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Archive 2012 · Work portraits of my father
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Work portraits of my father

Over the weekend I took some photos of my father at work. I shot these with available light inside a burn building, so the only light was from whichever window was closest, and the interior is a thick matte black to say the least (so there is no reflection/stray light bouncing around inside). Unfortunately, the fastest lens I had with me was an 85 1.8. The stairwell shots were done with the new 40mm 2.8, the head shot was done with the 85mm wide open. I will be going back to do this again soon with an 85 1.2, hopefully with better overall results. I'm kicking myself for not having any fast glass at the moment, I've been looking at getting a 35mm 1.4 or even a 50mm 1.4 for this sort of shooting in the near future. If anyone has any experience with this sort of shooting, feel free to chime in with input.

Please share any input on composition, lighting ideas, etc.

Aug 03, 2012 at 12:09 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Work portraits of my father

No comments yet? Hmmm...

My 2 cents on the fast glass comments - the 5D does a great job at ISO 1600 so don't hesitate to shoot there. That last one you only shot at 400 and one of the others at 200. That will go a long ways for you not having the fast glass you mentioned.

The first two photos have no face visible so it's not really very personal about your dad. The last one could benefit by lifting a few details out of the background if possible.

I'd go back and try again as you say - good potential for some nice shots here, albeit tough shooting conditions. Maybe bring an off-cam flash and set it on a stand somewhere to kick a small amount of light into the tower.

Aug 03, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Steady Hand
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Work portraits of my father


First...my standard intro to anyone "new" to me on this forum...
My comments or suggestions below are not a criticism of you, your model, your talent or skill. I offer them in a friendly tone of voice and with the sole intent to help you with a second POV and set of eyes. If you read sincere questions and simple suggestions as "criticism" of you, then you will miss how I am trying to help you.

Of course this may be your own "style" or your own "vision" and I suppose we can assume that the images look just like they do because that is exactly how you like them. That is OK too. It just shows that there are differences of "opinion" on what looks good. IF these are exactly what you want and like, then by all means continue making your images look like that and have fun doing it. As I always say: "Follow your own muse."

You seem to want to show a dark interior and seem concerned about the "fastness" of your glass and need for gear etc.

My Simple Suggestion: Change your POV.

Also, I would prefer to see a face with eyes (preferably 2) in focus (so, I suggest you not use f1.8 aperture in the headshot as shown).

Aug 03, 2012 at 04:07 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Work portraits of my father

For me, the speed of the glass isn't an issue, 1.8 is pretty fast. The main problem that I see is the big dynamic range between sunny outside (well cloudy... it is Washington after all) and a pitch black building. It's going to be impossible to have both exposed for properly in a single exposure. Decide what you want to be the focus and expose for that.

Aug 03, 2012 at 05:18 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Work portraits of my father

Thanks everyone for the comments and input, it's always welcome.

ESC, I haven't tried to shoot above 800 before, I'll certainly give that a shot next time around. So far as the background details, I don't think there is anything there that is usable, but I'll take another look at the raw file and see. I think this may just be a case where I exposed wrong and I'll have to work with what I've got.

Steady, I always like hearing from anyone that has to put a disclamer before anything they say This particular outing was more of a trial run to see what potential there was for shooting at the facility. Next time around I will prepare more ahead of time and keep your advice on POV in mind.

Qwyjibo, you're right on the dynamic range. I could see that as soon as I got home and uploaded the shots, I had to toss a bunch of stuff that was either way blown out due to the window light, or out of focus due to the slower speeds I was using.

Thanks again everyone for the input!

Aug 03, 2012 at 06:26 PM

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