Home · Register · Search · View Winners · Software · Hosting · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Fred Miranda
Username   Password

  New fredmiranda.com Mobile Site
  

FM Forums | People Photography | Join Upload & Sell

  

Archive 2012 · Sorta New: Portrait Post
  
 
dhp_sf
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #1 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


I'm usually frequenting the Weddings forum since that's primarily what I do. I'm starting to build up a portfolio of commercial portraits and would like some C&C as I move into a quasi studio environment (my apartment + speedlights).

I'm interested in knowing what you guys work with in similar conditions in and really fundamentally, what are you striving for in your portraits? I struggle some times figuring out what are the subtle elements that make a portrait go from "nice" to "phenomenal!" so would love to have some input.

I've done a few shoots out of my apt, but here's one from my latest:








Dec 23, 2012 at 01:05 AM
friscoron
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #2 · Sorta New: Portrait Post



Dude, this shot is just sick. Lighting is just gorgeous. It doesn't hurt that she's gorgeous.

Let's see some more.



Dec 23, 2012 at 04:50 AM
bbourizk
Online
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #3 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


Her expression is ruining what looks like a nice shot...Looks like she has a lazy lip


Dec 23, 2012 at 04:58 AM
friscoron
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #4 · Sorta New: Portrait Post



I can see that a little bit, Bud, but I had to really look for that after reading your comment. It still totally works for me.



Dec 23, 2012 at 05:02 AM
dhp_sf
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #5 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


Thanks friscoron--she is gorgeous and we also had a talented makeup artist working with us.

bbourizk, what kind of direction would you give her if this was the expression you were getting? I know part of it would have to do with what the purpose of the shoot was, but let's say, we're looking for a more serious expression and you wanted her to correct her lip?

I'll post a couple more in a bit. Thanks for the comments.



Dec 23, 2012 at 05:33 AM
bbourizk
Online
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #6 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


dhp_sf wrote:
Thanks friscoron--she is gorgeous and we also had a talented makeup artist working with us.

bbourizk, what kind of direction would you give her if this was the expression you were getting? I know part of it would have to do with what the purpose of the shoot was, but let's say, we're looking for a more serious expression and you wanted her to correct her lip?

I'll post a couple more in a bit. Thanks for the comments.


I had a model I shot a while ago and in nearly all her photos she had this little thing going on on the left side of her mouth...to me it was really noticeable. Now it's something i'm very aware off.

When i find the model starting to tense up in the face or have something going on with the lips...(a bit hard to explain as i usually show them lol)
I ask her to lick her lips and do a swallowing motion, also run their tongue between their teeth and inside of the lip and then just let their lips relax. after a while they start doing it by themselves. it really gives a natural look.

In the end you will get better looks from different models and some are better than others but I find this really helps. As I stated earlier it's a fine shot but for me let down by that one issue.



Dec 23, 2012 at 05:49 AM
dhp_sf
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #7 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


Very helpful--thanks a lot. I'll have to try to remember that for the next time around.


Dec 23, 2012 at 05:56 AM
Steve Wylie
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #8 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


"What you're striving for in your portraits" is the key question here, and no one can answer that for you. If you are looking for inspiration, I would suggest three things: (1) study portrait photographers whose work you admire, and try to deconstruct what they're doing from lighting to posing to and post-processing, so you can learn from them and then develop your own style; (2) if you're truly "inspirationally challenged" look at fashion and other magazines for posing, lighting, and other creative aspects to generate some ideas you'd like to try; and (3) if you need specific training, go get it from workshops, video, or books.

Your specific question about shooting in an apartment with speedlights suggests that your horizon's going to be pretty limited when you shoot there. I do quite a bit of headshots in my living room; it's a fairly large room, but not large enough for full-length portraits. So waist-up and headshots are pretty much it. I can set up a backdrop, lit by one or two speedlights and a key light (usually a Quantum Qflash in a beauty dish), or I can set up a five light Westcott Spiderlite setup if I want to get as elaborate as my space allows. So space will determine how much you can do at home. If I were you, I wouldn't focus on your home studio to the exclusion of location work.

Hope this helps.



Dec 23, 2012 at 06:05 AM
dhp_sf
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #9 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


Steve Wylie wrote:
"What you're striving for in your portraits" is the key question here, and no one can answer that for you. If you are looking for inspiration, I would suggest three things: (1) study portrait photographers whose work you admire, and try to deconstruct what they're doing from lighting to posing to and post-processing, so you can learn from them and then develop your own style; (2) if you're truly "inspirationally challenged" look at fashion and other magazines for posing, lighting, and other creative aspects to generate some ideas you'd like to try; and (3) if you need specific training,
...Show more

Thanks for your input. I'm only limiting to my in home studio at the moment because I find sometimes restrictions forces you to be creative. I'm also VERY comfortable using natural/available light and the environment as context for shoots (since my main photographic work is location portraits and weddings). What I'm primarily interested in exploring right now is the broadening my use of off-camera flash and more 'commercial' looking shots learning how to control these lights. Eventually I'll look into renting studio space--but I'm also looking at taking the speedlights with me on location. Below are a few more from the shoot including some we did at a pier at night:

2.




3.




4.





*updated numbering

Edited on Dec 23, 2012 at 07:57 AM · View previous versions



Dec 23, 2012 at 06:44 AM
dhp_sf
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #10 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


I guess i'm also curious as to what others are interested in as it comes to portraiture. I know what I want to accomplish from weddings, but much of that is a byproduct of telling a story. So I know what facets I want to capture, and how I want to tell that story. With portraits, there is not always a narrative--although with fashion you can invent one. Just curious if people are being driven by some fundamental goal when the photograph people.


Dec 23, 2012 at 06:54 AM
 



Jim Rickards
Online
• • • • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #11 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


Nice shots.

I like #1, but I would crop the bottom - maybe just below the neckline. Why? To avoid the cropped arms leading out of the frame. Still a beauty as is, of course.

#2 (you labeled it #1) Love this pose as well as the lighting. The tiny bit or her right hand showing is the only nit I see. Easily cloned out if you care to.

#3 & #4 (last 2). Very nice. I like the leading lines in the standing shot and the "mood" in both shots.

Well done.



Dec 23, 2012 at 07:51 AM
dhp_sf
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #12 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


Thanks Jim,

#1: Yeah I played around with that cropping as well. As it is it kind of sits in the middle of a headshot and a upper body/three quarter shot.

On #2, I agree about the hand. I really liked that shot--the original frame shows more of the hand and cuts off the fingertips (d'oh!).



Dec 23, 2012 at 06:58 PM
beetlefang
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #13 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


Hi,

Great shots...I'm learning and have nothing to add to your excellent work...but I did want to say about the feedback:

["What you're striving for in your portraits" is the key question here, and no one can answer that for you. If you are looking for inspiration, I would suggest three things: (1) study portrait photographers whose work you admire, and try to deconstruct what they're doing from lighting to posing to and post-processing, so you can learn from them and then develop your own style; (2) if you're truly "inspirationally challenged" look at fashion and other magazines for posing, lighting, and other creative aspects to generate some ideas you'd like to try; and (3) if you need specific training, go get it from workshops, video, or books.

Your specific question about shooting in an apartment with speedlights suggests that your horizon's going to be pretty limited when you shoot there. I do quite a bit of headshots in my living room; it's a fairly large room, but not large enough for full-length portraits. So waist-up and headshots are pretty much it. I can set up a backdrop, lit by one or two speedlights and a key light (usually a Quantum Qflash in a beauty dish), or I can set up a five light Westcott Spiderlite setup if I want to get as elaborate as my space allows. So space will determine how much you can do at home. If I were you, I wouldn't focus on your home studio to the exclusion of location work.

Hope this helps.]

To me, this kind of feedback is awesome! It lets me and many others learn from experts and get a glimpse of what one is thinking as they recommend a crop or something.

I know there are other posts with similar feedback (Steady Hand seems to give educational feedback alot too), I just wanted to thank the poster and c&c people for laying it all out there in an easy format for one to learn from.

Thanks,

-beetle aka john



Dec 26, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Steve Wylie
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #14 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


@beetlefang: Thanks very much for your comment on feedback. I always try to provide constructive feedback when I comment at all. "Why" a comment is made is often just as important as the feedback itself, as it provides context for the requester to evaluate the usefulness of the feedback.

To the original poster, when you ask what the photographer is striving for in portraits (especially for commercial work), the frustrating answer will always be, "it depends." Fashion photography focuses on the clothing (or some article of clothing), and the concept, posing, lighting, etc. all stand in service to the "product" being marketed. Same with beauty; what's being "sold" will determine what's emphasized, whether it's the model herself, or hair/makeup, eyewear, etc. So I guess the first question to ask yourself is literally "what's the point?" in any given assignment. The answer comes from either the client who's commissioning the work or yourself when you have the idea for a shoot. The "point" can be a look, a product, or a story, as long as it's visually interesting and draws the viewer in.

I didn't comment on your original posted photo, but I will here. First off, from my perspective, it's about 90% there. To take it over the top, I'd examine two things. 1. "What's the point?" of her expression? She's a beautiful lady, but there's nothing in that expression that "sells" me on her. It's a blank stare. I'd prefer an emotion of some sort, preferably a smile, or at least a hint of a smile. 2. The lighting ratio. This is purely a matter of taste, but if I were lighting this, I might consider just a tad more fill. This is a very minor point, but if you're "selling" her, I think a more balanced ratio would be preferred. If you're "selling" the outfit, then (aside from the crop) I think the lighting works well.

As for the other posted images, I prefer your second shot of her to the first in terms of posing and crop, but the same comment on her expression applies. Number 3 could be a killer shot if she (again) had a head position and facial expression that draws the viewer to her, something like a "night on the town" kinda look. As it is, it's another blank stare with a head tilt. This could be a good commercial or editorial shot. I like the idea of rendering this in black and white. Of all of these, number four is my favorite. It's well lit (maybe a bit hot), and well conceived, but what takes it to the top is her expression. Chin down, squinty, "who you lookin' at?" kinda feel. There's a story there.

Hope this helps.



Dec 26, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Steve Wylie
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #15 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


One final thought for you... When you look at all four of these shots, which one do you stay with the longest? Why? That will tell you where you have to go.


Dec 26, 2012 at 04:40 PM
John-Tolentino
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #16 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


i really like image 3.

For the studio shots. I think that the difference between the smoothness of her face and other skin exposed is a bit too much. Lighting wise, i think you did a really nice job on the first one.



Dec 26, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Steve Wylie
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: On
p.1 #17 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


Just curious if people are being driven by some fundamental goal when the photograph people.

My goal is to show who this person is. Most fundamentally, it's shown via expression. (Sorry to beat a dead horse, but I keep seeing more questions you ask whenever I come back to this thread, and they're thought-provoking questions....)



Dec 26, 2012 at 05:03 PM
dhp_sf
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #18 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


Thanks all! I just got back to this and saw all these helpful comments.

When I first set up this shoot it was just kinda for fun. There was no "purpose" other than to experiment with lights and shoot. It's interesting that it is exactly how it reads and reinforces my feeling that I need some other underlying purpose when doing these sessions if they are going to convey something beyond a photograph of a very attractive girl (which to me, is all this really is). When we got outside, the model (she's actually never really modeled, but is a nursing student), told me she felt more "creative" so I think that helped her inject more emotion into the photographs. There was a mood and she could work with that.

Moving forward, I am planning to do more work that is more concept/theme driven in hopes that it communicates beyond a simple image of a pretty girl. Honestly, I had a hard time culling because she photographs so well it was hard picking out the "best" ones--which I think points again to the underlying question, "what's the point?"

Thanks again for those who have contributed to the discussion.



Dec 29, 2012 at 09:08 PM
CW100
Offline
• • • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.1 #19 · Sorta New: Portrait Post


like the first


Dec 29, 2012 at 11:20 PM





FM Forums | People Photography | Join Upload & Sell

    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username   Password    Retrive password