setup for shooting passport pictures

Discussion in 'Studio Equipment and Lighting' started by Riki, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. Riki

    Riki

    336
    May 7, 2005
    Warsaw, Poland
    Anyone has a suggestion/idea for a home setup for taking self and family passport pictures. I have two SB800;s as of now. What kind of a background go I need. Where do I place the flashes, how much distance between the subject and camera should I keep, what kind of lens should I use ideally ?
     
  2. twig

    twig

    745
    May 23, 2005
    Hello, I will take a stab at your question, though I am certainly not an authority on lighting.

    I believe passport photos are supposed to have a white background. The passport office provides directions on the size of the final picture btw so you know how to print them, I think the face itself is supposed to be 1-1.25" tall, and the shot is really only supposed to be shoulders up.

    I would have you subject stand 4 feet in front of a white wall. You would stand another 4-8 feet from them, depending on the lens you are using.

    I would try one flash on camera as master. IF you have reasonable ceiling (ie not 20 feet high), I would consider pointing the main flash up with no diffuser, and perhaps using the bounce card to get highlights in the eyes. If you have dark or high ceilings, try with the diffuser dome mounted, either pointed up or directly at your subject. The second flash I would put on the floor or a small stand behind the subject, pointed up and at the back wall (this prevents any possible shadows form your subject framing them.

    Now the beauty of the system is that you can take some test shots and vary the EV of both the master and remote units from your master.


    This picture uses essentially the methods I outlined here, though I had extra speedlights (notice the triple catch lights in the eyes, ugh!), but with two as I described I think the pictures will come out similar.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Riki

    Riki

    336
    May 7, 2005
    Warsaw, Poland
    Thanks Twig

    Thanks twig for such a wonderful reply and your sample.
    I was puzzling over how to use two flashes as ideally there should be three. Your picture is very nice. I think I will try this setup . WIll revert later.
    What lens do you suggest ? Have all the good ones. I was thinking of either the 85mm/1.4 or the 135/2 DC
     
  4. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  5. Riki

    Riki

    336
    May 7, 2005
    Warsaw, Poland
    Hi Paul

    Thanks Paul.
    Will try out Twigs suggested set up and revert with samples soon.
     
  6. twig

    twig

    745
    May 23, 2005
    Riki
    Lens choice depends on the setting for me. I would probably use the 50/1.8 for this shot because I envision taking it in limited space. If you could get a step or two more back, the 85/1.4 would be great too I am sure.

    In truth, since you are using flash and want everything in focus, you are stopping down to f/8 anyway (you can use manual, since you are lighting the background with a flash, I would start at f/8 1/100 or 1/125, no particualr reason, those sound good)
    so at f/8 most any lens performs pretty well.
     
  7. Riki

    Riki

    336
    May 7, 2005
    Warsaw, Poland
    Some more questions/problems

    Tried with 2 SB800's set on SU 4 as advised in the manual , one being the master and the other remote.
    The master (on camera) was aiming at the ceiling and was without any diffuser, bounce filter or wide flash adapter. The remote was positioned behind the subject, now here I am a bit confused. The on/off button side was facing the camera (though not directly in view of the camera as it was behind the subject). Should the sensor of the remote Sb 800 have been facing the camera ?
    Aperture set at f8. tried several shots, not even one was satisfactory.
    Firstly the main problem was focus. How to achieve focus when I have to run back to the chair after pressing the self timer button ?
    Secondly since I wear glasses, there was a lot of reflection in the glasses though the flash heads were both pointing upwards.
    I then changed the position of the camera to portrait mode and had to align the flash head to face the ceiling, since it was facing the right wall. At this position I had to increase the aperture to f1.4 to get a picture , just visible on the monitor. I think this head position, confuses the metering and/or output of the flash.
    Man this is one tough challenge ! All advice more than welcome. Would recommend all readers of this topic to also try out this exercise on their own without any help as it really is tough and challenging. Its much easier to pop into a studio and get your picture taken, I guess :oops:
     
  8. twig

    twig

    745
    May 23, 2005
    Riki,
    Ok couple of things. First if both flashes are firing, unless you are in a cathedral or a gigantic place, you should have plenty of illumination for f/8. Remember you only want proper exposure of your face, not of the rest of the room.

    OK first, on both flashes make sure they beep after firing, this helps tell you if they are working. Hold dow nthe center of the joypad for a few seconds, then scroll down in the menu to the musical note and make sure it is on.
    Do this for both master and remote. Then put the master on the camera and poiwer it up into TTL mode. Make sure it is set up as the master unit in the menu. Make sure your remote unit is turned on and set up as a remote. One is "Master" the other "Remote" ok , no SU-4 that is full power slave flash (I think), we can do this in TTL.

    your master flash, does the screen show

    M TTL 0EV
    A TTL 0EV
    B
    c


    Sometimes it will not automatically find the remote flashes, you must highlight them on the menu and press the mode button to make sure they are in TTL mode (in the example above, remote A is in TTL, but it thinks there is no remote B or C because they have not been eneabled by hitting mode)

    Ok now, put a floor lamp or tall plant where you intend to stand, set your cxamera to manual f/8 1/100s and take a picture of it. You should hear the remote flash beep once to trell you it fired, then two times a few seconds later to tell you it is powered up again.

    Before you worry about focus, etc I want to make sure the flashes are firing properly, because if they were you would not have to shoot at f/1.4.

    The ML-3 wireless remote will make your life easier.
     
  9. Riki

    Riki

    336
    May 7, 2005
    Warsaw, Poland
    Thanks again Twig

    1) Apparently the Master cannot be set to beep, but have set the remote to do so.
    2) Solved the problem of focusing by attaching a old MC20 cable release which I hold in my handle and just trigger the focus and timer, since with this cable release for some reason I cannot release the shutter. Will check later if it is afault with the cable release or something else.
    3) Focus now is tack sharp.
    4) Adjusted focal positions etc , which are not so important at this stage since I can regulate the size and position in NC or PS later.
    5) The exposure is very dark. I had to give ev +2 in NC, though this made the pics very noisy. I am using 60/8. The master and remote are set at TTL. I tried manual 125/8 and 100/8 still pics are very dark. I tried +1 on the camera and pics were slightly but no where as bright as your sample. So got to solve the exposure problem now. Please advice. I am sure it is something to do with the Flash units settings. BTW , I reset both by pressing two keys as recommended and then proceeded fresh with all the settings as above.
     
  10. MontyDog

    MontyDog

    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
     
  11. Riki

    Riki

    336
    May 7, 2005
    Warsaw, Poland
    a few samples

    Here are two pictures from quite a few succcessful attempts I made today, thanks to all your suggestions specially, Twig’s, am learning still, hopefully the next attempt will be better. Please let me have your comments, thanks.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Passport picture standards in Poland are slightly different than the UK and US. You have to show more of the left ear and slightly less of the right.
     
  12. twig

    twig

    745
    May 23, 2005
    I think that second picture looks great Riki! Certainly better than I have managed with glasses most of the time.

    Controlling glare with glasses is very hard, in #2 you control it and have nice catchlights in the eyes too.

    The only thing I would experiment with is upping the EV of the remote flash on the background by 1 or 2 EV to get it to look "whiter", but I don't think that is necessary.

    good job.
     
  13. Riki

    Riki

    336
    May 7, 2005
    Warsaw, Poland
    Thanks Twig

    For your comments. Learning the process now, will definately try to improve. Got a lot of keepers today, tried with 50mm/1.4, 85mm/1,4, (pictures were very sharp but because I had to increase the distance between the camera and subject all pics got underexposed , even with +EV 2.3 on the Flash), 17-55 (this gave me the best results at 45mm and 50mm). Must get the ML 3 as suggested by you though, for the future.
    Thanks for your help.
     
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