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Archive 2013 · The wife & I round #2
  
 
pokemanyz
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p.1 #1 · The wife & I round #2





















Full power Nikon SB-600 in the umbrella wireless triggered.
Sunpak 383 full power homemade beauty dish/T-shirt diffuser wireless triggered.
Sunpak 933 camera left w/spray bottle diffuser optical trigger did NOT flash.



Jan 13, 2013 at 08:10 PM
ct8282
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p.1 #2 · The wife & I round #2


This image looks oof to me for starters. The beads in the background look to be in focus!

Can you explain the rationale behind your lighting setup?
Our eyes are almost trained to expect light to hit the face from above. Your umbrella looks to be shooting upwards creating unusual shadows. A good starting point would be Rembrandt lighting, that is 45deg from above and 45deg from the side. Place the other light on the other side with maybe 1 to 2 stops less output, just to fill any harsh shadows, or use a reflector.

The backdrop is distracting. Perhaps try using a bare wall in your house as a nice clean backdrop to start with.

Lastly, try looking at the camera. I can't look at this image without wondering what you're both looking at.

I think you are massively overcomplicating your lighting setups when you perhaps should work on the basics. Why are all the lights set to full power?

Keep at it.



Jan 13, 2013 at 08:51 PM
pokemanyz
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p.1 #3 · The wife & I round #2


I switched from remote to self timer and must have missed the focus point. I had to hold the remote too high for some reason.

I was attempting butterfly lighting but my wireless triggers have a limit in how close you put them to each other or the start firing randomly.

I thought this background looked better then last week. Believe it or not it's tough to find a clear wall in here.

Things were so tight in that area that I had to look in that direction to keep my glasses clear. I had her look in the same direction so it didn't look strange.

I mainly do a series of shots with the remote and me to try and setup the lighting.
I think it's improved on last week so I think if I keep trying I may get this down.

I appreciate the lighting advise.



Jan 13, 2013 at 10:17 PM
ct8282
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p.1 #4 · The wife & I round #2


Butterfly lighting would be having the light source directly in front of the subject shooting down at an angle to create a small butterfly shape shadow under the nose. Not sure how you get butterfly lighting from the setup you've shown?

Regarding focus.... Set the camera to manual focus and get the focus setup where you need it before you get into the frame.

I would start with a much simpler lighting setup. Get the brollie at a 45/45 to one side. Prop up a reflector on the other side to bounce light back into the shadow areas, or setup another light on the other side, 1 to 2 stops less power for fill. Perhaps practice on your lovely lady first to get used to setting up the lights before you try and get a shot with you both in it.

Really take a step back and have a look and think about the image you've posted. The background is distracting and not adding anything to the image. Therefore, get rid or change it somehow. It might just be your positions relative to the background that isn't working.
Once you've got a decent background sorted now think about the lighting. As I said previously we naturally lean towards light coming from above. Therefore get your flash setup higher than the subjects face. The 45/45 is a good place to start as it will give you smoother graduations of light across the face than say a light coming directly from the side which will leave one side of the face in shadow. The closer your light source the softer the light to shadow graduation as light is dispersing with a wider profile. Move the light source back and you create harder graduations between light and shadow areas. Something to think about there.

So, you've got your light setup and your subject posed in front of a decent background. If you're not using a light meter you will need to set the flash to TTL and let it work out exposure based on your camera settings, or experiment with the manual power setting of your flash until you think it looks correct. Perhaps start with 1/250 for the shutter (if your camera can sync at this speed of course) and something like f5.6 or f8 for the aperture. This will give enough DOF to make sure the subject is fully in focus. Try some shots with this setup, i.e just the one flash with brollie. The results may surprise you by being better than you expect. You don't need 2 or 3 lights to create nice portraits. However, if you feel the shadows are too much, often in the eye areas you can introduce a reflector on the other side just to bounce some light back into the shadow areas. Or you could use a second light but this of course complicates things.

This simple approach will help you to get to grips with the basic setup, then you can introduce yourself into the shot. It's amazing how having more than 1 person can add a new layer of complication as new shadows are being cast and you need to make sure the light sources are hitting both subjects accordingly.





Jan 13, 2013 at 11:07 PM
pokemanyz
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p.1 #5 · The wife & I round #2


After reading your first post I did manage to find a white wall after all.
I ran the umbrella as high as I could (8 ft ceiling) and down at an angle.

The SB-600 was at 1/4 power. I popped some shots and made many adjustments but wasn't happy.
I put the Sunpak 383 with the beauty dish on the other side about 5' high on 1/16 power.

After many shots and adjustments (no light meter or reflector) I ended up at 1/200 shutter and F7.1
(That's pretty close to what you said)

I thought this looked pretty good so I wrote down the settings for next week.



Jan 13, 2013 at 11:30 PM
ct8282
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p.1 #6 · The wife & I round #2


Good stuff. Post up some samples for critique...


Jan 13, 2013 at 11:41 PM
jprezant
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p.1 #7 · The wife & I round #2


get that light up higher.


Jan 14, 2013 at 01:09 AM
elliotkramer
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p.1 #8 · The wife & I round #2


Someday when you have more experience, you will look at these photos and say, "what was I thinking." Really, it is not all that complicated. Photography is about finding the right light or creating the right light. It is all about light. Generally we look for lighting that looks natural - like you would see outside or see in a house. The light in your photo is quite unnatural. You need to be able to see in your mind what you want your final shot to look like. This could not have been it. Here is what I tell my students as a start for lighting a portrait - at first, use soft lighting. Your umbrella is not modifying your light enough. You would be better off bouncing it off the wall. Perhaps the light isn't close enough. Then, think about fill. You do not have enough of it, thus the shaded part of the faces. Think about it, you could step outside into the shade on any day at any time and have much, much better and more flattering lighting than this. So why take time to set up lights, etc. if this is your final result?

If you want to stick with artificial light, you will need a lot of practice because it doesn't appear you are "seeing" it right now. Here is a start - place the main light higher than the subjects heads and a little less than 45 degrees to the side. Then put the fill light right above the camera set at 1/2 or so the intensity of the main light (taking distance from the subject into account). The fill light should "see" what the camera sees, thus illuminating whatever the camera sees. This position also avoids double shadows. Diffuse the lights even more than you have, and get them close to the subject. Keep the camera above eye level. Make sure you have proper exposure by chimping and making changes or bracketing.

As far as the background goes - you have to control your lights better. You have light splashing onto the background, which in this case you don't really want.. Try to get the subject and lights further away from the background or block the light so that the background is underexposed a few stops and therefore not so bright.

Hope this helps. Good luck and post your next take.



Jan 14, 2013 at 02:27 AM
pokemanyz
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p.1 #9 · The wife & I round #2


In my defense I'm not totally clueless when it comes to lighting.
(Just when it comes to people)

As proof I present my bottle fish.




Jan 14, 2013 at 10:56 AM
sboerup
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p.1 #10 · The wife & I round #2


Your photo shows three flashes, yet I only see 1 light source in the photo. Either 2 of them didnt fire, or, their power was so low that they did not add anything to the exposure (like 6 stops too low).

There is no reason to be shooting at f/7.1 inside a home. That will absolutely kill all ambient light, especially at night when no natural window light is adding to the exposure.

Your main (and only) light source is coming from below. For portraits, this is never a good lighting angle and will not be flattering for the subjects. Raise the flash about 1-2ft above the subject and you'll be at a more flattering angle. If you wanted to create butterfly lighting, then it needs to be higher above the subject, and on axis with the face (shadow from nose going straight down, not off to either side).

You said your SB600 was at full power. This is WAY more power than you'd ever need inside. The other 2 flashes are not apparent in the photo (see first note).

However, all of this is moot as you didn't state anything about the photo, the reasons you took it, the objective of what you were trying to accomplish with the lighting, or questions on how to improve something you didn't like about the photo. A lot of people can help, but we need to know more about what you want to learn



Jan 14, 2013 at 05:40 PM
 



Jim Rickards
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p.1 #11 · The wife & I round #2


One comment you made - you thought the background was better than last week - struck a chord with me. It wasn't better, maybe it was worse. It looks like the curtain goes through your ears. But I know you tried.

What you need to understand, is that what you SEE with your eyes is different from what the camera sees. YOU focus on what you want and dismiss the rest with your mind (the curtain in this case). The CAMERA shows everything clearly unless you blur it or light is less than your subject. Even so it may distract.

What you want to have for a background is something even and undistracting. A blank wall, a background of green foliage (ourside of course). Things like that.

It's HARD to find such a background in a house. That's why people buy backdrops and stands to hold them up. Look at picture you like and notice the backgrounds.

So backgrounds are very important. Good luck with the next shoot.



Jan 14, 2013 at 06:54 PM
ChiShutter
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p.1 #12 · The wife & I round #2


Everything you do has to be in response to a particular "why," especially when it comes to lighting.

When I saw the setup you shared, I wanted to know "why is that umbrella there at waist height?" What is it supposed to give you?

As a general rule I'd get the key light higher up at a 45 degree downward angle. I'd also simplify -- you have three lights here -- what is the purpose of each one? I'd argue you need two at most, or one and a reflector, which easily enough becomes "one light and a white wall my subject is standing near." Each light should have a purpose, and you should strip out any needless complexity in your setup. Simplify, simplify!

I'm also dubious about homemade modifiers (or umbrellas, for that matter). Funky spill, uneven lighting, I don't know.

Keep at it! Experimenting is how one gets there. Expect to spend money on a lot more lighting gear Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it seems you've got the strobist bug. It will happen.



Jan 14, 2013 at 06:58 PM
novicesnapper
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p.1 #13 · The wife & I round #2


I see the restriction of space you have, tough one to deal with. Imo, I would put the camera directly facing the curtain, with you and her centered on the curtain. Move the umbrella to the left side, about 45 degrees, about the same height, face level. The beauty dish just over my right shoulder, almost at the top of my head looking slightly down upon you and her, looking from the camera (catch light). Raise the camera to at least eye level, kind of split her's and your height. Oh, and take a step or two towards the camera away from the curtain, for shadowing. You can expect to get light bounce from the small wall sticking out, back onto the side of the face (acts like a reflector), and may need to throw something reflective on the floor to lessen shadowing under chin.
I would start there fwiw. Keep it up guy, only way to learn is try things.



Jan 14, 2013 at 07:41 PM
pokemanyz
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p.1 #14 · The wife & I round #2


What about this lighting? What do you think? Getting close I think.







Setup -





Edited on Jan 14, 2013 at 10:59 PM · View previous versions



Jan 14, 2013 at 10:50 PM
ct8282
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p.1 #15 · The wife & I round #2


Much better than before. Keep going...


Jan 14, 2013 at 10:54 PM
ChiShutter
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p.1 #16 · The wife & I round #2


Better! I don't know this for sure, but my suspicion is that "beauty dish," which appears to be a mixing bowl with a tee shirt on it, is probably not doing much if anything.


Jan 14, 2013 at 11:03 PM
pokemanyz
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p.1 #17 · The wife & I round #2


SB-600 at 1/4 in umbrella
Sunpak 383 at 1/16

F7.1 1/200 200 ISO

A couple problems here are my tripod goes to about 5 ft or so. The umbrella is scraping the ceiling. I had to kind of hunch down to get in the frame.

I guess I could sit and have my wife stand like before

Edited on Jan 15, 2013 at 10:43 AM · View previous versions



Jan 14, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #18 · The wife & I round #2


I think you're in pretty good shape with that last shot. I like to have the shoot-thru umbrella high but low enough that it still provides nice catchlights. You seem to be pretty close to that. Don't be afraid to get that umbrella close to you and your wife.

Since you are using a shoot-thru umbrella, you probably don't even need the home-made beauty dish for fill. Just use a reflector below you or throw a white sheet on the floor.

Also, I think it is pretty common when starting out experimenting with portraits that you think you have to have some kind of background directly behind the subjects. It is really not necessary. If you have a clean, organized room with a fairly large entrance, try shooting yourselves at the entrance with the whole room in the background. Use a wide aperture to blur the details of the room while retaining some of its feel. Just try to keep heads in a clean spot. You can either widen the aperture and boost the ISO to the point that you pick up some ambient lighting as Spencer suggested or you can add your own ambient by putting something like your bottle-diffuser flash behind the subjects. If you go the ambient lit route you may run into white balance issues between the flash and the ambient lighting. Ideally, I would suggest keeping the background room a little darker than the subject lighting. You want to avoid a direct-flash "cave" look that eliminates the ambient but you don't want to light the background to the point that it competes with the subjects either.



Jan 14, 2013 at 11:33 PM
elliotkramer
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p.1 #19 · The wife & I round #2


Still, you could just step into natural light and have much nicer lighting. The purpose of using a studio or a flash setup is to control the light and end up with superior results. Your lighting is harsh and uncontrolled. You should read up on lighting, attend a seminar, or step outside and use natural light.


Jan 14, 2013 at 11:43 PM
pokemanyz
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p.1 #20 · The wife & I round #2


ChiShutter wrote:
Better! I don't know this for sure, but my suspicion is that "beauty dish," which appears to be a mixing bowl with a tee shirt on it, is probably not doing much if anything.


The dish is an actual light fixture that my wife used to start her garden seeds in the winter a few years ago.
I think the t-shirt was just too much.



here are some test pics with nothing changed but beauty dish.

Full power with t-shirt



1/16 power no t-shirt -



1/8 power no t-shirt ( I look tired now)



And lastly 1/4 power no t-shirt - ( Are we bored yet? )






Jan 15, 2013 at 12:02 AM
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