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Ed Swift
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Selfie


A couple of weeks ago I was playing with off camera flash to see what a portable (no umbrella) set up would look like. A colleague had asked me to take a shot for use on the website of a charity he is involved with so I needed to take stuff to work. Typically every time I asked him if he still wanted it after his request he was busy so I gave up; it's his loss!

Anyhow I was wondering what folks thought about this, and any suggestions:

canon 7d, 50mm f1.8 @ f8, 430ex camera right and high, on camera flash to trigger and to try and fill. If I were doing it again I would be further from the left hand wall to reduce the shadow.

Thanks in advance,
Ed




Mar 30, 2014 at 01:10 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Selfie


It looks overexposed to me. The highlights on your face are clipping.
I agree with you about getting farther from the wall. It will eliminate the shadow and also drop the brightness of the background.
Pose looks good.
Flash position looks pretty good - maybe a tiny bit too far to the right.
Light is very contrasty due to the lack of modifier. Given the white or near-white walls, it looks like you might have been able to create a large "umbrella" by bouncing the flash.
Color balance seems to be a bit on the cool side, although it's hard to be certain with the overexposure. You were probably getting a slightly different color temperature on the shadow side from non-flash light sources.



Mar 30, 2014 at 01:57 PM
Ed Swift
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Selfie


Thanks for your reply Eyeball, I had been wondering about the face, but LR didn't flash anything up when I selected highlight clipping so went with it!

I've reduced the exposure by .9 and taken a custom WB off the camera right eye for this version what do you think?


For the original I boosted contrast to 24 in LR and left it for this version although I'm wondering if it might be best reset to 0.



Mar 30, 2014 at 06:34 PM
Eyeball
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Selfie


Exposure looks better. I think white balance went a little too yellow/green.

Here is an edit to maybe give you some ideas.
White balance on your face is probably still off some. I think there was a difference in color temperature between the flash and the ambient lighting so it makes white balance a little tricky between the flashed and unflashed portions of your face.

Some things I did:
- Reduced contrast a bit.
- Brightened certain shadow areas of your face - particularly the eyes.
- Boosted contrast a bit, especially in your shirt.
- Replaced the hard shadow with a subtle one.
- Changed out the pin-prick catch lights with larger ones.
- Boosted saturation in your eyes a bit.
- Some dampening of the shine on your forehead.
- Some minor healing (like to remove the marks from your glasses).
- Neutralize the background to white/gray.

A lot of the dodging and burning could be avoided by using a larger light source. That could be an umbrella, soft-box, or just bouncing from a strategic direction as I mentioned earlier. The eyes are the "windows to the soul" as they say, so you want to make sure you get some light in there.

Hope that helps.








Mar 30, 2014 at 10:30 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Selfie


You might try using your zoom head at its wides setting to help add some diffusion. That will of course alter your GN / exposure values, but without an umbrella/sb/bounce it can be a (modest) step in that direction to take some of the edge off.

Took a stab at it ...

Eyeball wrote:
Color balance seems to be a bit on the cool side, although it's hard to be certain with the overexposure. You were probably getting a slightly different color temperature on the shadow side from non-flash light sources.


+1 @ Dennis @ WB challenging @ non-flash light sources intermixed.








Mar 30, 2014 at 11:44 PM
Ed Swift
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Selfie


Thanks very much guys, I kept meaning to get back to this thread but work and then holiday stopped me.

The edits look much better. I'll make sure to refer back before I do another portrait, although in that situation I'll also make sure i have my umbrella as well.



May 03, 2014 at 08:56 AM
 

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Healey
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Selfie


Hi Ed,

My first post here. Sorry in advance if I break any rules I am very new here and we are trying to accumulate 25 posts.

Firstly your light is very strong and straight. I would reduce the flash strength and bring the flash as close as you (the subject) as you can without the flash being in frame, or just crop it out. A light source that is a close to the subject will "wrap" around and appear softer than a distant light source. This should help soften the strong sharp shadow from your eye down the side of your face, created by the bridge of your nose. Also maybe move the flash more in front as opposed to by your side so the shadow of the tip of your nose does not go off your face. If you want classic lighting the shadow of the tip of your nose should point to the corner of your mouth.

If you have a reflector to bounce back a little of the flash light from the opposite side, it helps with the difference in color of the ambient light and the flash.

Also for post processing if you start with an image that is not overexposed it is easier to maintain natural skin tones, and you do not have to fight the color so much. Might I suggest a hand held light meter?

You have a nice face structure, with the proper light at a flattering angle you will be a stunner!

Ema (of Healey Studio, John and Ema)



May 03, 2014 at 10:39 PM
Ed Swift
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Selfie


Wow thanks very much Ema, welcome to the forum.

It kind of seems counter intuitive to me that closer is softer (I was thinking it would just be smaller). I'll have to give it a go. I have a reflector (& umbrella) but at the time I thought I was going to have to do a shot for a colleague and need to travel light hence bare flash!

Regarding lightmeters could you suggest one? I was tempted by one I saw on kickstarter but it didn't do flash and in all honesty I do nearly no portraiture so it'll be something i hold off on for a while until/if I do more.

Ed



May 03, 2014 at 10:58 PM
Healey
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Selfie


Thanks for the welcome Ed.

I find a light meter improves all photography. But you have to bother to use it. Which honestly I do not do often enough, which explains why I am so good at photoshop to cover my mistakes.

I use an expensive meter. Sekonic. I use the spot setting for landscapes with harsh sunlight (which is all the time here, unless it is night) and the meters with a good tight spot are very pricey. But there are plenty of affordable light meters that measure flash. I have an ancient Gossen that does fine. It reads perfectly well after 25 years or so. Light has not changed. Get a used or refurbished one cheap.



May 03, 2014 at 11:37 PM
Healey
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Selfie


One more thing. You can put a tiny diffuser thingy on a speed flash (although I do not use speed flash). Anything is better than nothing. But yeah, umbrella or light box is going to be the best.


May 03, 2014 at 11:43 PM
docsmiles17
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Selfie


diffuser in front of flash will eliminate the background shadow and soften the light as well.

The curved shadow on the right of your nose distracts me.



May 04, 2014 at 02:59 AM





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