Best setting to do some nude/portrait photo with 350D

Started Jan 29, 2007 | Discussions
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cervusint New Member • Posts: 17
Best setting to do some nude/portrait photo with 350D


I've just received my new Tamron 17-50 2.8 lens. The least I can say is that it is a really great piece of optics ;-)) (just tested a little outside). But I'm really new to DSLR world.

To be franck, I was a little disapointed when I first used my new 350D (XT) with the kit lens last month: I came from a Pro1, which is great with a fantastic L lens, and my first pictures with the 350D looked very poor probably due to the combined facts that I'm a newbie, the kit lens is really poor for indoor pictures, and the indoor nude/portrait is a difficult "job" (but so gratefull) and needs a lot of light...

Well, now I'm impatient to test this new lens to do some portrait and nude pictures of my beloved wife. The light are the usual lights in a home. My equipment includes:
350D + flash 420EX + lens Tamron 17-50

I use the flash in bounce mode with an additional white sheet of brillant paper stuck to th 420ex which reflects a part of the ligh to the model

So, what are the camera setting the most used into those kind of photo session? I'l like to get clear brillant pictures (a contrario of "artistic" soft and blured ones )

Please, fell free to give some really detailled advice, like you were spoken to a dumb newbie (me!) who doesn't know a sh... about Tv mode, or P or Av etc... or aperture etc...

I've read the manual which is useful for the "here the button" -> "what it is for" way, but I'd like the "I need this result" -> "what are the setting" way

many thanks in advance.

skrubol Contributing Member • Posts: 927

Try experimenting with natural light if you've got an appropriate room with enough windows to get good exposure. You may still want to use the flash as fill if you have natural light, or use the flash as key and the natural as fill.

For flash work, a single on-camera flash is a bit limiting, but with some practice can produce some decent shots. You'll probably want to put the camera at ISO 200 or 400 to make sure the flash has enough power. You should be able to get away with 100 if your aperture is at f/2.8. You will probably want to use the camera in manual mode. P mode is too restrictive, and Av and Tv modes won't expose properly. The flash exposure will still be automatic in M mode. The exposure should show massive underexposure if the flash is the primary light source. Shutter speed will be used to control ambient light. The slower the shutter speed, the more ambient light will be allowed. If you've got a tripod you can probably go as low as 30 if your subject can stay still. 60 is a better bet, and a minimum if you're hand-holding with a 50mm lens. If your ambient light is not natural light and you don't have anything to compensate for it, you may want to use your maximum flash sync speed (200) to have minimum ambient light in the photo. This will make things behind your subject dark. If you use it slower and have incandescent or fluorescent lighting, the white balance of the foreground and background will be different. If it's incandescent there will be a red/yellow cast to the background, green for fluorescent. Natural light matches well with the flash.

You will adjust the aperture to affect the depth of field. Narrow DoF is typically desirable in portraits. The larger the aperture (smaller f/number) the narrower the DoF. Most lenses aren't as sharp wide open though, so you won't want to leave it at f/2.8 for all your pictures. It should be quite sharp at f/4. f/8 is typically the best performance of most lenses, and has DoF closest to how our eyes actually see, which may not be a plus for portraits. Another note on DoF. At f/2.8 it may be so thin that not all of your subject will be in focus. This can be hard to deal with, but can also be used to your advantage.

You will probably want to dial in some flash exposure compensation. +2/3 or +1 is good for light skinned people I think. For darker skin tones, none may be needed (or even some negative compensation for someone who is black.)

Experiment a lot. Try not to get frustrated if your results aren't what you're hoping for. You will probably won't find some things you like and don't like until you download the pictures to the computer and see them on a bigger screen. Try and plan out your next session based on that. That reminds me of one other thing. Plan out the session. Don't just pick a place and start taking pictures. Plan what you would like for a background and what poses you want to start with. Spontaneity is good, but it's hard to even get started without a good plan.

3oD, Fifty f/one.eight, twenty8-1o5 f/three.five-four.five, Seventy-2hundred f/fourL

skrubol Contributing Member • Posts: 927
Oh, and read some in the lighting forum.
-- hide signature --

3oD, Fifty f/one.eight, twenty8-1o5 f/three.five-four.five, Seventy-2hundred f/fourL

DennisS Contributing Member • Posts: 876
better bounce card

I'm not sure if you are talking about environmental portraits/nudes or more of the typical studio backdrop stuff. I thought you may find this interesting though...for environmental flash portraits I've started using a technique with flash that I saw in a video.

Heres a simple shot I did with a simple one flash setup:

I used the "better bounce card" idea I saw in this video:

As for nudes, it depends a lot on what style you are talking about (classic fine art or?). For environmental stuff I try to work a lot with natural light and reflectors, for studio stuff, well studio lighting and backdrops etc.

DennisS Contributing Member • Posts: 876
meant to add...

The reason I posted that pic was to give you an idea of how you can make interesting backgrounds out of your house and its lights. That pic mixes tungsten light with flash. The background of that pic is warm because the light is balanced for flash, not tungsten. Also, shot at f1.4 and about an eight of a second to get the soft effect. You can do lots of interesting work with one flash.

cervusint OP New Member • Posts: 17
Re: Best setting to do some nude/portrait photo with 350D

thanks for your interesting tips.

About the "a better bounce card", I already tried it with a relative succes in the first use of the kit lens. But I expect better results with my tamron 2.8!

you said:

"As for nudes, it depends a lot on what style you are talking about (classic fine art or?)."

I think it is more the "or?" in the hot way of saying So, any advice for that? I dn't have additional lightning (just my 420ex and a bounce card, the 2 ambiant bulbs and an aditional halogen lamp)

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