Close
Close
  1. #1
    robin623 is offline I'm new here!
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    6

    Default Christmas light lighting for portraits

    Hello everyone. I am wanting to take some photos using mini lights in the background of portrait shots (white lights hanging down and using a wide aperture to blur them) seen in the link below but I can't seem to figure out how to light the subject (person) from the front while still having the lights lit at the back. If I use a softbox it's too bright and the lights are not lit. If I don't use any lighting then the subject seems to be too dark even at a low aperture. I do photos out of my basement so there is no natural light and I'm taking photos of children who move quickly so having a slow shutter speed isn't an option either. I have noticed photos done before with the photographer using lighting of some sort, so I wondered how to do it and still have the lights lit. Any help would be really appreciated.

  2. #2
    CarissaLyn's Avatar
    CarissaLyn is offline dPS Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Near Boston, MA
    Posts
    668

    Default

    You need to have your subject far enough away from your background, and control the power on your flash (we are talking speedlight right? Not a continuous light?) that the softbox is lighting your subject, but not throwing light onto the background. You should also have your shutter speed to your max sync speed (again assuming you're using a flash) to cut down the ambient light as well. Basically you need to know how to light your subject without lighting the background. Might take some practice, moving them and the softbox around. I'd practice with something inanimate if the kids don't have enough patience.
    My Website: Carissa Lyn
    My Flickr Photos
    Nikon D5000 | Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 | Tamron 70-200 2.8 | Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 | Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-S | Various speedlights & lighting equipment

  3. #3
    Bernoutludok is offline I'm new here!
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Thanks for asking, I just wanted to ask the same question as you did. Thanks CarissaLyn for giving a great answer!

  4. #4
    ceopier's Avatar
    ceopier is offline I'm new here!
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default

    My father to do pictures of us standing in front of a Christmas tree. We stood way in front of it. I think that will do the trick.

  5. #5
    smudged-blue's Avatar
    smudged-blue is offline dPS Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    68

    Default

    Thanks for asking this question as I wondering the same thing. Thanks CarissaLyn for your answer.

    I tried this just yesterday, I have three boy's (9,8 and 4) that rarely keep still, I set them up a few feet infront of christmas lights on a black sheet background, I used my speedlite with my umbrella (to help soften the lighting, and speedlite set on lowest lighting), and set to the side and a reflector on the opposite side. I had to do this in a dark room. It worked, my lights in the background where blurred and my boy's were sharp and in focus. And as CarissaLyn said if flash is front on it looses the glow in the christmas lights.

    I still need alot of practise to get this just right, but I'm posting this to say it can work.
    "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" - author unknown

    My greatest Loves- My husband, our 3 boy's, animals, my canon EOS 650D, my canon EFs 18-55mm, EFs 18-135mm, EF 50mm and EF90-300mm lens, my speedlite 320EX and creating with prisma premier colored pencils.

  6. #6
    CarissaLyn's Avatar
    CarissaLyn is offline dPS Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Near Boston, MA
    Posts
    668

    Default

    Awesome! Glad it worked for you. I'd love to see the results. I haven't actually done this with a human subject (don't have a lot of guinea pigs, er models in my house!) but I've done it with some still life objects (here and here).

    Now the next fun step is to experiment with changing the shape of the bokeh.
    My Website: Carissa Lyn
    My Flickr Photos
    Nikon D5000 | Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 | Tamron 70-200 2.8 | Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 | Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-S | Various speedlights & lighting equipment

  7. #7
    smudged-blue's Avatar
    smudged-blue is offline dPS Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    68

    Default

    I hope robin623 won't mind me posting an image here, fell free to have it deleted if you don't want it here.

    Ok, I'll post one of the photo's I got. Remember I still gotta play around with this and practise this a lot more, so I'm posting this just to show that you can freeze a kid for this type of image. My son was kicking his feet when I took this.

    Taken is shutter priority
    Camera - Canon EOS 650D
    Aperture - f5.0
    Shutter speed - 1/3 sec
    Focal length - 50mm
    ISO- 100
    white balance - auto.
    speedlite used.

    I guess I could change things like, ISO, shutter speed and strength of the speedlite flash (as it was set to it's min) to help improve the lighting on the subject. I also added a very quick drawing of the set up I had used.
    If any one has tips on how to improve it feel free to add them.
    Last edited by smudged-blue; 12-15-2012 at 09:54 PM.
    "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" - author unknown

    My greatest Loves- My husband, our 3 boy's, animals, my canon EOS 650D, my canon EFs 18-55mm, EFs 18-135mm, EF 50mm and EF90-300mm lens, my speedlite 320EX and creating with prisma premier colored pencils.

  8. #8
    smudged-blue's Avatar
    smudged-blue is offline dPS Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    68

    Default

    CarissaLyn - just had a chance to check out your website. You have many beautiful photo's there, I'll be stopping by there again for another peak, well done. I'm hoping to try out changing shape of bokeh once my 50mm lens arrives (it's on order).
    "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" - author unknown

    My greatest Loves- My husband, our 3 boy's, animals, my canon EOS 650D, my canon EFs 18-55mm, EFs 18-135mm, EF 50mm and EF90-300mm lens, my speedlite 320EX and creating with prisma premier colored pencils.

  9. #9
    misterfour's Avatar
    misterfour is offline Photography is a lie!
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Simi Valley, CA
    Posts
    757

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ceopier View Post
    My father to do pictures of us standing in front of a Christmas tree. We stood way in front of it. I think that will do the trick.
    ^This. Or you could get away with a*little less distance and using a telephoto lens to zoom in and force an out-of-focus background. I'm planning on playing around with the idea this weekend.

    *I think in this case, a more open f-stop (like 1.8 - 2.8) won't really help too much without the added use of distance from the lights if you want to properly create some larger blurred light effects. I kind of think of it like this... ever see any environmental city portraits where the night time city skyline is in the background and they have those beautiful blurred lights? Generally, you're talking hundreds of feet of distance... but I think it can be pulled off in a room no problem.

    Here's a picture I decided to do while we were decorating the tree a few days ago. My son has tons of energy and won't give me more than 2-3 tries. I decided to tie him in place, use a speed light camera left high (simple umbrella), and one one low power to light him a little from behind (gridded, but didn't matter, no time to adjust so probably useless, hah!). Even a few feet away from the tree at f/2.8 on a 35mm f/1.8 lens barely blurred the lights on the tree. I was close and above on a small step ladder. I did shoot at ISO 200 to help brighten them though.

    Merry Christmas!

    I'd like to achieve something similar to this result below, but I'd have to bring some lights with me to the mall at night (giant Christmas tree) and I don't think that'll fly!

    Bokeh Christmas Tree

    Sorry, I sure got long-winded there...
    Last edited by misterfour; 12-07-2012 at 06:37 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Log in

Log in