for your valuable comments - very encouraging. Yes, I guess I over done the whites of the eye.. I will try to ge tmy jawline - SHEBANG!
          <3 Sri
          Love Nikon D80, 18-135mm & 70-300mm
          Sriz Klickz - A Photography Cafe <- Appreciate if you give me a LIKE on Facebook.
          KlickzBySri @ Flickr
          You cherish a place only when you are there, but photographs are cherished life long.

          Comment


          • #6
            Your lighting is pretty even and shadows are soft...why ? because your light source is huge. The bigger the light source the more the light wraps. When you don't have a wall to bounce from and you're using your umbrella you can get that wrapping light by moving that umbrella right next to your subject. The closer, the bigger light source it is, the more the light wraps and the shadows are soft.

            Problem is when you are shooting a single light set-up for a group you can't move the light that close to everyone - you have to compromise and center the light (to avoid shadows from one person onto the next person) and raise the light up (to force the shadows to fall downward).
            "They call me Bruce."
            www.brucebphotography.com

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by zona5101 View Post
              Your lighting is pretty even and shadows are soft...why ? because your light source is huge. The bigger the light source the more the light wraps. When you don't have a wall to bounce from and you're using your umbrella you can get that wrapping light by moving that umbrella right next to your subject. The closer, the bigger light source it is, the more the light wraps and the shadows are soft.

              Problem is when you are shooting a single light set-up for a group you can't move the light that close to everyone - you have to compromise and center the light (to avoid shadows from one person onto the next person) and raise the light up (to force the shadows to fall downward).
              Again an excellent explanation Bruce. I got it, this time my light source was closer to me and the shadows were very soft which I cloned easily. But for group shots, not sure if moving the light closer from center (distance between the group and light/camera) would make any difference. Ofcourse, I need to move group much away from background.
              <3 Sri
              Love Nikon D80, 18-135mm & 70-300mm
              Sriz Klickz - A Photography Cafe <- Appreciate if you give me a LIKE on Facebook.
              KlickzBySri @ Flickr
              You cherish a place only when you are there, but photographs are cherished life long.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by kuul13 View Post
                But for group shots, not sure if moving the light closer from center (distance between the group and light/camera) would make any difference.
                Right. This is the compromise. You can't effectively move the light closer to the group and still get even coverage...at least not with a "normal" umbrella/speedlight. They make parabolic umbrellas that are huge that would probably do the trick but really when you talk about unconstrained resources there are lots of ways to solve the problem. The real world challenge is how to best solve the problem with limited consequences using the gear you have...
                "They call me Bruce."
                www.brucebphotography.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by zona5101 View Post
                  The real world challenge is how to best solve the problem with limited consequences using the gear you have...
                  You are right I really can't go much closer to the group unless I have good light. May be I have a very small umbrella for the setup (). And also I agree with you on using the resources available in hand.

                  I thought I solved the issue of shadows in portraits but NO. Yesterday I tried shooting through my umbrella (I tried various angles /directions/distance) which was close to me on my left at an angle pointing down. I placed a big reflector on my right. I got shadows around my head. I doubt now that it might be because of the on-camera flash that triggers the remote flash. I doubt that because the there was no angular shadow, it was straight in my back. I can post my picture if you are still willing to help me (I know it's tiring for you but I am not tired yet, I really want to understand lights).

                  Thanks again Bruce!
                  <3 Sri
                  Love Nikon D80, 18-135mm & 70-300mm
                  Sriz Klickz - A Photography Cafe <- Appreciate if you give me a LIKE on Facebook.
                  KlickzBySri @ Flickr
                  You cherish a place only when you are there, but photographs are cherished life long.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    No problem - post away and we'll keep at it...
                    In the meantime here is a shot I took using a single umbrella and a speedlight. The background is less than a foot behind her...a little bit of a shadow but its pretty soft...
                    I also had a reflector in this shot but I was mainly bouncing light back into the face. - So not a group shot - i don't know that I have any group shots with a single light.
                    "They call me Bruce."
                    www.brucebphotography.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by zona5101 View Post
                      No problem - post away and we'll keep at it...
                      In the meantime here is a shot I took using a single umbrella and a speedlight. The background is less than a foot behind her...a little bit of a shadow but its pretty soft...
                      I also had a reflector in this shot but I was mainly bouncing light back into the face. - So not a group shot - i don't know that I have any group shots with a single light.
                      Thanks Bruce. Do you mind sharing the setup please. Where was the umbrella and reflector. Do you trigger the speedlight with your popup camera flash?
                      <3 Sri
                      Love Nikon D80, 18-135mm & 70-300mm
                      Sriz Klickz - A Photography Cafe <- Appreciate if you give me a LIKE on Facebook.
                      KlickzBySri @ Flickr
                      You cherish a place only when you are there, but photographs are cherished life long.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        great job. It is very hard to capture self-portrait... as you can't see yourself in the viewfinder..

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ccting View Post
                          great job. It is very hard to capture self-portrait... as you can't see yourself in the viewfinder..
                          Ah, that's so nice of you and very true. It is one of the hardest task I guess
                          <3 Sri
                          Love Nikon D80, 18-135mm & 70-300mm
                          Sriz Klickz - A Photography Cafe <- Appreciate if you give me a LIKE on Facebook.
                          KlickzBySri @ Flickr
                          You cherish a place only when you are there, but photographs are cherished life long.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The umbrella is to the left in the photo. The ribs were touching the ceiling so the center point was probably 4.5 feet off the ground - it is a 60" convertible umbrella (a bounce w/white on the inside). It was about 2 1/2 feet from her. The reflector was on the other side (right). it was about waist high and angled towards her face. The back ground was less that a foot behind her. SB 25 and I can't recall the power but it was probably 1/8 or a 1/16 power. camera 1/60 f2.8 iso200 50mm on a D90. I use Radio Popper triggers.
                            "They call me Bruce."
                            www.brucebphotography.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by zona5101 View Post
                              The umbrella is to the left in the photo. The ribs were touching the ceiling so the center point was probably 4.5 feet off the ground - it is a 60" convertible umbrella (a bounce w/white on the inside). It was about 2 1/2 feet from her. The reflector was on the other side (right). it was about waist high and angled towards her face. The back ground was less that a foot behind her. SB 25 and I can't recall the power but it was probably 1/8 or a 1/16 power. camera 1/60 f2.8 iso200 50mm on a D90. I use Radio Popper triggers.
                              Great Bruce. Couple of things.. Did you place the umbrella at 45 degree pointing down on her? Reflection, I guess was very close to her body to give more light on her face. Right?

                              I am sure the size of umbrella make a difference. How much? not sure. I have a couple of cheapo 33'' white umbrella (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...d=254763229021).

                              I am planning to buy 1-2 TTL flashes to build better lighting brigade. I have question on this too.. but will add it in respective forum.
                              <3 Sri
                              Love Nikon D80, 18-135mm & 70-300mm
                              Sriz Klickz - A Photography Cafe <- Appreciate if you give me a LIKE on Facebook.
                              KlickzBySri @ Flickr
                              You cherish a place only when you are there, but photographs are cherished life long.

                              Comment

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