critique and advice requested.

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
Dbrennan
Regular MemberPosts: 202
Like?
critique and advice requested.
9 months ago

On 4 July, I had an opportunity to do some impromptu portraits for a good friend's brother and his boyfriend.  I do a lot of photography for the Army, but 90% of the work I've done has been ambient-light photography or on-camera-flash work. After my most recent deployment I bought some PCB Einstein lights.  The following were from my shoot with them, and it was my first time photographing a couple.

Camera:  Nikon D2Xs
Lenses: 17-55mm f/2.8 DX, 85mm f/1.4 D, and 60mm f/2.8 G

The photos were shot in my friend's living room in front of the fireplace with a standard 10-foot, white ceiling.

23mm @ f/ 11, ISO 100.  Light is camera left with a 20-degree grid

85mm, f/ 11, ISO 100. Light is camera left with a 10-degree Grid

85mm, f/ 10, ISO 100. Light is camera left with a 7" conical reflector, no grid.

Thank you all for your time and consideration.

-- hide signature --

Duncan Brennan
si peccasse negamus fallimur et nulla est in nobis veritas
(if we refuse to make a mistake, we are deceived, and there's no truth in us)

Nikon D2Xs
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Lawrence Keeney
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,942Gear list
Like?
Re: critique and advice requested.
In reply to Dbrennan, 9 months ago

I personally don't care for the first image because of the angle it was shot from (up-the-nose shot). The other two look good and show an emotion.

-- hide signature --
 Lawrence Keeney's gear list:Lawrence Keeney's gear list
Olympus E-10 Olympus E-1 Olympus E-3 Olympus E-5 Olympus E-M1
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jules Winnfield
Regular MemberPosts: 117
Like?
Re: critique and advice requested.
In reply to Dbrennan, 9 months ago

The smiles make #1 good, but #3 is awesome.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Sailor Blue
Senior MemberPosts: 5,808Gear list
Like?
Re: critique and advice requested.
In reply to Dbrennan, 9 months ago

I agree with Lawrence Keeney about #1 and that the others are good because of the emotion they show.

The lighting is very harsh with dark impenetrable shadows. This isn't too bad on the third image but to my eye the second image needs a bit of fill light to open up the eye sockets. The shiny forehead is also distracting in the second image.

The lighting would have been softened, the forehead less shiny, and the eye sockets opened up by using a diffuser on your Einstein. Here is a good reference to get you started.

Digital Photography Review - Thomas Park - The One-Light Studio

If you don't have any diffusers then I recommend the 30"x 60" foldable softbox from PCB.  Use it horizontally for a head shot or a waist up portrait of 1 to 3 people.  Vertically it is nice for standing portraits.

-- hide signature --

Living and loving it in Bangkok, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

 Sailor Blue's gear list:Sailor Blue's gear list
Canon EOS 7D +10 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Dbrennan
Regular MemberPosts: 202
Like?
Re: critique and advice requested.
In reply to Sailor Blue, 9 months ago

Sailor Blue wrote:

I agree with Lawrence Keeney about #1 and that the others are good because of the emotion they show.

The lighting is very harsh with dark impenetrable shadows. This isn't too bad on the third image but to my eye the second image needs a bit of fill light to open up the eye sockets. The shiny forehead is also distracting in the second image.

The lighting would have been softened, the forehead less shiny, and the eye sockets opened up by using a diffuser on your Einstein. Here is a good reference to get you started.

Digital Photography Review - Thomas Park - The One-Light Studio

If you don't have any diffusers then I recommend the 30"x 60" foldable softbox from PCB. Use it horizontally for a head shot or a waist up portrait of 1 to 3 people. Vertically it is nice for standing portraits.

-- hide signature --

Living and loving it in Bangkok, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

Thank you for the advice.
I actually was trying to go for the deep shadows.

-- hide signature --

Duncan Brennan
si peccasse negamus fallimur et nulla est in nobis veritas
(if we refuse to make a mistake, we are deceived, and there's no truth in us)

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
hotdog321
Veteran MemberPosts: 8,479
Like?
Re: critique and advice requested.
In reply to Dbrennan, 9 months ago

Great images, but the shadows are too dense, IMO. You should strive to get a sense of texture rather than featureless shadow. I would use a reflector or bounce flash to get a bit more fill while still getting shadows.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
erniedecker
Junior MemberPosts: 45
Like?
Re: critique and advice requested.
In reply to hotdog321, 9 months ago

If you were going for the deep shadow look then I think a more serious look would have been better. IMO a smiling shot, esp with a smile that big, is more of a high key type feeling shot. Agree the shiny spot is distracting.

eta-reply to op.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Dbrennan
Regular MemberPosts: 202
Like?
Re: critique and advice requested.
In reply to erniedecker, 9 months ago

erniedecker wrote:

If you were going for the deep shadow look then I think a more serious look would have been better. IMO a smiling shot, esp with a smile that big, is more of a high key type feeling shot. Agree the shiny spot is distracting.

eta-reply to op.

Any tips for avoiding the highlight, or is it just a matter of the angles?

-- hide signature --

Duncan Brennan
si peccasse negamus fallimur et nulla est in nobis veritas
(if we refuse to make a mistake, we are deceived, and there's no truth in us)

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Michael Thomas Mitchell
Veteran MemberPosts: 9,334
Like?
Re: critique and advice requested.
In reply to Dbrennan, 9 months ago

The first shot comes across as very awkward, not just because of the "mouse-eye" camera angle, but because of the over all poor composition and grid lighting.

The second shot is easily the best. Simple. Expressive.

Not crazy about the third. I'm a fan of hard lighting, but it doesn't work here for me. Sorry for not being able to be more specific.

All of them are curious for one specific reason, however: your use of f11 (or thereabouts) with an f1.8 lens. Not suggesting that you needed to be wide open, but why so stopped down? My suspicion is that you were using a monolight that was too powerful for the job, and required this f-stop even at it's lowest power. Correct? Not uncommon if so. Some of the most far-sighted advise I hear is from those telling newbies to get "the most powerful light you can afford". In reality, for living room shooting, even 200ws can be too much. Anyway, I'm curious as to why you were stopped down so much.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
CraigBennett
Contributing MemberPosts: 687Gear list
Like?
Re: critique and advice requested.
In reply to Dbrennan, 9 months ago

#1 composition and angle is very distracting.  #2 good.  #3, I am not a fan of harsh light, but it shows emotion so it works.

Regards,

-- hide signature --
 CraigBennett's gear list:CraigBennett's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VR +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Dbrennan
Regular MemberPosts: 202
Like?
Re: critique and advice requested.
In reply to Michael Thomas Mitchell, 8 months ago

Michael Thomas Mitchell wrote:

The first shot comes across as very awkward, not just because of the "mouse-eye" camera angle, but because of the over all poor composition and grid lighting.

The second shot is easily the best. Simple. Expressive.

Not crazy about the third. I'm a fan of hard lighting, but it doesn't work here for me. Sorry for not being able to be more specific.

All of them are curious for one specific reason, however: your use of f11 (or thereabouts) with an f1.8 lens. Not suggesting that you needed to be wide open, but why so stopped down? My suspicion is that you were using a monolight that was too powerful for the job, and required this f-stop even at it's lowest power. Correct? Not uncommon if so. Some of the most far-sighted advise I hear is from those telling newbies to get "the most powerful light you can afford". In reality, for living room shooting, even 200ws can be too much. Anyway, I'm curious as to why you were stopped down so much.

I stopped down because I wanted the depth of field.  On the D2x, I'm finding that my 85 f/1.4 back focuses (perhaps my fault,) and I wanted to make sure that my subjects were in good focus. Honestly, I've gotten comfortable shooting at f/11 and higher due to what work is asking for. The third, is I'm still learning studio lighting.  I've had these Einsteins since I got back from Afghanistan in April and I'm still feeling them out.

-- hide signature --

Duncan Brennan
si peccasse negamus fallimur et nulla est in nobis veritas
(if we refuse to make a mistake, we are deceived, and there's no truth in us)

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads