PhotoCamel: Your friendly photo community, with free discussion forums, digital photography reviews, photo sharing, galleries, downloads, blogs, photography contests, and prizes.
Photo of the Week Photo of the Week
 

Go Back   PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Photography by Genre: Critique and Discussion > Portraits

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-06-2011   #1
Alpaca
 
driffert's Avatar
 
Location: Newburgh, IN
Posts: 22
driffert is just really nicedriffert is just really nicedriffert is just really nicedriffert is just really nicedriffert is just really nice
CamelKarma: 457
Default Critique my Portrait Work

I am an amateur photographer who wants to get into portrait/senior photography when I retire from accounting. Below is a link to my website. I would appreciate any constructive feedback.

I currently use my Nikon D80 with the Nikkor 50mm 1.8 lens for studio portraits and the 18-135mm Nikkor for outdoor shots. I use an Alien Bees B800 reflected into umbrella as my primary light and a Nikon SB-600 with diffuser as a secondary. I use a manual flash to light the background. I set my camera on RAW, with 100 ISO, around f4 and whatever shutter speed it takes to obtain correct exposure using the camera’s histogram. I use a Manfrotto tripod and Cybersync remotes to trigger the flash.

I feel I’m doing well with one or two subjects but find it more difficult to get the lighting right with larger groups. I know I also need more experience in posing. Any help and comments would be appreciated.

Riffert Riverview Studio | Portraits


Denny Riffert
Newburgh, IN

__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
driffert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2011   #2
Bactrian
 
Ernst-Ulrich Schafer's Avatar
 
Location: Port Angeles, WA
Posts: 2,463
Ernst-Ulrich Schafer strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorErnst-Ulrich Schafer strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorErnst-Ulrich Schafer strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorErnst-Ulrich Schafer strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorErnst-Ulrich Schafer strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorErnst-Ulrich Schafer strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorErnst-Ulrich Schafer strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorErnst-Ulrich Schafer strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorErnst-Ulrich Schafer strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorErnst-Ulrich Schafer strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorErnst-Ulrich Schafer strides over the forum like a knight in shining armor
CamelKarma: 5769571
Editing OK?: No
Default Re: Critique my Portrait Work

Hey Denny, Your doing well, just keep learning. There are lots of great Senior Photographers in your area, make sure you get to know who they are and what their doing. Become a member of your states organization and attend their convention.
Ernst-Ulrich Schafer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2011   #3
F1 Camel
 
Sailor Blue's Avatar
 
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Posts: 4,117
Sailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armor
CamelKarma: 186062
Editing OK?: Yes
Default Re: Critique my Portrait Work

You have some nice work on your site, but some of the images show that you need to keep learning and working.

It is likely that your problem with groups is that you need bigger diffusers.

Diffusers should be about the size of the subject or larger. For a group that means big and that means power. Umbrellas waste flash power by scattering it. Softboxes are more light efficient since they direct all the light toward the subject. Scattered light also reduces your ability to control subject lighting. Those are two reasons why softboxes are generally preferred for studio work.

Having said that, softboxes are expensive compared to umbrellas and umbrellas with removable black backings, especially if the backing is silvered on the inside, are not bad.

For individual up to a group of 3 or 4 people I recommend a 3'x5' softbox. Your AB will work well with that size softbox. It can be used vertically for one person - head shot up to full body. Horizontally it will work for waist up shots of one person or a small group. A 60" umbrella would be another choice and the 64" PCB PLM with sock is a great choice - the 86" one is a bit large for your AB800.

impact+60+inch+umbrella

Paul C Buff Australia The International Home Of Alien Bees, Cybersyncs, Whitelighting, Einsteins. Asia Pacific

Don't forget that you should use your diffusers at 1 to 2 diagonals of a softbox and 1 to 2 diameters of an umbrella for the "best" light. Closer and you get too much contrast from one side of the subject due to light fall off. Further away and the light looks flat but the shadows and highlights become sharp edged. Some of the portraits on your site look a bit flat.

The exposures also vary between portraits of different people on your site. You might want to invest in a flash meter. I recommend the Sekonic L-358 or the Gossen Digipro F since these you can recalibrate these to match your camera/lens or when they drift out of calibration. The prices are about the same for the Sekonic without the Pocket Wizard RF trigger and the Gossen.
__________________
--Don--

Canon 7D, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II, Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
Nissin Di866, Electra CLASSIC Plus studio strobes & modifiers
Sekonic L-358 Flash Meter, Yongnuo RF-602 Transmitters & Receivers
Dell 20" 2001F (1200x1800) IPS monitor, Samsung SyncMaster 23" F2380 (1920x1280) PVA monitor, Datacolor Spyder3Elite for monitor calibration
Sailor Blue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011   #4
Camel Breath
 
Steven G Webb's Avatar
 
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 12,721
Steven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armor
CamelKarma: 987455
Editing OK?: Yes
Default Re: Critique my Portrait Work

Your exposures look consistent. What kind of lighting arrangement are you using? I also agree that the modifiers appear to be small, based on shadows and specular highlights. A couple of things stand out. Your main light appears to be low. Several images on individual subjects the nose shadow is running across the face in a straight line. The other thing is I think your camera elevation is generally low, particularly on the head-and-shoulder poses. Low and loosely cropped, not quite a three-quarter length but too far down the torso for a bust length pose.

A larger light source would give a softer light, elevating it would give more pleasant light, feathering it behind might take some of the harshness away and elevating the camera would give you a more flattering perspective, then maybe tighten up the crops a little.

Going in the right direction, just not quite there yet.

Steve
__________________
Have you ever stopped to think and forgot to start again?

Facebook

Camel Equine Group

My Equine Album

Fireworks Album

Steven G Webb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011   #5
Alpaca
 
driffert's Avatar
 
Location: Newburgh, IN
Posts: 22
driffert is just really nicedriffert is just really nicedriffert is just really nicedriffert is just really nicedriffert is just really nice
CamelKarma: 457
Default Re: Critique my Portrait Work

Thanks everyone for the great comments.

Sailor Blue: Can you explain what you mean by "use your diffusers at 1 to 2 diagonals of a softbox and 1 to 2 diameters of an umbrella for the "best" light". I'm not sure what you mean. Also, do you think I would get better light from my primary light source by shooting my AB800 through the umbrella instead of reflecting off it? Would I be better to shoot my Nikon SB-600 through an umbrella instead of using it with the Stofen diffuser for the fill light?

Thanks again to all. This is most helpful information to someone just beginning in this field.
driffert is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011   #6
Camel Breath
 
Steven G Webb's Avatar
 
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 12,721
Steven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSteven G Webb strides over the forum like a knight in shining armor
CamelKarma: 987455
Editing OK?: Yes
Default Re: Critique my Portrait Work

Denny unless I miss my guess he's talking about the distance of the light. I believe his suggestion is with a soft box, measure the diagonal of the front. The distance from your subject should be 1 to 2 times that measurement. With an umbrella the shooting distance should be the same to twice the diameter of the umbrella.

Keeping the light modifier near your subject creates a larger relative light source and thus a softer light. Place the light where it provides the best coverage, then adjust the output of the flash to provide the appropriate exposure for your chosen f-stop.
__________________
Have you ever stopped to think and forgot to start again?

Facebook

Camel Equine Group

My Equine Album

Fireworks Album

Steven G Webb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011   #7
F1 Camel
 
Sailor Blue's Avatar
 
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Posts: 4,117
Sailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armorSailor Blue strides over the forum like a knight in shining armor
CamelKarma: 186062
Editing OK?: Yes
Default Re: Critique my Portrait Work

The "best" portrait light is defined by the lit/shadow ratio of a face and the softness of the highlights. When diffusers are used at the correct distances the lit/shadow ratio is sufficient to give the face a 3-D look and there is plenty of light to show the shadow side of the face. The shadow edges will also be soft and the edges of the highlights will be soft with fuzzy edges.

If you use a diffuser closer than 1 diagonal/diameter the lit/shadow ratio gets to be too high because of the fall off of light with distance. The shadow side of the face looks too dark compared to the lit side. The softness of the highlights can also be excessive.

THE INVERSE-SQUARE LAW

Understanding Light Falloff – The Inverse Square Law Photofocus

When used at more than 2 diagonals/diameters the light from a diffuser starts becoming hard, causing shadow and highlight edges to become sharp. The light fall off is also small from the lit side of the face to the shadow side and the lighting is said to be flat.

ShortCourses-Understanding Hard and Soft Light
__________________
--Don--

Canon 7D, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II, Tamron SP AF28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
Nissin Di866, Electra CLASSIC Plus studio strobes & modifiers
Sekonic L-358 Flash Meter, Yongnuo RF-602 Transmitters & Receivers
Dell 20" 2001F (1200x1800) IPS monitor, Samsung SyncMaster 23" F2380 (1920x1280) PVA monitor, Datacolor Spyder3Elite for monitor calibration
Sailor Blue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2011   #8
Alpaca
 
driffert's Avatar
 
Location: Newburgh, IN
Posts: 22
driffert is just really nicedriffert is just really nicedriffert is just really nicedriffert is just really nicedriffert is just really nice
CamelKarma: 457
Default Re: Critique my Portrait Work

Thanks. Again this is most useful information for me to absorb. I appreciate you both taking the time to help me out.


__________________
Members don't see ads in threads. Register for your free account today and become a member of PhotoCamel to open up the site's many benefits and features.
driffert is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

« PhotoCamel - Your Friendly Photography Forum > Photography by Genre: Critique and Discussion > Portraits »


Share this topic:

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My latest wedding work - comment & critique welcome pierokwong Weddings 17 12-16-2010 01:27 PM
I would like some critique on my work Pixeldust Fairy Portraits 19 11-27-2008 08:58 PM
Portrait Critique JimH Portraits 14 03-21-2008 06:59 PM
A few pictures for critique, from work Lowa2 Sports & Action 4 05-03-2006 02:52 PM