Weekly Assignment #105: Single Light Potraits

NikolaiNikolai Darth SLRLa LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
edited February 18, 2009 in Assignments
The idea for this assignment came from the current discussion in People's forum (Studio Virgin:-). during the course of discussion DaveV provided an excellent link to one-light portrait standard techniques. And I thought to myself: this is an excellent way to actually learn single light portraiture.
So, for this class you have to submit all three classic portraits (Rembrandt, butterfly, side), all taken under the same conditions and off the same subject.
For the extra credit add another three with reflectors.

To make your life a little bit easier:-), you can use a mannequin, or a wig holder, or a statue, or anything resembling human face. With such a steady subject it should be possible to use a common portable light source (e.g. desk lamp). Just remember to use higher ISO, longer shutter speed and a sturdy tripod.

As a reflector you can use (depending on a scale): piece of paper, kitchen foil, poster board, foam board, windshield cover, etc. Of course, the real thing from B&H would do fine, too!

Let's make some classic art!
"May the f/stop be with you!"
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Comments

  • JustPlainMeJustPlainMe Major grins DownDaBayouRegistered Users Posts: 190 Major grins
    edited January 19, 2009
    I am complete newbie, but I am really interested in practicing this technique so I can decide if I want to invest money in studio lighting for my home.

    Please, please forgive this question, but does single-light mean (in particular) one light source only (no ambient light at all) or one added light source, in a room with whatever ambient light is available? I am going to try both, but I want to follow the rules!

    These assignments are very challenging and helpful. I have learned an unbelievable amount in just a week.

    Thank you very much for your time!

    Sarah
    Please ignore my opinions! And if I ask for constructive criticism, please give it to me. I have really thick skin! :huh
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR La LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited January 19, 2009
    I am complete newbie, but I am really interested in practicing this technique so I can decide if I want to invest money in studio lighting for my home.

    Please, please forgive this question, but does single-light mean (in particular) one light source only (no ambient light at all) or one added light source, in a room with whatever ambient light is available? I am going to try both, but I want to follow the rules!

    These assignments are very challenging and helpful. I have learned an unbelievable amount in just a week.

    Thank you very much for your time!

    Sarah

    Sarah,
    it means "one light source, possibly with a reflector". :-)
    Should you choose to use a strobe - use a strobe and avoid/dim the ambient (4-5 stops difference makes any ambient invisible from the camera standpoint). Should you choose and conventional light (desk lamp, worklight, candle, etc.) - well, that pretty much means "all other lights in the room are off and shutters are sealed".
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • angevin1angevin1 Performs as designed G E O R G I ARegistered Users Posts: 3,403 Major grins
    edited January 21, 2009
    Okay Nik! Great idea and a bit far from my norm, but I'll give it a try.

    First Face Forward trying to get a butterfly on a pug nose and then with refelctor:
    459240384_VvXQG-S.jpg459240406_TwzEC-S.jpg

    Now Side light without, then with reflector:
    459240319_mDUWA-S.jpg459240415_QrjoP-S.jpg

    Now Rembrandt Without and again, with reflector:
    459240366_SxZGX-S.jpg459240372_bq3Sx-S.jpg

    Well, Not really tried any of these before with only one light. I typically use flash off cam and not active A/C lighting, but...it was very interesting. Thank you for looking, critiquing and having these fun technical challenges~~

    thanks in advance, tom
    tom wise
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR La LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited January 21, 2009
    angevin1 wrote:
    Okay Nik! Great idea and a bit far from my norm, but I'll give it a try.

    First Face Forward trying to get a butterfly on a pug nose and then with refelctor:

    Now Side light without, then with reflector:

    Now Rembrandt Without and again, with reflector:

    Well, Not really tried any of these before with only one light. I typically use flash off cam and not active A/C lighting, but...it was very interesting. Thank you for looking, critiquing and having these fun technical challenges~~

    thanks in advance, tom
    Great stuff, Tom! thumb.gif Thank you very much!
    Question: did you use AC light or flash? I mean, the requirement was singularity, not the origin.
    Also - I do think that the same portrait would be MUCH cooler artistically if the bg was not lit at all (hint: gobos are not sources, and hence are allowed mwink.gif :-)
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • angevin1angevin1 Performs as designed G E O R G I ARegistered Users Posts: 3,403 Major grins
    edited January 22, 2009
    Nikolai wrote:
    Great stuff, Tom! thumb.gif Thank you very much!
    Question: did you use AC light or flash? I mean, the requirement was singularity, not the origin.
    Also - I do think that the same portrait would be MUCH cooler artistically if the bg was not lit at all (hint: gobos are not sources, and hence are allowed mwink.gif :-)

    I used a/c lighting, of which I have some but haven't used in quite some time. I don't do much in house shooting. SO when I went to do the assignment I figured it'd be easier to see the shadow with constant lights since I also do not own any strobes with Modeling lamps.

    Agreed, couldda used a more artistic approach...and I think that could come with time if I was to present in the challenges more. Problem is, when I think assignment, I also think instead of create~

    Thanks once again for the assignments and your time~

    tom
    tom wise
  • jbakerphotojbakerphoto Major grins waxahachieRegistered Users Posts: 251 Major grins
    edited January 23, 2009
    Well I got an umbrella about a month ago and I have hardly used it. I figured this was the perfect chance to try to get to know it a little. I was using a sunpack 383 set at 1/2 power into a 45 inch umbrealla. I triggered it with a optical slave triggered by a 580ex at 1/128.....I used a foam core board as a reflector..Lights turned out..Straight out of camera....

    1.) butterfly
    i67B9EB8C-2DAF-419E-AE27-514F634F1CB8.jpg

    2.) butterfly with reflector....

    i35F5D419-49AC-4E18-A141-6E4AD11394FA.jpg

    3.) side

    iF84C8873-5A98-4A24-B870-D69F69069AA9.jpg

    4.) side with reflector

    i656D3353-C4A8-41B5-95F3-04A65F5D9A13.jpg

    5.) Rembrant

    iDB03414E-0EB0-4E66-8BB7-2D35BB9A741F.jpg

    6.) Rembrant with reflector

    iF7E28C3A-BA7F-407B-9294-F88AD4B69EB8.jpg
    40D,Rebel XT,Tamron 17-50 2.8,Tamron 28-80 3.5-5.6, Canon 50 1.8, Sigma 70-200 2.8, Canon 580EX , Sunpack 383 w/ optical slave

    www.jonbakerphotography.com
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR La LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited January 23, 2009
    unclejon wrote:
    Well I got an umbrella about a month ago and I have hardly used it. I figured this was the perfect chance to try to get to know it a little. I was using a sunpack 383 set at 1/2 power into a 45 inch umbrealla. I triggered it with a optical slave triggered by a 580ex at 1/128.....I used a foam core board as a reflector..Lights turned out..Straight out of camera....
    Thank you! thumb.gif
    Wasn't so hard, was it? mwink.gif

    Those portrait would have a much greater artistic merit if you

    1) watched the background (pieces of furniture realy don't belong here)

    2) raised your camera's relative position - headshots are rarely done from beneath the subject

    3) as an extra artistic touch I'd use a gobo (flag, whatever) to make a darker background. Currently it's lit with the same flash. Blocking the part of light that goes to bg would create a better isolation.

    HTH
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • jbakerphotojbakerphoto Major grins waxahachieRegistered Users Posts: 251 Major grins
    edited January 23, 2009
    Nikolai wrote:
    Thank you! thumb.gif
    Wasn't so hard, was it? mwink.gif

    Those portrait would have a much greater artistic merit if you

    1) watched the background (pieces of furniture realy don't belong here)

    2) raised your camera's relative position - headshots are rarely done from beneath the subject

    3) as an extra artistic touch I'd use a gobo (flag, whatever) to make a darker background. Currently it's lit with the same flash. Blocking the part of light that goes to bg would create a better isolation.

    HTH

    Thanks for the feedback Nick!! This is a great subject! I understand 1 and 2. I figured I would be doing it again so thought I would just figure out the lighting/technique and crop if need be later...

    Now #3 is the one that I was oblivious too.....really...I understand what a Gobo is but I do not understand how you use it with a umbrella?

    I guess in this senerio I would get a piece black foam core and one of those can stands and position it at the back of the umbrella at the rim. correct??? guess I need to go buy a piece of black foam core...better way???
    40D,Rebel XT,Tamron 17-50 2.8,Tamron 28-80 3.5-5.6, Canon 50 1.8, Sigma 70-200 2.8, Canon 580EX , Sunpack 383 w/ optical slave

    www.jonbakerphotography.com
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR La LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited January 23, 2009
    unclejon wrote:
    Thanks for the feedback Nick!! This is a great subject! I understand 1 and 2. I figured I would be doing it again so thought I would just figure out the lighting/technique and crop if need be later...

    Now #3 is the one that I was oblivious too.....really...I understand what a Gobo is but I do not understand how you use it with a umbrella?

    I guess in this senerio I would get a piece black foam core and one of those can stands and position it at the back of the umbrella at the rim. correct??? guess I need to go buy a piece of black foam core...better way???
    You're welcome!
    As far as the gobo goes:-)
    Yes, umbrellas and brollyboxes (shoot-through umbrellas, aka "poor man's softboxes") are omnidirectional and as such tend to "spill" a lot of light everywhere. What you can do, though, is to use a blanket or two (or whatever other opaque and preferably light absorbing material you happen to have in your household, including those black foamboards you've mentioned) in a way that they prevent at least some of the spillage. I understand that you may be short on lightstands, C-stands and other studio gear, but here's when you get creative and use something else - doors, screens, PVC pipe frames, ceiling mounts... Whatever you can find.
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • NateWNateW Major grins SE MichiganRegistered Users Posts: 137 Major grins
    edited January 24, 2009
    OK, I'm behind a bit on my assignments (I was never a very good student...), but given the feedback that's been given so far, maybe I can catch up on two themes at once (104 & 105) and maybe even get into 106 while I'm at it. Here's to a new day! (in 24 minutes)
    NateW

    NTWPhotos.com
    Member, Livingston County Photographers Group (http://livcophotographers.com)

    If responding to a picture I've posted: please, provide constructive criticism. Destructive criticism can go take a flying leap.
    If we don't know what could be improved or could have been done differently, we'll never know how to get better at what we're doing.
  • NateWNateW Major grins SE MichiganRegistered Users Posts: 137 Major grins
    edited January 26, 2009
    Here we go:
    W/o reflector & with for each:
    461913788_VsAH8-M.jpg461929366_h9TPd-M-0.jpg

    Butterfly (though I'm not seeing the butterfly: what'm I doing wrong?!?)
    And no, she wasn't too pleased to be doing this for some of them. Arms are behind her on the ground for the first shot here, and it shows.
    461914477_jrEkU-M.jpg461914147_HSwxi-M.jpg

    Edge: (I wished I'd shot these using the light on the other side as I think it's a better side for her, but by the end of all this, she was completely done, so we cut it out. At least she got to stand for this last bit!)
    461914829_9DKNe-M.jpg461915460_XWXSL-M.jpg

    Other things learned on this shoot:
    1) New backdrops need time to lose the wrinkles
    2) My f1.8 50mm Nikkor really wishes it had more anti-reflective coatings. Or at least, I do. When I was blowing out the backdrop with a speed light remote triggered + gobo, I was getting the telltale (at least for this lens, for me) green haze on the opposite side of the image from the bright stuff. When I cut the brightness of the flash enough to cut back on the haze, it wasn't blown out anymore. Shoulda tried one of the other lenses! (but would have lost the short DoF.)
    3) My wife wasn't thrilled with being the model. We'll have to do this often enough that it becomes normal, right? That way she'll like it more? (hah.)
    4) WB should have been reset when switching from shoot-through to reflected umbrella. Hmm. Same umbrella. No extra colors (in the reflector etc.) and I wouldn't have thought I needed to... Maybe the back wall or something? (but that's a gray) Have to think about that some.
    5) Even when they're tired, adults are _way_ easier to get to do what you want them to than 4 and 6 year olds. OK, this was a new thing to learn, but it was a good reminder. rolleyes1.gif

    This was fun, even if it didn't turn out quite as awesome as it would with _lots_ more practice.
    NateW

    NTWPhotos.com
    Member, Livingston County Photographers Group (http://livcophotographers.com)

    If responding to a picture I've posted: please, provide constructive criticism. Destructive criticism can go take a flying leap.
    If we don't know what could be improved or could have been done differently, we'll never know how to get better at what we're doing.
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR La LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited January 26, 2009
    NateW wrote:
    Here we go:
    W/o reflector & with for each:

    Butterfly (though I'm not seeing the butterfly: what'm I doing wrong?!?)
    And no, she wasn't too pleased to be doing this for some of them. Arms are behind her on the ground for the first shot here, and it shows.


    Edge: (I wished I'd shot these using the light on the other side as I think it's a better side for her, but by the end of all this, she was completely done, so we cut it out. At least she got to stand for this last bit!)

    Other things learned on this shoot:
    1) New backdrops need time to lose the wrinkles
    2) My f1.8 50mm Nikkor really wishes it had more anti-reflective coatings. Or at least, I do. When I was blowing out the backdrop with a speed light remote triggered + gobo, I was getting the telltale (at least for this lens, for me) green haze on the opposite side of the image from the bright stuff. When I cut the brightness of the flash enough to cut back on the haze, it wasn't blown out anymore. Shoulda tried one of the other lenses! (but would have lost the short DoF.)
    3) My wife wasn't thrilled with being the model. We'll have to do this often enough that it becomes normal, right? That way she'll like it more? (hah.)
    4) WB should have been reset when switching from shoot-through to reflected umbrella. Hmm. Same umbrella. No extra colors (in the reflector etc.) and I wouldn't have thought I needed to... Maybe the back wall or something? (but that's a gray) Have to think about that some.
    5) Even when they're tired, adults are _way_ easier to get to do what you want them to than 4 and 6 year olds. OK, this was a new thing to learn, but it was a good reminder. rolleyes1.gif

    This was fun, even if it didn't turn out quite as awesome as it would with _lots_ more practice.
    Nate, thank you!

    Soo, she was "done" after *six* frames? mwink.gif Tell her my models have to put up with me for six *hours* and six *hundred* frames:-),deal.gif it will surely make her feel she's got off easy with you :-) rolleyes1.gif

    Butterfly - you got it. thumb.gif Look for the shape of the shadow under her nose in your first Butterfly frame.

    I mentioned that earlier: umbrealls are very hard to control. A lot of light spill. Hence the light pollution in your lens (and on the bg, for than matter). Sometimes it's good (e.g. for the HK), but more often than not you want a more precise control on what is going where (hence softboxes and grids).
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • jbakerphotojbakerphoto Major grins waxahachieRegistered Users Posts: 251 Major grins
    edited February 2, 2009
    Take 2
    Ok so my 2nd attempt ended up slightly better. SORTA. I couldnt figure out how to gobo the umbrella so I just took off the umbrella and shot with bare flash with a black foamy as a gobo.

    The Good first.....

    1.) Butterfly with reflector --- Probaly best out of the bunch
    iF386F38A-B8C6-41F8-A80C-80C556ECE98B.jpg

    2.) butterfly with out reflector...

    iD6755379-1636-4C31-9A47-82597364ADC8.jpg

    3.) rembrant - Guess I lost control of the background here...
    i57B941B6-B3E7-40A4-AB54-8824D72FC7C6.jpg

    4.)rembrant with reflector ----I think....
    i73B26B7B-4424-4D4E-976A-7D8FEAC15C0D.jpg

    5.)side --- probaly too dark
    i1A569F67-F3B0-4F8C-A745-6C00FF0C2BAF.jpg

    6.)side with reflector
    i4A8D5326-6C84-476C-889A-CA2F33432857.jpg
    40D,Rebel XT,Tamron 17-50 2.8,Tamron 28-80 3.5-5.6, Canon 50 1.8, Sigma 70-200 2.8, Canon 580EX , Sunpack 383 w/ optical slave

    www.jonbakerphotography.com
  • jbakerphotojbakerphoto Major grins waxahachieRegistered Users Posts: 251 Major grins
    edited February 5, 2009
    bump
    40D,Rebel XT,Tamron 17-50 2.8,Tamron 28-80 3.5-5.6, Canon 50 1.8, Sigma 70-200 2.8, Canon 580EX , Sunpack 383 w/ optical slave

    www.jonbakerphotography.com
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR La LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited February 5, 2009
    unclejon wrote:
    bump
    sorry, got a bit too much on my plate lately :-)

    I like the clarity of these shots better. Separation FG/BG has been much improved. However, the lack of a larger diffuser (umbrella) also made the light much sharper. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but you certainly must be aware of the effect.

    And yes, the reason why I don't use umbrellas and brollyboxes much anymore is that they spill the light all over the place. Yes, softboxes (esp. with grids) are not cheap, but afterall you spend the money to get a better light...deal.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • jbakerphotojbakerphoto Major grins waxahachieRegistered Users Posts: 251 Major grins
    edited February 5, 2009
    Nikolai wrote:
    sorry, got a bit too much on my plate lately :-)

    I like the clarity of these shots better. Separation FG/BG has been much improved. However, the lack of a larger diffuser (umbrella) also made the light much sharper. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but you certainly must be aware of the effect.

    And yes, the reason why I don't use umbrellas and brollyboxes much anymore is that they spill the light all over the place. Yes, softboxes (esp. with grids) are not cheap, but afterall you spend the money to get a better light...deal.gif

    Understand about everything on your plate. I just got worried because I kept on moveing down the list. Thanks for the critique. I dont forsee my self getting any softboxes anytime soon. My wife and son stay home so things are tight. Maybe eventually
    40D,Rebel XT,Tamron 17-50 2.8,Tamron 28-80 3.5-5.6, Canon 50 1.8, Sigma 70-200 2.8, Canon 580EX , Sunpack 383 w/ optical slave

    www.jonbakerphotography.com
  • eL eSs VeeeL eSs Vee Beside himself. Outer Los Angeles.Registered Users Posts: 1,243 Major grins
    edited February 16, 2009
    Butteryfly lighting.
    Lightingbutterfly_DSC2964.jpgButterflywr_DSC2966.jpg
    I forgot where the reflector belonged and placed it to her side rather than in front. ne_nau.gif

    Paramount lighting.
    Paramount_DSC2967.jpgParamountwr_DSC2968.jpg

    Edge (side) lighting.
    Sideturned_DSC2972.jpgSideturnedwr_DSC2971.jpg


    Thank you.
    Lee
    __________________

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  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR La LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited February 16, 2009
    eL eSs Vee wrote:
    Butteryfly lighting.
    I forgot where the reflector belonged and placed it to her side rather than in front. ne_nau.gif
    Paramount lighting.
    Edge (side) lighting.
    Thank you.
    Thank you Lee, nice entries!
    However I honestly think the white wall to the camera right did some reflection on her own. Single light portraits with good spill control usually look a bit more dramatic...
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • eL eSs VeeeL eSs Vee Beside himself. Outer Los Angeles.Registered Users Posts: 1,243 Major grins
    edited February 16, 2009
    Nikolai wrote:
    Thank you Lee, nice entries!
    However I honestly think the white wall to the camera right did some reflection on her own. Single light portraits with good spill control usually look a bit more dramatic...

    Thank you! clap.gif

    I hear you on that, Nikolai. You're right about the whits(ish) wall to camera right (not to mention the low ceiling above) in her tiny apartment washing light back onto her. I did, though, manage to have her more than eight feet in front of the back wall, and just like my photo for the silhouette assignment (shot on the same day), I'd run out of suitably sized pieces of black flannel to hang on either side of her.

    On a related note: After my tax refund comes in (yes, I'm getting money back! YAYHH!! wings.gif) I'll be getting a couple of 9'X15' muslin backdrops and support stands, plus more black flannel to be used on either side. Paper will soon follow.
    Lee
    __________________

    My SmugMug Gallery
    My Facebook

    "If you've found a magic that does something for you, honey, stick to it. Never change it." - Mae West, to Edith Head.
    "Every guy has to have one weakness - and it might as well be a good one." - Shell Scott: Dance With the Dead by Richard S. Prather
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR La LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited February 16, 2009
    eL eSs Vee wrote:
    Thank you! clap.gif

    I hear you on that, Nikolai. You're right about the whits(ish) wall to camera right (not to mention the low ceiling above) in her tiny apartment washing light back onto her. I did, though, manage to have her more than eight feet in front of the back wall, and just like my photo for the silhouette assignment (shot on the same day), I'd run out of suitably sized pieces of black flannel to hang on either side of her.

    On a related note: After my tax refund comes in (yes, I'm getting money back! YAYHH!! wings.gif) I'll be getting a couple of 9'X15' muslin backdrops and support stands, plus more black flannel to be used on either side. Paper will soon follow.

    Before laying out all the tax refund money on the muslins, stop by the LA fabric district on a weekday and simply take a walk first. If you never been there it may take you 2-3 hours, but you do need to get an idea what's where. Create a short shooping list and head out to find the best price. Be prepare to haggle, but don't buy at the first place. Remember: volume and cash makes for huge discounts.

    Also, keep in mind that PVC pipe make a great inexpensive replacements for Various stands and racks. You can either buy them in pewter gray or get a can of an acrylic paint abd make them nice photographic black. And for the rest of the support go to www.amvona,com.
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • eL eSs VeeeL eSs Vee Beside himself. Outer Los Angeles.Registered Users Posts: 1,243 Major grins
    edited February 17, 2009
    Nikolai wrote:
    Before laying out all the tax refund money on the muslins, stop by the LA fabric district on a weekday and simply take a walk first. If you never been there it may take you 2-3 hours, but you do need to get an idea what's where. Create a short shooping list and head out to find the best price. Be prepare to haggle, but don't buy at the first place. Remember: volume and cash makes for huge discounts.

    Also, keep in mind that PVC pipe make a great inexpensive replacements for Various stands and racks. You can either buy them in pewter gray or get a can of an acrylic paint abd make them nice photographic black. And for the rest of the support go to www.amvona,com.

    Thank you for the heads-up. At this time, I'm considering this set-up.
    Lee
    __________________

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    "If you've found a magic that does something for you, honey, stick to it. Never change it." - Mae West, to Edith Head.
    "Every guy has to have one weakness - and it might as well be a good one." - Shell Scott: Dance With the Dead by Richard S. Prather
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR La LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited February 17, 2009
    eL eSs Vee wrote:
    Thank you for the heads-up. At this time, I'm considering this set-up.
    I'd say it's a bit low for what I do, but if you're limited by the ceiling - then it looks like a good price. Of course, I don't know the quality of fabric or rack, so can't comment on those. I know I selected my fabric very carefully. And my rack is 12' or 13' high (not that I use it at home)
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • eL eSs VeeeL eSs Vee Beside himself. Outer Los Angeles.Registered Users Posts: 1,243 Major grins
    edited February 17, 2009
    Nikolai wrote:
    I'd say it's a bit low for what I do, but if you're limited by the ceiling - then it looks like a good price. Of course, I don't know the quality of fabric or rack, so can't comment on those. I know I selected my fabric very carefully. And my rack is 12' or 13' high (not that I use it at home)

    It's low for what I want to do, but I am rather limited by said ceilings: Mine are eight feet, and so are those of most of my friends. But, since I won't be shooting in the homes of my high-celinged friends every time the shutter bug gets hungry, I'll be happy with a (relatively) low background. . . . For now! mwink.gif
    Lee
    __________________

    My SmugMug Gallery
    My Facebook

    "If you've found a magic that does something for you, honey, stick to it. Never change it." - Mae West, to Edith Head.
    "Every guy has to have one weakness - and it might as well be a good one." - Shell Scott: Dance With the Dead by Richard S. Prather
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR La LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited February 17, 2009
    eL eSs Vee wrote:
    It's low for what I want to do, but I am rather limited by said ceilings: Mine are eight feet, and so are those of most of my friends. But, since I won't be shooting in the homes of my high-celinged friends every time the shutter bug gets hungry, I'll be happy with a (relatively) low background. . . . For now! mwink.gif
    Can you get those BGs only and get a rack from amvona? Or go to fabric district and get the really nice materail for $25 top (or cheaper). With the amvona rack being ~$60 and fabrics being no more that $25/ea you'll get $25 savings over the kit and a garanteed quality...deal.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • baldmountainbaldmountain Spur of the moment... MassachusettsRegistered Users Posts: 192 Major grins
    edited February 18, 2009
    I've been remiss in getting assignments done. Or any photography for that matter. I took these hand holding a 40watt Ott desk lamp and the camera. (Sorry for the soft focus.) I think a lot of what makes a single light portrait work is how you deal with backgrounds along with the lighting. I also think that people get too caught up in fancy lighting systems when a lamp from Lowe's or even a candle will do.

    Side light

    476108069_Fiaaf-L.jpg

    Front light

    476108033_rw5xX-L.jpg

    Rembrandt light

    476106229_UkKqC-L.jpg
    geoff
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR La LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited February 18, 2009
    I've been remiss in getting assignments done. Or any photography for that matter. I took these hand holding a 40watt Ott desk lamp and the camera. (Sorry for the soft focus.) I think a lot of what makes a single light portrait work is how you deal with backgrounds along with the lighting. I also think that people get too caught up in fancy lighting systems when a lamp from Lowe's or even a candle will do.
    Thank you Geoff! thumb.gif
    I agree, you don't have to have $8,000 camera, $4,000 lens, $25,000 worth of lights and $100,000/yr studio space to take a nice portrait (albeit, they can help, too:-)
    Apart from being soft I think your WB is a bit off (fairly typical color cast for Otts)...
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • baldmountainbaldmountain Spur of the moment... MassachusettsRegistered Users Posts: 192 Major grins
    edited February 18, 2009
    Nikolai wrote:
    Apart from being soft I think your WB is a bit off (fairly typical color cast for Otts)...

    Yeah, I actually changed it a lot to get it here. I think there are two colors of light coming from the Ott. One that has a yellow cast and another green. Makes it very difficult to get a proper white balance. Like taking pictures in a gym that has both Mercury lights sand lots of sunlight.
    geoff
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR La LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited February 18, 2009
    Yeah, I actually changed it a lot to get it here. I think there are two colors of light coming from the Ott. One that has a yellow cast and another green. Makes it very difficult to get a proper white balance. Like taking pictures in a gym that has both Mercury lights sand lots of sunlight.
    I understand the gym analogy, but this is single light scenario by the very nature of it, hence there is no mix. Custom WB or a gray card would do the trick in one hit...deal.gif
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
  • baldmountainbaldmountain Spur of the moment... MassachusettsRegistered Users Posts: 192 Major grins
    edited February 18, 2009
    Nikolai wrote:
    I understand the gym analogy, but this is single light scenario by the very nature of it, hence there is no mix. Custom WB or a gray card would do the trick in one hit...deal.gif

    Sorry, I wasn't clear. I only used one light. It is just that the spectrum of light coming from the lamp I used has 2 peaks. This makes it hard to get a good white balance since if you correct for one peak the other causes a cast to the image. The answer is to NOT use this kind of lamp as a light source. A plain incandescent light would be better. Or convert to black and white...
    geoff
  • NikolaiNikolai Darth SLR La LA landRegistered Users Posts: 19,035 Major grins
    edited February 18, 2009
    Sorry, I wasn't clear. I only used one light. It is just that the spectrum of light coming from the lamp I used has 2 peaks. This makes it hard to get a good white balance since if you correct for one peak the other causes a cast to the image. The answer is to NOT use this kind of lamp as a light source. A plain incandescent light would be better. Or convert to black and white...
    I see. Yeah, that might be the problem...
    "May the f/stop be with you!"
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