Portraits: Looking for feedback

Discussion in 'Studio Equipment and Lighting' started by jjdesanto1, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. jjdesanto1

    jjdesanto1

    May 1, 2005
    Warwick, N.Y.
    John DeSanto
    Like any good photojournalist, I don't know cr*p about studio lighting. Never even had the slightest urge to learn. It was always slam, bam, thank you ma'am stuff and then on to the next assignment.

    But nowadays I'm doing corporate work on the side. Basically, it's covering events for clients but it's also beginning to tend toward environmental portraits of executives. (There's also a hint that one account wants headshots sometime soon.) So, for the sake of capitalism, I figured it's high time to start learning.

    I've put together a light travelling studio consisting of two lightweight light stands, a series of six 45-inch umbrellas (two gold, two silver, two white transluscent) and one SB-800 and one SB-600 flash units. Oh, yeah and my trusty Manfrotto 3021BN tripod with a 322RC2 quick release head. Because I'm still doing mostly environmental portrait stuff I'm not gonna get into the business of lugging backgrounds around with me - I'm thinking guerrilla photography here, folks.

    So this week, I've been practicing on my two kids. They hate posing, but I can usually get them to sit still for a couple of minutes at a time. I'll post a couple of shots here for people to critique. But I'm also looking for advice on any piece of equipment that you think would be indespensible for this kind of work. (My next purchase is probably the Epson P2000).

    Thanks for looking. Any and all comments are welcome!

    Technical: These shots were taken with the SB-800 (full power) shot through the white transluscent (on the left) with the SB-600 (-0.7 power) bounced off the gold umbrella (on the right). The backgrounds were the walls in our house. My concern is that I'm getting a little too much yellow from that gold umbrella on the right.

    50422347.

    View attachment 16691
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 14, 2005
  2. DanWhite

    DanWhite

    Jul 10, 2005
    Lansdale PA
    John,

    You are definetly getting to much of a color cast from the gold umbrella. What is the reason for the gold umbrella? What are the reasons for the silver?

    As for you setup, are these equidistant from each other because I'm seeing some cross shadows on teh neck on the first.

    What I would do is set up you sb800 shoot through about 45 degrees right, then set your sb600 bounce (with a white umbrella) high and as close to the camera as possible.

    Dan
     
  3. jjdesanto1

    jjdesanto1

    May 1, 2005
    Warwick, N.Y.
    John DeSanto
    Thanks Dan

    Thanks Dan

    I used the gold umbrella to try and add some warmth to the skin color. It always struck me that studio lights tended to make people look rather, well, pale. I'll go back to the white and see how that works. The silver ones? Well, they were cheap and I figured it couldn't hurt to have some fun with 'em.

    Yes, the umbrella's were set approximately 45 degrees to either side. I'm gonna try moving the sb-800 over to the right and the sb-600 closer to the camera - as you suggested - and see how that works.

    By the way, since the sb-800 and sb-600 are a little different in how much light they put out at full power, is there some sort of compensation I should keep in mind for balancing the light output?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2005
  4. Keaka

    Keaka

    227
    Oct 13, 2005
    Richmond BC
    There's definately a color cast on the shots.. but I don't think its an issue. The shots are great, and the feel you get from the color cast will either work, or not work depending on how and where you use the image.
     
  5. jjdesanto1

    jjdesanto1

    May 1, 2005
    Warwick, N.Y.
    John DeSanto
    Hey, thanks

    for your kind words, Keaka. I'm gonna keep at it and try some other approaches just to see what happens.
     
  6. I agree with the thoughts about the gold tint although the pictures are great! (must have to do with the subject matter! :smile: ) P.S. Thanks for your kind welcome to me.
     
  7. jjdesanto1

    jjdesanto1

    May 1, 2005
    Warwick, N.Y.
    John DeSanto
    Thank you...

    Don, for your kind words.
     
  8. jjdesanto1

    jjdesanto1

    May 1, 2005
    Warwick, N.Y.
    John DeSanto
    Okay, here's a second attempt

    at portrait lighting with my portable system.

    Technical: SB-800 shot through a white translucent umbrella close to camera on left and high. SB-600 bounced into white umbrella at 45 angle on right and a little lower. I'm a little unhappy with the hot spots on the face. Any and all comments welcome.

    51016711.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2005
  9. SRA

    SRA

    Jul 29, 2005
    Orem, Utah
    John,

    I am not an expert in any sense of the word. I just wanted to say that I like the red background approach and I think you have some aptitude for this type of work.
     
  10. jjdesanto1

    jjdesanto1

    May 1, 2005
    Warwick, N.Y.
    John DeSanto
    Thanks, Scott

    for your message.

    You may have noticed in my initial post that I spent many years as a newspaper photographer but never had a clue about portrait lighting. Nowadays I have a small photo business on the side shooting for a couple of companies. Mostly event coverage but it has ranged into environmental portrait stuff recently (for advertising) and one of the companies is making noises about wanting corporate headshots for their website.

    Hence my sudden interest into learning new things about portraiture.

    Thanks again!
     
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