Started Nov 5, 2012 | Discussions thread
jkjond Veteran Member • Posts: 8,502
Re: Portrait

Kincho wrote:

jkjond wrote:

Not bad, but I'll be brutal.

Thanks John, your comments are civil and appreciated even if we don't agree on all points.

I struggle with studio as a concept - I wonder what the point is?

For me it's an environment in which I can practice the more technical aspects of controlled lighting and attempt to extract the very best from my camera and lenses on a technical level as everything is controllable...just a playground for me really where some cool shots can be taken.

Technical excellence has its place, but its bottom of the list. But studio lighting is fun to play with and experiment so long as you have a patient model.

Look up the work of Jane Bown. Pure genius. All available light location portraits, often in hotels during media interviews, very little time to work and get the shot. All black and white film, olly om1/2, no light meter but a quick look at the back of her hand, generally f2.8, 125th sec. But its her viewpoint and needless to say TIMING that make her shots exceptional. Faces - its out of print, but the best portrait book I've read. Not that there's a lot to read, but she gives so much information in her brief para on each image - mainly about location and circumstance. If you can't get a copy of that, then Exposures is similar, but not as insightful with the narrative.

Studying Jane's work has redefined portraiture for me, it was one of those 'start again' experiences.

So on this shot, first thing I question is the background. Is it context or just a background? Its trying to be context but comes across as being a photographic background that pretends to be context, which makes me feel a bit uneasy. Its not telling me anything about the subject.

I like this comment, I had similar thoughts; I think it's an interesting background but is a little too busy to work as I intended, I'm editing the photo slightly based on the feedback I'm receiving that I agree with and one thing I'm doing is a slight blurring and manipulation of the background.

There's a certain irony in having a studio setting, then spending time editing the background! I'd think about the next shot rather than overwork the last.

Then we have a young model with a serious expression. At that point I start to think it should be in a corporate brochure as its taken in a style that is only every seen in a corporate brochure. A style which shouldn't exist to my way of thinking. They're just full of people trying to look important and as though the stars revolve around them.

I think you may be over thinking this one; just a slight pose to make the photo more interesting.

Hopefully you will see Jane's work and understand more where I'm coming from. The question you have to ask: 'is it him?'. That's why photos of models or using model poses for people who aren't models are nothing more than models. Yeh, they can look good, but real people are far more interesting and revealing. I don't like the corporate look because the sitter is trying to appear how they think they should appear and not how they are. Mind you, there can be good money in presenting people how, or as who, they think they are.

Lighting looks promising. Very studio, almost rembrandt lighting, but not quite - you may want to look that one up if you're not familiar with it. I'd say overall, his face looks a touch under-exposed. Definitely too tight at the top. Either crop his head or give him room to breath.


The conversion is pretty good, but a lack of separation on his shadow side where he merges into the background.


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UK wedding photographer in the Lake District
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