Another go...
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Old 03-11-2018   #1
Alpaca
 
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Default Another go...

Tried again last night...left the wine out but I'm beginning to think that was a mistake. I have to say I have tremendous respect for you all that do this well. My background stinks and I will be getting some soon. Please give me any and all the nitpicking you can. I didn't use the flashlight but used a brush in LR to bring up the eyes a bit. I have PS but am a rank amateur using it at this point. My youngest hit the makeup a little hard to mom's chagrin. The third is from a couple of weeks ago, no hair light. Backed up the background lights on the white to get grey.













And here is one for your troubles...my puppy Sugar Maple Sap Bucket (Maple)


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Old 03-11-2018   #2
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Default Re: Another go...

The black background looked fine to me, as do the dark backgrounds above. The first photo above could be cropped tighter so the light arm in the lower left doesn't distract. The bright skirt in the second shot is also a distraction. You don't need a hair light with the slightly lighter background. Magnificent hair! Lighting in these three is better than in the one a few days ago. There is little reason to use a horizontal format for the third photo.
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Old 03-11-2018   #3
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The reason I come here....thank you!







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Old 03-17-2018   #4
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Old 03-18-2018   #5
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Default Re: Another go...

I don't think you told us what your setup is and what you're using for lighting. If you did, I'm sorry but I didn't see it. If you didn't please tell us what you're using.

If you're not shooting tethered, I'd strongly suggest doing so. It makes things so much easier. You can get a much better idea of your composition, focus and lighting much easier and much faster than on the tiny lcd on your camera.

Overall I think you're doing a nice job. Everyone has their own style of shooting. So what one person likes, someone else might not like it. As long as you like the results you're getting, you're on the right track.

For me, the lighting appears a bit harsh/hard. In the first image, it appears like you have a fairly small light someplace to camera right, about 3 o'clock. It's causing a bit of a hot spot on her neck, and some shadows as well. Looking at the image on my iPad it looks a bit underexposed. It could be my iPad, but I'd try a bit more exposure and see what it would do. For me the shadows are a bit strong. If you're using a small light source, I'd bring it much closer. It'll soften the shadows and give you much more glow overall. After you bring the light closer, I'd try bring it bit more to the front, it seems like it's a touch off to the side. I'd also raise it up a touch, so it's not at 3 o'clock, but more like 1 or 2.

In the second image it seems like you have the light higher up. And overall the lighting seems softer, and the shadows fall much better on her face. I would still try to either bring the light closer, or go with a bigger light.

For me, with portraits, I like bigger lights. Yes, I know you can do anything with smaller speed lights too, but for me it's easier and I get a better result with a big octabox using a strobe. I can use the modeling light to see what I'm getting, what the catch lights will look like etc. I don't like to struggle.
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Old 03-18-2018   #6
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I have been collecting Novatron lights on the cheap. I have two sets now, the newer has 4 lights and a 600v power pack with a dial to adjust power. This is for inside my studio. The second 440v set is for when I take pictures of cows...outside...eventually. At this point I'm out about 350 so not too bad, actually I'm thrilled even if they are not the greatest lights. You can see my space here. I am very lucky to have it and also the support of my family. The ceiling is 8.5 ft and I can be as far as 30 ft from the background. It is 16 ft wide. I have them stand 9 ft from the background.

Right now I only have black and white backgrounds.

I have a Sony a77 and I found out it does not tether but I can hook it up to an external monitor.

I do not have a light meter and would not know what to do with it if I had. I'm open to the idea...

The light positioning (from camera) for the two backgrounds is the same with a slight difference. First the key light is about 6ft high shooting into a 44 inch reflecting umbrella that I painted myself. It sits at about 4 o'clock. The fill light was about 5ft high at about 8 o'clock shooting into a 32 inch reflecting umbrella I also painted. It can be full power or stopped down 1 or 2 stops with a switch on the light. The hair light (black background only) is on a boom pole at 8ft slightly behind and to the right. This light has barn doors on it. To light the background I have a 31 inch shoot through umbrella. I used this on the key light for the white/grey background. I like this better...I think. I have a softbox ring on the way and plan on getting a soft box to use with the main light.

Thank you (and everyone) for all the comments, they are very helpful. I do not want to be a pro, just take pictures of my kids before they grow up and leave me. I wasn't sure where to post, here or advanced, but both forums have helped me tremendously. I assume they get the same traffic. Anyway, I have LR and PS (not the subscription) but like it when I don't really need to use them much
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Old 03-18-2018   #7
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Default Re: Another go...

Oh wow, you could really do a lot with your set up! Good job on acquiring it all.

You said the camera can't tether but it can hook up to a monitor. Why is that? Can you use the same port that you're using to hook up to a monitor to connect to LR to tether? If you can't, can you still see each shot on the monitor as you take the images? If so, definately do that. Seeing each shot come in is great. Especially the first few for each shoot. Once you're dialed in with exposure and focus and composition it's not so critical.

A light meter is nice, but not critical. Just check your histogram, and expose to the right, without blowing your whites. You could actually put down a white towel, shoot the towel. Keep increasing your exposure until you start to notice you're blowing out the towel, or losing detail in the towel. Then decrease exposure until all the detail is back, and you're not blowing it out at all.

For me, the images you've posted seem like the lighting is a bit harsh/hard. I assumed you were using a speed light or a small softbox. From your description that doesn't sound to be the case. I'd try to bring your lights closer to the model. In fact, try an experiment, and see how you like the results.

Try this. Bring the main light as close to the model as you can without touching her, and also keeping the light out of the frame of your image. Dial in your exposure making sure you're not blowing your highlights. Run off a few images and inspect the results. See what you think. If you think the lights are too close now, after inspecting your images pull them back some.

I'll bet this will soften the shadows a lot, I'd also bring the lights more to the front. The light will wrap more on the face, and soften the shadows. Check to see where your shadows fall on the face. Especially the shadows from the nose. If the shadow from the nose cuts across the face, raise your light so the shadow falls downward toward the lip more, and not across the check. If your light is hitting the ceiling, have the model sit. That will be the same as raising the light.

Shoot off a few images and inspect. Then consider adding a reflector opposite your main light. Play with that. Then consider a reflector under the chin. You'll get more of a beauty box type of image. The skin will glow, and the catch lights in the eyes can look nice too. You'll notice the catch lights should be bigger now that your light are closer. The eyes should look much brighter and more alive. Give it go and see what you think.

If you have modeling lights, use them. Make the modeling lights be as bright as the flash, if your system allows it. Then you get an idea of how things look and where your shadows are and how hard they are. The bright lights will also constrict the models pupils, so you'll have more color in them. Less dilated black areas.

Position the lights, and adjust their positions. As you do watch what they do to the face. Another thing to consider is getting a cheap mannequin face on eBay or something. You can set it up, and play with the lights. You can see how changing the lights effects the results without having someone there for a long time, being flashed. Is it the same as a real person? No. But it helps a lot. I think so anyway. Lol. It's fun to adjust the lights, and watching what the changes do.

Anyway, enjoy playing. You're off to a great start.


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