Second and third try with Studio Light...
I previously posted my first experience with my new studio lights in this mailthread:
I did get some respons to calibrate my findings Thanx for the replies.
With this respons in mind and some extra info I gathered here and there I had a second try and then to be ready for my serious photoshoot with 4 kids in a livingroom with an uncontrolled environment....
Below my second try and results. It is my daughter who was willing to pose for me to boost my experience (from zero to barely zero) with the studio settings etc. I really love the outcome of the pictures (a bonus for me), so I post them for some critique.
The last one is a bit to dark in the face for my taste. I did not position my reflector correct. Some postprocessing is in order
But the real challenge was to get 4 kids looking nice at the same time.
Because one is very young and another is easily sad, I knew I had little time.
So setting up and testing everything was done before I could should max. 5 min. twice.
In the end I was not displeased.
But for future shoots, I would like to get some real critique and tips to improve.
thanx in advance.
I looked through your previous post… You don’t seem to mention what lighting you are using: modifiers, number of lights, position of lights.
I still think they look too harsh, although some of that could be a little too much sharpening or clarity adjustment. It looks as though your lights are too close together, too far from the subjects or the modifiers are not large enough, and your subjects are too close to the background.
You are very lucky to have really cute children to photograph.
I would just like to comment on the first two images. First, I really like these shots. I think the first image could be a little better by either having her turn so her legs are not pointed directly at the camera as this makes them look too large. I would either turn them 45 degrees to the camera, or shoot with a much longer lens which will compress the image somewhat.
I would recommend toning down the brightness of her feet on the second image. They tend to draw attention to her feet because they are so bright. You could do this with your lighting, or do it in post processing.
I look forward to seeing more of your shots.
Thank you for the comments.
The space between the main and fill light was limited due to the walls of the tight living room. Therefore I kept the space between the lights and the subject small as well and tried to soften the light by keeping the power down as much as possible.
As difusors I used a white umbrella (bounced) and as fill I used a softbox.
So if I had the possibility to have the lights more apart, I surely would have done that. In this case there was no option. But a realy good observation.
The settings were approx. f5.6 to f8 and the lights: main light 1/16th to 1/4th and fill light 1/32th (depending on positions of kids etc.)
About the harshness... I do not have a callibrated monitor but have had feedback previously and this indicated that I was too soft. I did therefore some postprocessing and some sharpening. I do like sharp pictures but soft skin so the skin is softened.
Do you have something similar to share to see differences?
Thanx for the feedback and nice words.
Only 2 kids are mine, but I'm lucky indeed (not for their beauty but especially on their character)!
about your comments:
I never saw the long legs before so thank you for noticing
No this is something to focus on next time. I used a 70-200mm lens and layed down as far away as possible (partly under the dinnertable...) so more room wasn't available. Repositioning could have done the job. While I do feel the legs are not so much longer on the pics than in real life.
The feed are indeed very visible and should have toned down. I will do so in some extra postprocessing. But I must look carefully about the lighting next time.
Hi, thanks for sharing, nice photos. I definitely agree with Hugo regarding to separate the children from the background, it is too close. And as you are practising and it is fun, I will try to use the softbox as the key light and if it hapens to be small, begin with only one subject and share your results again!
Thanx for the feedback.
I do agree that the distance between subject and background should have been more, but it was not possible. Especially with the four kids I had several issues with the space.
Shooting only one kid was no option while the whole purpose was to shoot all four for a nice picture to present as gift to the grandparents.
I had only one and a half week to test and shoot plus the location was not mine (house of brother in law). So I had to make the best of it.
One of the things I found most difficult is to get the lights more apart. They were placed as far as they could standing against both walls of the living/diner room. Using only one light would have given me too much light difference between the kids. Maybe one light and one reflector?
What do you think about the harshness of the pictures?
For sure, you definitely did a very good job with the little space and constraints you had. Some little portions seemed a little harsh, I am sure you know that if you can get with the softbox as close as you can to your subjects (it will become a larger source of light and thus gets the effect of a softer and less harsh light), but if your softbox is not big enough for the 4 children that's another issue. Maybe you could try the 'clamshell' method, using the softbox just above all the children pointing down and a big reflector just below all of them pointing up, and letting your telephoto frame the picture just between the softbox and the reflector. Just an idea, for me is just a hobby too, but it's nice and fun to try, isn't it?, :-))
Looking at the catch light in their eyes, both the softbox and the brolly are too far away from your kids. If you move them closer, you will get softer light. If you move them closer, you will get more angular choice. You wnat the fill close to straight on, but not the key light.
The major downside to moving them closer would be if you cannot get the lights to a lower power.
Hi Jorge and Hugo,
Thanx for the good comments.
Though I didn't see it at first when I looked at the pictures again with your comments in mind I do agree that the light is too harsh.
So I took my NEF file and looked at the settings. I decided to drop -0.7 EV while the picture looked a bit overexposed. Than I did some photoshopping again (to get al the dimples away and soften the skins somewhat) and this is the result now:
On the right you can see that the background was already not wide enough, but will adjust that with photoshop after getting the colors and lighting OK.
Would you agree that this picture looks better in regards to lighting?
And are there other aspects I could adjust?
Thanx again for looking and commenting.
I think your work is coming along nicely, but one thing that would help improve things is to get your models farther off the background, 6 feet or so is a good place to start. It makes the background less intrusive and makes keeping stray light off of it much easier. I understand that space restraints are an issue with a lot of people, but it should be a goal whenever possible.
You are absolutely right.
A perfect dull photo is still not worth looking, but an imperfect one with something catchy or some sparkles... could do the trick.
You are right ofcourse and I knew it when I started shooting.
But as well as the tight spaces also the background is 1.38 m wide. Pulling them further from the background gave met too much background cut off. Even now I had to clone some background in place....
So with one kid, it is possible to have some distance, but with four...not.