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Studio Portraits

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by gho, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Okie, so I'm working on my high-key lighting techniques.

    Here's some shots I did, they look a little washed out to me and a bit uneaven with the lighting. I didn't want exactly flat lighting

    Here's my setup (4) strobes:
    won't blow out the background)

    1 - left of subject with a giant softbox f/11
    2 - directly behind me, just to my left f/5.6
    3 - hairlite, f/8
    4 - light the background (which causes glare and reduces contrast, but if I turn it down, it

    Without #2, the face is too dark
    Without #3, the hair is too dull
    Without #4, the background is too dark.
    and of course #1 is the main light source.

    No reflectors

    Advise on posing and composition would be appreicated too:



  2. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    Man, you can shoot something besides fish!! These are very good. They almost seem to be floating in space.

    Very nice Gregory. :wink:

  3. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Woops forgot the image tags...

    Thanks Frank, I'm not really happy with the lighting results, I'm working on it though.
  4. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005
    How in the world could you not like that first one, with the toes sticking out from under the bunny?? :D  :D 

  5. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    Hi Gregory,

    Oh my goodness! The pictures are wonderful!

    Now you've got me interested in learning to take portraits. I have lots of birds around here but no little kids--only three dogs :lol:

    I can see that it's the lighting that's critical (also the subjects).

    Can you suggest a good book about lighting and portraits?

    Thanks for sharing your delicious pictures with us :!:

    Best to you,
  6. With 7 grandkids I'm also interested in portrait photography. I just bought a neutral background and a stool. However, I have no idea what I'm doing but, as they say, ignorance is bliss.

    Maybe someone here could walk us through a "portrait photography for dummies"

  7. The first one is a killer image.... just love it.
    well done
  8. Well I know two things on this:

    1) I know less about studio photography than anything else in life.

    2) These are great shots.

    Thats my story, and I'm sticking to it.

    Great job.
  9. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    Hi Rich,

    Great to see your avatar picture.

    You're one stool and one neutral background ahead of me so let me know what you learn as you make progress :) 

    Best to you!

  10. Gregory

    WOw the first one is a classic great series what beautiful children
  11. Love your images and wish I could do half as well. Your daughters are darling Gregory. Just one question, if you are doing Hi Key images wouldn't you dress your subjects in something white or pastel?
  12. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Frank - I like the pose and composition of the first one, its the lighting that kills it for me - its way uneaven and odd.

    Gaye - Photographing children is my favorite, I enjoy doing the candid style. Portraiture is fun too - you've got to instruct the model how to pose, get them to look natural and feel comfortable, move at a brisk pace, be creative with different poses and props, backgrounds and stuff, and of course the number 1 thing - lighting.

    I've got the flat lighing down pat, I've got to work on lighting to give the subject more definition.

    I don't have any books about lighing, the thing is with a 3 yo and a 2 yo, I don't get out much, and its even harder to find time to read through a book.

    Hey Rich, we should experiment together. What kind of strobes do you have? The easiest way to do portaits, IMHO, is to have a pair of SB800s (or maybe 3 or 4) and iTTL - very easy to control lighting ratios that way.

    Doug, Thanks for the high praise, but don't you think the lighting looks unnatural? I have high regard for your "natural light" photography, I feel the light is waaay messed up in this shot.

    Harris, thanks - I know nothing of bird photography, just check out my attempt:

    Mike, Thanks for the complients :) 

    Gordon, Thanks. As far as the high key photography - yes, that's an option, but it would look too strange to just have her face and arms being the only thing in color (IMHO). I could intentially overexpose to focus attention, to say her eyes.

    But technically speaking, it's high key simly because it contains mostly ligher tones (right skewed histogram). A low key shot is mostly dark toned (left skewed).

    Thanks everyone for your kind comments. I've got some ideas that I'll try out and let you all know how it turns out.
  13. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl

    Marvelous images and beautiful children.

    I am like Gaye not even a stool.

    Say I have a flashlight. :>))

  14. Gregory:
    In my mind, it is the fact that this is not typical studio ligh, is what makes this image stand apart. Yes some will look at it and say... bring up the light on the shadow side and make it look like it should.... Well what is "As it should".... If you did this all you would have is a well light portrait shot. Just like you can get at any Wal-Mart store or any photo studio.
    But by NOT DOING THAT... you are creating something that the viewer will remember and something that is pleasing to the eye.
  15. Hi Gregory,

    I think these portraits are real nice. Don't be yourself up for it. I have 2 strobes that I purchased almost 2 years ago and I only use them in the winter when it is too cold outside and then put them away for the summer.

    Believe me, you do much better than I can. High Key is not my thing but I do like the look of it so I just stick to low key.

    Right now, I am waiting for a modeling light to come arrive because one blew out and I like to use modeling lights so I can see where the shadows fall.

    Keep up the nice work :!:
  16. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Doug, that's an intersesting take. Never thought of it that way.

    Melissa, yeah, that's the whole thing - I'm not very happy with the shadows in the above samples.
  17. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Here's a couple I shot today... I think the lighting looks a little better with these, no? Still a long way to go...


  18. These are great Gregory. I love the way you have chosen to crop and display the first one. The second one is priceless. Nice job.
  19. gho


    Feb 7, 2005
    Thanks Gordon - I've updated the image (replace the file on my website) - The original was the source, for this "Valentine's Day Card."

    Still working on the lighting though, I think its better than my earlier ones, but I think I still have a long way to go. Got some more things I'm going to give a try.
  20. Gregory,

    Thanks for sharing these shots. I hope you don't mind my candor here. I don't like the lighting very much in these shots. The first shots you posted have too much spill on the subjects that detracts from the quality. I also think your light placement is too far for such young subjects creating too much contrast for high key.

    As for high key, this really isn't high key based on my understanding (which is that high key is mainly light, almost pastel tones and not bold colors). I think bold colors with a blown out background is "hot white" but not high key.

    The first thing I would try differently is light placement. If you want high key get the light real close so you can slightly overexpose the skin without creating too much contrast. I would also use less lights (1 bg and one main) since it's much easier to control and meter 2 vs. 4.

    Here's my definition of high key (barely high key IMO since it could be even lighter and have less contrast - especially the background which wasn't directly lit):
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    BTW, I really enjoy your work and just wanted to give you some honest feedback since it sounds like you want to improve this technique. I hope this helps.


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