Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

Started Feb 15, 2008 | Discussions
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KennyS Contributing Member • Posts: 639
Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

Hey everyone.

I would appreciate some comments from you folks on these photos. Any response, good or bad, is helpful, but please try to be constructive.

I used a Canon G7 with a Sunpak 383 bounced up towards the white ceiling for all photos.

Unfortunately, my flash was stuck on full power so I had to use f8 and a speed of 1/1000 to compensate for that (it's all in the thread below). I wanted a much lower aperture, but at least the exposure looks good to me. These are all edited for color curves, but unsharpened and no noise reduction used yet.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1025&message=26754316

Here are the best from the shoot:

Thanks for looking!

ExNihilo Contributing Member • Posts: 543
mediocre

I hate to be harsh... but they are mediocre. They look like snapshots with a bounced flash.

I do think you'll be able to get some good stuff with the G7 if you can work on getting in a more productive environment (not such static layering), work on composition, etc.
--
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MrPond New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

These look like snapshots to me. The light seems to be coming from every direction. No modeling or depth.

I think the mirror pose is the best. Smiling and not looking at the camera is an odd pose. Looking at the camera usually works best.

There is a lot of clutter/distractions in the shots. It needs to be simpler. Say for the mirror shot. Remove the ornament from the mirror and the table with things on it from behind her. The bed shot has that dolphin blanket. Lose it and just use a plain blanket or the solid white sheet. You need to prepare your backgrounds. It is a requirement of a good shot.

I think you can rapidly improve if you read more of the posts in this forum.

I would try off camera flash and some better backgrounds.

bikinchris
bikinchris Forum Pro • Posts: 18,618
Re: Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

First of all, she is very cute and also sweet to let you take photos and let you post them.

Your spirit of experimantation will help you get good as a photographer. So don't get discouraged by people critisizing your shots.
Not so many nose hair search photos please.
--
Chris, Broussard, LA

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Tazz93
Tazz93 Senior Member • Posts: 1,376
Re: Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

I agree with the snapshot look, try to find a lighting that gives a mood and character to your images. Also, don't include anything in the frame that doesn't add to the composition. Lastly, try a tripod or faster shutter speeds. These suggestions will not make a great photo they are just the key ingredients to making a good one. Keep trying and reading and I'm sure you'll get it.

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Verdict1st Regular Member • Posts: 214
Re: Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

Is it just me or is there a focus problem?
--
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AZDYJ2K Junior Member • Posts: 40
Re: Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

I agree with the other poster that she is a cute sweet looking girl. I also agree with the other comments.

This is not meant to be a harsh comment at all, however, I think a little make up would help. Her hair is fine in all the shots except #4 where it looks a little messy on her left side (the hair is fine on the mirror image).

I'm new at this also, however, it seems like you are going for more advanced shots and I think you should concentrate on getting basic poses down first. This will help you get your lighting and settings down and then you can go for the more advanced poses.

I'm still doing basic poses until I perfect that (which is frustrating at times). Listen to the more experienced members on here and keep reading the forums, they are a ton of help! Good luck!

KennyS OP Contributing Member • Posts: 639
Re: Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

Their home is very cluttered, and believe me I moved so much stuff I was tired of moving everything.

I was trying to go for a "this is how she lives" style, as in, not a studio setup. I agree that a strobist approach would have worked better but I don't have the right equipment for that just yet.

The focus is slightly off because I completely forgot to do spot metering.

Thanks for the replies.

KennyS OP Contributing Member • Posts: 639
Re: Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

AZDYJ2K wrote:

I agree with the other poster that she is a cute sweet looking girl.
I also agree with the other comments.

This is not meant to be a harsh comment at all, however, I think a
little make up would help. Her hair is fine in all the shots except

  1. 4 where it looks a little messy on her left side (the hair is fine

on the mirror image).

I'm new at this also, however, it seems like you are going for more
advanced shots and I think you should concentrate on getting basic
poses down first. This will help you get your lighting and settings
down and then you can go for the more advanced poses.

I'm still doing basic poses until I perfect that (which is
frustrating at times). Listen to the more experienced members on
here and keep reading the forums, they are a ton of help! Good luck!

I had her brush her hair beforehand, but I guess both of us didn't catch that.

I'm definitely trying to go beyond the basic classic portrait headshot, but I can see that it is probably best to master that first. The problem is that until I buy the extra stuff, I'm limited to bouncing the Sunpak.

Thanks for looking.

KennyS OP Contributing Member • Posts: 639
Re: Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

bikinchris wrote:

First of all, she is very cute and also sweet to let you take photos
and let you post them.
Your spirit of experimantation will help you get good as a
photographer. So don't get discouraged by people critisizing your
shots.
Not so many nose hair search photos please.
--
Chris, Broussard, LA

Thanks.

Are you saying that the photos of her head tilted up are not flattering?

Kent Johnson Veteran Member • Posts: 5,354
A little freaked out...

... not by the images but by the poor quality of the responses. Apparently we don't have too many high school graduates here any more.

First of all, if your G7 has an x-sync of 1000th of a second then you have basically defied the laws of physics. Not likely.

Your Sunpak can probably do f/5.6 at ISO 100 and 1/160th of a second if it is bounced off of an 8ft white ceiling. Can you confirm?
Other than that I'd say try to nail the focus and not blow the highlights.
-Kent

KennyS OP Contributing Member • Posts: 639
Re: A little freaked out...

Kent Johnson wrote:

... not by the images but by the poor quality of the responses.
Apparently we don't have too many high school graduates here any more.
First of all, if your G7 has an x-sync of 1000th of a second then you
have basically defied the laws of physics. Not likely.
Your Sunpak can probably do f/5.6 at ISO 100 and 1/160th of a second
if it is bounced off of an 8ft white ceiling. Can you confirm?
Other than that I'd say try to nail the focus and not blow the
highlights.
-Kent

Kent,

Please read the link I referenced. I tried setting fairly similar to those, expecting good exposure - but the image was completely washed out, pure white. Only by making ridiculous aperture and shutter speed values did I achieve the correct exposure, because the flash was, for an undetermined reason, only firing at full power. I took a LOT of shots until I found a sucessful-enough remedy.

By the way, the G7/G9 does have quite high flash sync speeds. It's certainly less than 1/250.

Can you pinpoint exactly which highlights are blown? I concentrated most on the stucco detail in #4, I tried very hard to preserve that, and I think I did (especially seen in bigger size it is clearly still visible).

thanos Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

KennyS,

it's nice of her to let you take shots in the apartment. You really need to reduce the background clutter, as ExNihilo suggested and also try some non conventional angles. Interesting photos usually use an angle different from the one that the average viewer looks at things.
For example here's some tips on how to improve these shots.

Shot 1 on the bathroom mirror: Loose the towel. It's very distracting. Let her stand on the left side of the sink and closer to the mirror and tell her to look inside the mirror. Take a close up shot of both her head and the mirror image.

Shot 2 on the bed: Instead of the flash pointing to the ceiling, point it low on the wall to her left and lower your camera angle. Also make yourself a snoot (see strobist.com) and don't let the flash light spread so much. Half of her face should be in the shadow. Much more interesting lighting/shadow contrast like that.
Shot 3: see above.

Shot 4 round mirror: Get closer and put her closer. Her face profile is nice and you should try something like the bathroom shot. Also you can play with the upper mirror curve and create lines to drive the eye to her face etc.

Shot 5 Scrabble board: The stool and desk behind her are distracting. Also her pose is not that flattering. A fast fix could be to hide the desk/stool with a white sheet thus creating an all-white background. Also you can use the game board to create lines. For example you could have her lay on the floor and put her cheek on the corner of the board looking at the camera. Crop tight. In that way the board edges will create lines that drive the viewer's eye to her face.

General note: The light in all the photos is uncontrolled and spreading all over the place. You should try to control it using "gobos" like snoots, reflecting cards, flags etc. You don't need to buy anything, you can build them on your own.

Good luck.
Thanos
--

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Pradipta Dutta
Pradipta Dutta Veteran Member • Posts: 9,780
Focus and metering...

KennyS wrote:

The focus is slightly off because I completely forgot to do spot
metering.

Could you please explain what has focus got to do with metering?

-- hide signature --
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Yehuda Katz Forum Pro • Posts: 25,916
Kenny,

She's a cute young girl. I'm sure she's VERY happy wth your shots.
Yehuda

KennyS wrote:

Hey everyone.

I would appreciate some comments from you folks on these photos. Any
response, good or bad, is helpful, but please try to be constructive.

I used a Canon G7 with a Sunpak 383 bounced up towards the white
ceiling for all photos.

Unfortunately, my flash was stuck on full power so I had to use f8
and a speed of 1/1000 to compensate for that (it's all in the thread
below). I wanted a much lower aperture, but at least the exposure
looks good to me. These are all edited for color curves, but
unsharpened and no noise reduction used yet.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1025&message=26754316

Here are the best from the shoot:

Thanks for looking!

KennyS OP Contributing Member • Posts: 639
Re: Focus and metering...

You're right. I had assumed spot metering was a technique for both exposure and focus - and now I know it is only a more accurate way for determining exposure in certain situations, and not related to focus at all.

I have a hard time "seeing" when something is in sharp focus on the G7.

KennyS OP Contributing Member • Posts: 639
Re: Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

thanos wrote:

KennyS,
it's nice of her to let you take shots in the apartment. You really
need to reduce the background clutter, as ExNihilo suggested and also
try some non conventional angles. Interesting photos usually use an
angle different from the one that the average viewer looks at things.
For example here's some tips on how to improve these shots.
Shot 1 on the bathroom mirror: Loose the towel. It's very
distracting. Let her stand on the left side of the sink and closer to
the mirror and tell her to look inside the mirror. Take a close up
shot of both her head and the mirror image.
Shot 2 on the bed: Instead of the flash pointing to the ceiling,
point it low on the wall to her left and lower your camera angle.
Also make yourself a snoot (see strobist.com) and don't let the flash
light spread so much. Half of her face should be in the shadow. Much
more interesting lighting/shadow contrast like that.
Shot 3: see above.
Shot 4 round mirror: Get closer and put her closer. Her face profile
is nice and you should try something like the bathroom shot. Also you
can play with the upper mirror curve and create lines to drive the
eye to her face etc.
Shot 5 Scrabble board: The stool and desk behind her are distracting.
Also her pose is not that flattering. A fast fix could be to hide the
desk/stool with a white sheet thus creating an all-white background.
Also you can use the game board to create lines. For example you
could have her lay on the floor and put her cheek on the corner of
the board looking at the camera. Crop tight. In that way the board
edges will create lines that drive the viewer's eye to her face.

General note: The light in all the photos is uncontrolled and
spreading all over the place. You should try to control it using
"gobos" like snoots, reflecting cards, flags etc. You don't need to
buy anything, you can build them on your own.

Good luck.
Thanos

Thanos,

That is some excellent advice, and thank you for going picture by picture.

Now that you have pointed it out, I can 'see' that the lighting on 2 and 3 should have been bounced from the left.

Is the towel really that distracting? I left it in b/c in essence it "belongs" to a shot of her in the bathroom.

bikinchris
bikinchris Forum Pro • Posts: 18,618
Re: Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

In a clumbsy sort of way, yes. Looking up her nose is probably not her best side! You are lucky that she wants to let you take photos of her (and that she is so pretty too). So practice a lot. Post here often with your results also!

Remember that light is what makes an image great. There are several great books that can help you understand modeling (light, not your subject). A single flash does not usually make a great image.

KennyS wrote:

bikinchris wrote:
Are you saying that the photos of her head tilted up are not flattering?

-- hide signature --

Chris, Broussard, LA

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thanos Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

KennyS wrote:

Is the towel really that distracting? I left it in b/c in essence
it "belongs" to a shot of her in the bathroom.

Yes, it's dead center and white. The eye is attracted to the brightest things in a scene. If you want to include it change it with a darker one and put it in a corner of the photo. The photo should concentrate on your main subject. Everything else is a distruction.

KennyS OP Contributing Member • Posts: 639
Re: Shots of My Girlfriend (C&C Welcome)

bikinchris wrote:

In a clumbsy sort of way, yes. Looking up her nose is probably not
her best side! You are lucky that she wants to let you take photos of
her (and that she is so pretty too). So practice a lot. Post here
often with your results also!

Remember that light is what makes an image great. There are several
great books that can help you understand modeling (light, not your
subject). A single flash does not usually make a great image.

Chris, Broussard, LA

Upon further review of the last image, I can see that the lighting created an appearance of a double chin, so I think I understand what you mean.

I've been reading lots and lots, and learning lots and lots... but do not own the necessary equipment yet.

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