first attempt at portrait lighting--suggestions welcome

Started Nov 20, 2012 | Discussions thread
Sailor Blue
Sailor Blue Forum Pro • Posts: 11,144
Re: Redo with your suggestions

Steve West wrote:

I put sheets over the 2 walls with green. Moved camera-left umbrella more to center and lowered it a bit. I put a reflector below and angled up to get more neck exposure. I snouted the hair light--it's subtle on the left back of the hair--maybe too subtle?

I reduced the left face and neck shadows, but still not enough. I got reflections in both eyes now, but different reflections in each eye. The right key light showed up in the right eye--I need to re-position the light so it doesn't show in the right eye. If I zoom up, the low reflector caused a tear-like glint in the eyes, so I need to change its positioning.

Thanks so much for the suggestions as the result is vastly improved. I may move away from umbrellas to soft boxes just so I don't have to worry so much about the umbrellas reflecting off the walls and messing the white balance up in ways that can't be fixed very well.

I still have some work to do.

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It's amazing how helpful good constructive criticism can be, and you certainly got lots of it from the forum members. Your new image is much nicer and the WB looks good, especially when compared to your earlier image. Good work.

One thing I do notice is that the posted image isn't critically sharp. Did you miss the focus or is it an artifact of posting? I always focus on the eye nearest to the camera (single point AF).  I like to be able to count eyelash or eyebrow hairs on a waist up portrait to call it sharp but I usually shoot at f/5.6 - f/11, which is the aperture range that gives me the best resolution.

The hair light is a little too constrained for my taste and I would expand it and bring it upward a bit. The exposure for it doesn't look far off to me.

The shadows on the right side of the face and neck don't look all that bad to me. You need some shadowing to give the image a 3D appearance.

Don't let the catchlights bother you. It is easy to remove a catchlight in post - heck it is easy to add one too. The catchlights are never in identical positions in both eyes since the eyes are separated and point inward to where the subject is looking.

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