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Old 09-25-2013   #1
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Default Requested guidence for couples portraits

I was asked if I could provide couples portraits for our local church special function. I see this as a great way to gain some much needed experience with onlocation lighting for portraits.

I have a
  • 10x10 grey marbled BG
  • 10x20 black BG
  • 3 -AB 800 strobes
  • 36 'Octobox
  • 2x3 softbox
  • 2 speedlights
  • gels
  • lighting boom
  • 2 3 ft silver reflective umbrellas
  • One 3 ft shoot through umbrella

I would like to use one of the AB800's with a blue gel on the BG. I also would like to take full length portraits

Any advice on the lighting positions, ratios, and metering would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 09-25-2013   #2
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Default Re: Requested guidence for couples portraits

Would something like this work?

The SB's on the Side are to keep the spill off the BG and the fill would be camera left.
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Old 09-25-2013   #3
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Default Re: Requested guidence for couples portraits

Did you look at Benji's portrait lighting post?
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Old 09-25-2013   #4
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Default Re: Requested guidence for couples portraits

Well if you are planning to do full body images, having the BG light directly behind the standing subjects could prove difficult.

Personally I would setup in a traditional 3 point lighting setup then add the gelled background light. With adequate distance between subject and background and a bit of feathering spill on the background should be a non issue.
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Old 09-25-2013   #5
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Default Re: Requested guidence for couples portraits

+1 to what Bobby said. Light from 30 to 45 to the side and high enough to loop light the subjects. Add fill from next to and just above the camera.

Portrait Lighting - Names for different portrait lighting set-ups in photography

Place the main light on the side the female is on so that you are lighting across her to the male with both turned about 45 to the camera facing each other. This will short light the female, which is more flattering to most people unless they are anorexic. Have them place their weight on their back foot and point the front foot at the camera and just lift the heel a couple of inches if you are doing more than waist up.

Usually keeping the subjects a couple of feet apart to force them to lean into each other will help the pose. Since most people are overweight you should probably shoot from just above eye level and show the subjects how to push their heads slightly forward to slim their faces. Quick adjustments of the head tilts will fine tune the loop lighting.

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Old 09-26-2013   #6
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Default Re: Requested guidence for couples portraits

See the diagram below to see how I would do it. The male would be at camera right facing the female. The female is where the star is and she is facing to camera right. Shut the hair light off if the male is bald and the light source is a broad source like an umbrella or softbox. If your hair light is snooted, aim it at the female only. If there is some slight spill onto the male's bald head it can be Photoshopped out.

Benji
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Old 09-27-2013   #7
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Default Re: Requested guidence for couples portraits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benji View Post
See the diagram below to see how I would do it. The male would be at camera right facing the female. The female is where the star is and she is facing to camera right. Shut the hair light off if the male is bald and the light source is a broad source like an umbrella or softbox. If your hair light is snooted, aim it at the female only. If there is some slight spill onto the male's bald head it can be Photoshopped out.

Benji
Thank you Benji for providing this visual aid.

I am having trouble understanding why the main/key light is to the subjects rear/camera left aimed at the camera. Would it be for short lighting the female or a sort of rim light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby Deal View Post
Well if you are planning to do full body images, having the BG light directly behind the standing subjects could prove difficult.

Personally I would setup in a traditional 3 point lighting setup then add the gelled background light. With adequate distance between subject and background and a bit of feathering spill on the background should be a non issue.
Thanks for your input Bobby, but I dont understand why having the BG light behind the subjects would be problematic. I plan on having a decent distance from the light to the BG and the subjects to give enough room for light coverage. Can you explain how you see it as a challenge?
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Old 09-27-2013   #8
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Default Re: Requested guidence for couples portraits

(Copy and Paste) Thank you Benji for providing this visual aid. I am having trouble understanding why the main/key light is to the subjects rear/camera left aimed at the camera. Would it be for short lighting the female or a sort of rim light?

The depiction is not 100% accurate. In reality the main would be more toward the camera to short light the female and broad light the male (that is assuming the male is facing the female, otherwise it will short light both of them). When lighting two people who are side by side the shadow cast by the one closest to the main light CANNOT be cast across the face of the other subject. So ALWAYS put the shorter subject closest to the main light with the taller one on the opposite side, that way the shadow cast by the main light will be cast onto the chest of the taller subject. The use of high lighting ratios (like 4 or 5 to 1 should not be used in couples or group photography because the deep dark shadows that one gets from these high ratios will create a deep dark shadow on the chest of those opposite the main light. Obviously any shadow cast from the main light on one person will be cast onto the floor beside them so the main light can be more angular and of a higher ratio than they can be when lighting two people.

The extreme angle shown above is my attempt to show feathering of the main light. Most beginning photographers want to aim the main light directly at the subject. Aiming any light directly at something or someone will usually create hard harsh lighting even though it may be a softbox or umbrella.

Benji
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Old 09-27-2013   #9
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Default Re: Requested guidence for couples portraits

My suggestion would be similar to Benjis however I place my fill right above and behind me on a boom. I usually use a 68 soft white umbrella -2 stops from my main.

I "String out" my main at about 45" (can't remember what length exactly). I do this because every pose is a little different and I place my main after I pose. But now all I have to do it watch for lighting pattern and not be concerned with exposure. Plus, I don't have to move my fill.

I sometimes shoot up to 10 sittings a day (I've done more) and this way of shooting allows me to work fast, create nice classic lighting and not worry about the lighting so I can put all my attention on the subjects.

If the fill doesn't cover enough, I add a reflector on the fill side to kick in some extra light and open the shadows a little bit.
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Old 09-27-2013   #10
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Default Re: Requested guidence for couples portraits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotch View Post
Thank you Benji for providing this visual aid.

Thanks for your input Bobby, but I dont understand why having the BG light behind the subjects would be problematic. I plan on having a decent distance from the light to the BG and the subjects to give enough room for light coverage. Can you explain how you see it as a challenge?

If you are shooting full body shots with the BG light directly behind the subjects it will onlyh be problematic because you will constantly have to adjust poses to ensure the light its self is not visible in the frame

In 3/4 and tighter shots it is not an issue but in full body shots you need to ensure the subjects body hides the light


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