Using A Light Absorber Outdoors
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Old 05-24-2007   #1
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Default Using A Light Absorber Outdoors

I always carry a silver/white reflector when I'm shooting downtown, but sometimes I need to subtract light from one side of the face to get three dimensional lighting. So I went to Wal-Mart and bought a piece of black polyester cloth the same size of my reflector. When I need to block some light or use subtractive lighting I simply clip the black cloth onto the reflector with four bulldog clips and I have an instant gobo.

The first image shows the portrait, the second shows how I did it. The sunshine was blocked from striking the subject by the large building behind the bush. This image was lit with sunshine which was being bounced off of a white building at camera right. The background and her hair was lit by the daylight from the sky.

Benji

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Old 05-29-2007   #2
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Default Re: Using A Light Absorber Outdoors

I'm envious of all your good stuff, Benji . I wish I could afford a tall human lightstand... even if it's not a pretty one like yours. I want one of those great panel reflectors, too. They're so much nicer than a disc. Was it ready-made, or did you build it?

But in this case, your use of the panel eludes me. Since you turned the building at frame left into your personal gobo, had soft light coming from the white building at frame right, and sunlight from above for a hairlight (lucky coincidences? I think not ), what did you use the panel for?
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Old 05-29-2007   #3
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Originally Posted by Uncle Frank View Post
I'm envious of all your good stuff, Benji . I wish I could afford a tall human lightstand... even if it's not a pretty one like yours. I want one of those great panel reflectors, too. They're so much nicer than a disc. Was it ready-made, or did you build it?

But in this case, your use of the panel eludes me. Since you turned the building at frame left into your personal gobo, had soft light coming from the white building at frame right, and sunlight from above for a hairlight (lucky coincidences? I think not ), what did you use the panel for?
Frank,

This is the only "store bought" reflector I own! The brand name is "California Sunbounce" reflector. You could Google it. I bought mine several years ago at our local camera store.

Dark buildings can be a "natural" gobo that (hopefully) will prevent the shadow side of your subject's face from receiving too much light provided you can position the subject rather close up against the building for maximum darkening effect. In this case however I had to pose her about six to eight feet away from it (because of an air conditioner compressor that was in the way) and this allows light to "creep" around and lighten up the shadow side. The solution was to clip my black cloth across the reflector (making it a "deflector") which then assisted in darkening the shadow side even more.

I have "lucky coincidences" rather frequently, by looking at what the light is doing to my subject's face and then moving her, turning her, adding a fill flash, overriding the existing light with an off camera flash, subtracting light with a deflector or bouncing some light with a reflector. I'm frequently lucky when I do these things!

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Old 06-04-2007   #4
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Default Re: Using A Light Absorber Outdoors

In looking at the 2nd picture I notice the girl's hands are clasped at her stomach as if she is holding her stomach. Was that your ideal to help balance her posture or did she just do that?
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Old 06-05-2007   #5
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Renay,

If you look at the head and shoulders image you will see her arms form the sides of a pyramid, with her head at the top. Upper arms held like this will lead the viewers eyes right up to her face where they should be led to. Also note (in the second image) that she has all of her weight on her rear hip and her other foot advanced toward the camera. Even though none of this stuff shows in the head and shoulders portrait it is vital that these things be done in order to get the correct posture for the head and shoulders image. Most photographers think since it doesn't show it need not be posed. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Imagine for a moment a carpenter building a house but deciding not to pour a concrete foundation because it will be completely covered up by the more important parts of the house, the parts where the family lives, so why spend all that money and time on it? This is the same thinking some less informed photographers use when "building" a portrait.

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Old 06-05-2007   #6
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Default Re: Using A Light Absorber Outdoors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benji View Post
I have "lucky coincidences" rather frequently, by looking at what the light is doing to my subject's face and then moving her, turning her, adding a fill flash, overriding the existing light with an off camera flash, subtracting light with a deflector or bouncing some light with a reflector. I'm frequently lucky when I do these things!

Benji
I've gotta laugh at that one benji!!

What focal length did you use here Benji. It's a cracking image - the model looks pretty close to the background yet it's completely blurred in your shot. Your dof is perfect.

I'm guessing a longish f/l?

JD
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Old 06-05-2007   #7
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Default Re: Using A Light Absorber Outdoors

Well JD I'd love to tell ya I used a 200MM F 4 lens wide open, but I didn't because I don't own one (yet!) I used Gaussian Blur in Photoshop!

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Old 06-05-2007   #8
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Well JD I'd love to tell ya I used a 200MM F 4 lens wide open, but I didn't because I don't own one (yet!) I used Gaussian Blur in Photoshop!

Benji
I was thinking it looked not quite real

I have a 200 f2.8 and struggle to get the images looking like that - maybe I need to brush up on my PS skills
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Old 08-28-2007   #9
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Default Re: Using A Light Absorber Outdoors

Thanks for the tips Benji.
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Old 08-31-2007   #10
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Default Re: Using A Light Absorber Outdoors

Another great tutorial from a great member! Benji thanks for sharing you knowledge with us who love to learn from you.


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