First Portrait Attempts

Started Feb 26, 2010 | Discussions thread
jimmythemac Junior Member • Posts: 42
Re: First Portrait Attempts

I agree with the previous posts as to what's wrong, but I'll put in my two cents as to how to approach your next shoot.

First, find a lighting setup with a diagram that you like. Use this exclusively for your next shoot. Use a different one on every shoot. This way you can really learn what poses work with what setup.

Begin by setting up your fill light. Shoot and adjust your exposure until you've made a base light that is underexposed in the amount you've decided on, whether it's a stop and a half, or two stops, whatever. While there are lighting setups (like the clamshell) with fills in different spots, chances are your setup needs the fill as close to the lens as possible so it doesn't cast any visible shadows. I'll normally set up the fill light immediately above the camera. Sometimes the lens actually touches the bottom of the softbox or light panel.

Next, set up your key. Adjust it's position in relation to the model first and then adjust the power of the light. Resist the temptation of altering exposure by moving the light closer or farther away as this will change the quality of light. Only do this if you have no other choice or you want to change the quality of light. For most of my own portraits, they're as close to the model as possible while staying out of frame.

And finally, add in any hair light, kick light or background lights. These shouldn't change any of your existing lighting setups.

As for your shots, if you're gonna get that close to faces, you might consider using a really fast lens for a short depth of field-type shot.

As with anything, your mileage may vary, but this is what works for me.

Good luck and keep reading and practicing.

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