2 Light Self Portrait
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Old 07-12-2007   #1
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Default 2 Light Self Portrait

I just added a Canon 580EX to my existing 430EX hoping to improve my pictures. After picking up the second flash, I added a light stand, silver umbrella, 32x40 white foam core, and a couple of 45x72 pieces of fabric from a craft store.

After a few attempts over the last few days, this is what I came up with:

Canon 580EX on camera is bounced into a silver umbrella 3 feet to camera left at full power. Canon 430EX at 105mm zoom fired into background at 1/32 power. White reflector at camera right.

My white t-shirt was too bright, so I toned it down some in post processing.



Looking for comments on this one and suggestions for improvement for the next one.

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Old 07-13-2007   #2
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Default Re: 2 Light Self Portrait

Hi Mark, I am no expert, but I can tell you what I see. I like your image. Overall, very well done. Lighting with two lights is well done. However, I feel there is too much detail in the background although it is well lit; I find it distracting for me. Try to soften it by adjusting the f/stop or moving the subject further away from the background. A third light or (in this case) a reflector for a hair light would help to separate the hair from the background. There are two hot spots: one on the forehead and one on the nose. These could easily be remediated with post processing. Very nice image; thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-13-2007   #3
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Default Re: 2 Light Self Portrait

This is really good, Mark.

Agree with Rod about the background.
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Old 07-13-2007   #4
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Default Re: 2 Light Self Portrait

This is a good start.

The best way to control the hot spots on the forhead and chin is to use a larger more diffused light source, closer to the subject. A silver umbrella is a fairly hard light. You might try a large 40" shoot-through umbrella, or place a scrim between your silver umbrella and the subject. A larger, diffused light source will create nicer specular highlights in the pupil as well.

You could have more control of the background tones by placing your subject farther from the background and aiming the background light lower so it fades to a darker tone towards the top of the shot. Add a third light or hard reflector for a hair/separation light if you can.

But the best improvement could be had with a larger, closer, softer main light.
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Old 07-13-2007   #5
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Default Re: 2 Light Self Portrait

The t-shirt was "too bright" because it reflected the light source into the camera lens. This is due to it being a more efficient reflector than skin and it 's white color.

Remember the old saying the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. Think like a billiard or pool ball bouncing off the edges of the table.

If you turn the body away, and turn the head back, that is one way to avoid this. This works great with wedding dresses.

Otherwise, scrim or flag the light hitting the shirt to control in while shooting.


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