Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's

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bigpigbig
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Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
8 months ago

I went back to the motor show with two SB900's and a small umbrella (as big as I thought would be less than obnoxious) and one SB900 set to remote on the end of a monopod. My wife held the monopod flash high and just off axis. It was used as the main. The other SB900 sat on top of my D800e with the 70-200 2.8. I used the factory plastic diffuser and tilted the on camera flash 45 degrees upwards. I set it to master and -1.0 to be used as a fill.

I hope someone with more experience can tell me what I could have done better.

Here are a few, the rest can be seen at my Flickr gallery

Sorry this one (below) is without a flash

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olyflyer
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Beautiful girls, but...
In reply to bigpigbig, 8 months ago

...the WB is in my opinion wrong, making the skin tone yellow. I think the problem is the mixed light. Also the bokeh of that lens isn't very nice. Very good details, but the background is disturbing. Sorry.

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bigpigbig
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Re: Beautiful girls, but...
In reply to olyflyer, 8 months ago

olyflyer wrote:

...the WB is in my opinion wrong, making the skin tone yellow. I think the problem is the mixed light. Also the bokeh of that lens isn't very nice. Very good details, but the background is disturbing. Sorry.

Thanks. And don't be sorry. I make a living critiquing photographs.

Interesting comments.

Bokeh: what is it you don't like? The lens is not known for spectacular bokeh, but all reviews I have read and my personal experience is that it is quite good.

As for color: Is your monitor calibrated? What monitor are you using? I have all of mine calibrated and they certainly don't look yellow. There were all colors of the rainbow, light, but 1,3 and 4 were lit with flash.

???

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michaeladawson
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Re: Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
In reply to bigpigbig, 8 months ago

Nicely done.  WB looks ok but I'm on an iPad right now.  My comment would be that you need even less fill flash.  I'm not seeing any shadows on the faces.  Your wife stood to one side with the umbrella held just above head level??  Maybe have the on-camera flash turned down to -2??

But I like them.

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paulski66
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Re: Beautiful girls, but...
In reply to olyflyer, 8 months ago

olyflyer wrote:

...the WB is in my opinion wrong, making the skin tone yellow. I think the problem is the mixed light. Also the bokeh of that lens isn't very nice. Very good details, but the background is disturbing. Sorry.

I disagree with both of these statements, especially the bokeh. I think the oof rendering is fine.

Nice pics!

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michaeladawson
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Changed my mind - Re: Girls Girls Girls
In reply to michaeladawson, 8 months ago

I changed my mind.  The WB is off.  In photos #1 and #4 there seems to be too much cyan.   So I loaded them in PS and did my usual CMYK sanity check.

Cyan is indeed too much, particularly on #4.  The yellow also reads a bit high.  Fixing both of these gives a much more pleasing rendition.

And yes, I have a calibrated wide gamut monitor.  But reading CMYK values with the eyedropper tool doesn't really require a calibrated monitor.

michaeladawson wrote:

Nicely done. WB looks ok but I'm on an iPad right now. My comment would be that you need even less fill flash. I'm not seeing any shadows on the faces. Your wife stood to one side with the umbrella held just above head level?? Maybe have the on-camera flash turned down to -2??

But I like them.

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Alan Brown
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Nice set.. esp in circumstances
In reply to bigpigbig, 8 months ago

bigpigbig wrote:

I went back to the motor show with two SB900's and a small umbrella (as big as I thought would be less than obnoxious) and one SB900 set to remote on the end of a monopod. My wife held the monopod flash high and just off axis. It was used as the main. The other SB900 sat on top of my D800e with the 70-200 2.8. I used the factory plastic diffuser and tilted the on camera flash 45 degrees upwards. I set it to master and -1.0 to be used as a fill.

I hope someone with more experience can tell me what I could have done better.

Here are a few, the rest can be seen at my Flickr gallery

Sorry this one (below) is without a flash

just a little on the hot side for my taste... nothing I couldn't easily fix if they were mine.

Nice to see some images here though

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olyflyer
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Re: Beautiful girls, but...
In reply to bigpigbig, 8 months ago

bigpigbig wrote:

olyflyer wrote:

...the WB is in my opinion wrong, making the skin tone yellow. I think the problem is the mixed light. Also the bokeh of that lens isn't very nice. Very good details, but the background is disturbing. Sorry.

Thanks. And don't be sorry. I make a living critiquing photographs.

Interesting comments.

Bokeh: what is it you don't like? The lens is not known for spectacular bokeh, but all reviews I have read and my personal experience is that it is quite good.

I don't like when I see sharp edges in the OOF area. Also, it looks like that the lens created one image for each lens element, which is in my opinion also not nice. I don't know which lens you have used, or at which aperture, there is no EXIF, but in my opinion it isn't very nice. OK, it is a matter of taste, but I like smooth bokeh more than this busy type.

As for color: Is your monitor calibrated?

Yes, my screen is calibrated, using ColorMunki Display hardware, but even if I look at it using my Samsung III phone they still look too yellow, typical for fluorescent/flash mix.

What monitor are you using? I have all of mine calibrated and they certainly don't look yellow.

How did you calibrate yours? I mean, with some software only, using your eyes as reference?

There were all colors of the rainbow, light, but 1,3 and 4 were lit with flash.

???

The colour is off because you most probably used AWB and NOT balanced the flashes to the ambient light. The camera can not handle mixed light.

Also, looking at the images once again, I think there is just too much light. Perhaps the histogram is perfect, I don't know, but to my eyes, on my calibrated monitor, it seems as the flashes were a bit too strong. Perhaps if the light would have been a bit weaker it would have improved the colours as well.

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philm5d
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Re: Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
In reply to bigpigbig, 8 months ago

On my ridiculously expensive but fantastic Eizo monitor the skin tones are spot on. Only quibble is contrast is a bit low- easily corrected in levels (see below), all a matter of taste really. Cross lighting on number 2 is perhaps not over flattering, otherwise all great!

bigpigbig wrote:

I went back to the motor show with two SB900's and a small umbrella (as big as I thought would be less than obnoxious) and one SB900 set to remote on the end of a monopod. My wife held the monopod flash high and just off axis. It was used as the main. The other SB900 sat on top of my D800e with the 70-200 2.8. I used the factory plastic diffuser and tilted the on camera flash 45 degrees upwards. I set it to master and -1.0 to be used as a fill.

I hope someone with more experience can tell me what I could have done better.

Here are a few, the rest can be seen at my Flickr gallery

Sorry this one (below) is without a flash

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Bryan
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Re: Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
In reply to bigpigbig, 8 months ago

bigpigbig wrote:

I went back to the motor show with two SB900's and a small umbrella (as big as I thought would be less than obnoxious) and one SB900 set to remote on the end of a monopod. My wife held the monopod flash high and just off axis. It was used as the main. The other SB900 sat on top of my D800e with the 70-200 2.8. I used the factory plastic diffuser and tilted the on camera flash 45 degrees upwards. I set it to master and -1.0 to be used as a fill.

I hope someone with more experience can tell me what I could have done better.

Here are a few, the rest can be seen at my Flickr gallery

Sorry this one (below) is without a flash

Sorry but all I see is flash overkill. I used to get similar results (not wanted) when working in South Yemen. Without flash the bright light/dark shadows was difficult. With flash it had to be held back to avoid wash-out which I think you have here - sorry.

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InTheMist
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Tata written on her tata!
In reply to bigpigbig, 8 months ago

Two of those girls in your flickr set have Tata written on her tata!

Agree about the white balance tho, and watch your crop, you've snipped some hands, arms and elbows off in uncomfortable places. I would try a second edit and see what you can make of it. In such a horrible white-balance disaster as the lighits you were under, there is no shame in turning them black and white.

Brightness is good, I would have been tempted to push the flash a bit harder (relative to ambient) to try to overpower those ugly overhead lights.

Tough lighting.

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laddsmith
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Re: Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
In reply to philm5d, 8 months ago

Great shots at a show!  Interesting I have a calibrated Eizo monitor and the color looks fine.  Bokeh OK as well.  Imo, #3 is the winner.  There is possibly a touch of off lighting, reflection in the noses on the others, but nothing that couldn't be easily fixed.

Nice work!!

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olyflyer
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Re: Beautiful girls, but...
In reply to paulski66, 8 months ago

paulski66 wrote:

olyflyer wrote:

...the WB is in my opinion wrong, making the skin tone yellow. I think the problem is the mixed light. Also the bokeh of that lens isn't very nice. Very good details, but the background is disturbing. Sorry.

I disagree with both of these statements, especially the bokeh. I think the oof rendering is fine.

OK, I can live with that. We don't always have to agree.

Nice pics!

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Skatterball
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Re: Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
In reply to bigpigbig, 8 months ago

Sorry to criticize such lovely models but to my eyes, all of your shots look a bit too much like they were shot with one, direct, on-camera flash.

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JF69
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skin *tones* rather than actual colors are the problem;
In reply to michaeladawson, 8 months ago

it beguiles me how after all these years Nikon (as well as Canon) do not get pleasing skin tones (note carefully: "tones" not colors) out of camera ("ooc"), without too much processing.
The D800/e imager together with the D600/610 imager are probably the best all-round sensors around today; but as regards to ooc skintones……the Fuji cameras are still the best around.
C'mon Nikon/Sony/Canon, get your act together as regards to out-of-camera skintone rendition already!

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michaeladawson
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Re: Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
In reply to Skatterball, 8 months ago

Skatterball wrote:

Sorry to criticize such lovely models but to my eyes, all of your shots look a bit too much like they were shot with one, direct, on-camera flash.

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Skatterball

Agree...  see my first response post in the thread.  The on-camera flash is too strong in my opinion.  Just my opinion of course.  I suggested dialing the fill flash down another stop so that there was some facial shadow definition from the main off-camera flash.

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Mike Dawson

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bigpigbig
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Re: Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
In reply to michaeladawson, 8 months ago

michaeladawson wrote:

Skatterball wrote:

Sorry to criticize such lovely models but to my eyes, all of your shots look a bit too much like they were shot with one, direct, on-camera flash.

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Skatterball

Agree... see my first response post in the thread. The on-camera flash is too strong in my opinion. Just my opinion of course. I suggested dialing the fill flash down another stop so that there was some facial shadow definition from the main off-camera flash.

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Mike Dawson

It was FAR from a studio set up. There were throngs of people and my wife, who knows little about lighting, with the main flash into an umbrella on a monopod. I think there are two issues, she wasn't off axis enough (look at the flickr page for more examples) and the ratio was not right. I did change the ratio on the back of the camera a few times but it seems to make little difference. Again, there was no way to be clinical about things in this setting. Distances and angles were never going to be near full control.

I learned much from doing it (and got to look at pretty girls) and even more from comments here.

Thank you.

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michaeladawson
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Re: Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
In reply to bigpigbig, 8 months ago

bigpigbig wrote:

michaeladawson wrote:

Skatterball wrote:

Sorry to criticize such lovely models but to my eyes, all of your shots look a bit too much like they were shot with one, direct, on-camera flash.

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Skatterball

Agree... see my first response post in the thread. The on-camera flash is too strong in my opinion. Just my opinion of course. I suggested dialing the fill flash down another stop so that there was some facial shadow definition from the main off-camera flash.

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Mike Dawson

It was FAR from a studio set up. There were throngs of people and my wife, who knows little about lighting, with the main flash into an umbrella on a monopod. I think there are two issues, she wasn't off axis enough (look at the flickr page for more examples) and the ratio was not right. I did change the ratio on the back of the camera a few times but it seems to make little difference. Again, there was no way to be clinical about things in this setting. Distances and angles were never going to be near full control.

I learned much from doing it (and got to look at pretty girls) and even more from comments here.

Thank you.

I should also add that I believe I said that the photos were very nice images (not the exact words).  And I still stick to that.  I like them and overall I'd say you did a very good job.  I do think the cyan levels are too high as has been discussed at length above.  But that is a PP thing and really has nothing to do with the taking of the actual images.

I agree with your self assessment that your wife was probably not off axis enough.  My own personal favorite for general portraiture type work is a loop lighting setup, a nose shadow extending towards one mouth corner but not touching it.

I seem to recall in one of your first posts you described that your on-camera flash was tilted up with the built in diffuser pulled out?  Do I remember that correctly?  In a venue like this car show that doesn't seem to be a very effective flash head positioning.  I think it would have been an easier setup to simply point the flash head straight ahead and dial down the compensation/ratio to -2 or -3.

The learning is the best part.  I'm continually trying and learning new things every time I go out on one of my shoots.  And I usually learn something new for PP when I bring the images back home.

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bigpigbig
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Re: Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
In reply to michaeladawson, 8 months ago

michaeladawson wrote:

bigpigbig wrote:

michaeladawson wrote:

Skatterball wrote:

Sorry to criticize such lovely models but to my eyes, all of your shots look a bit too much like they were shot with one, direct, on-camera flash.

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Skatterball

Agree... see my first response post in the thread. The on-camera flash is too strong in my opinion. Just my opinion of course. I suggested dialing the fill flash down another stop so that there was some facial shadow definition from the main off-camera flash.

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Mike Dawson

It was FAR from a studio set up. There were throngs of people and my wife, who knows little about lighting, with the main flash into an umbrella on a monopod. I think there are two issues, she wasn't off axis enough (look at the flickr page for more examples) and the ratio was not right. I did change the ratio on the back of the camera a few times but it seems to make little difference. Again, there was no way to be clinical about things in this setting. Distances and angles were never going to be near full control.

I learned much from doing it (and got to look at pretty girls) and even more from comments here.

Thank you.

I should also add that I believe I said that the photos were very nice images (not the exact words). And I still stick to that. I like them and overall I'd say you did a very good job. I do think the cyan levels are too high as has been discussed at length above. But that is a PP thing and really has nothing to do with the taking of the actual images.

I agree with your self assessment that your wife was probably not off axis enough. My own personal favorite for general portraiture type work is a loop lighting setup, a nose shadow extending towards one mouth corner but not touching it.

I seem to recall in one of your first posts you described that your on-camera flash was tilted up with the built in diffuser pulled out? Do I remember that correctly? In a venue like this car show that doesn't seem to be a very effective flash head positioning. I think it would have been an easier setup to simply point the flash head straight ahead and dial down the compensation/ratio to -2 or -3.

The learning is the best part. I'm continually trying and learning new things every time I go out on one of my shoots. And I usually learn something new for PP when I bring the images back home.

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Mike Dawson
Thank you again Mike.

As for the on camera flash, I had the flash tilted at a 45 degree angle with the semi opaque plastic diffuser on it. My thinking was that it would trigger the key flash more easily (though I didn't try it any other way) and that at 45 degrees, all the light hitting the model would be through the side of the diffuser (might be a tiny bit softer and avoid bright shiny highlights). Faulty logic?

Would the umbrella still be worth using on the key light (it was surely more difficult than just a bare flash) or with two bare flashes would the fill be enough? At 15-20 feet, I am not sure the small umbrella made that much of a softer transition anyway.

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