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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Portraits...Now if they all turn up lol I have 4 willing friends to pose for me this sunday coming. Looking ...
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Old 07-10-2007, 19:26   #1 (permalink)
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Portraits

Now if they all turn up lol I have 4 willing friends to pose for me this sunday coming.

Looking at doing some natural outdoors pics, any tips?

I am lacking in equipment in that I doubt I will have bought my flash by then but I do have a reflector , will that be any use without the flash?
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Old 07-10-2007, 19:33   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Portraits

Reflector will be more useful in stronger light. for instance, if you are shooting at mid-day, the model can hold it on his/her lap to lighten the shadows.

If you have a dull overcast day the lighting will be softer so the reflector has less light to reflect, and maybe not be needed.

You can also use you on-board flash to fill in.
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Old 08-10-2007, 11:34   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Portraits

I realise this is after the event but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dabhand16 View Post
If you have a dull overcast day the lighting will be softer so the reflector has less light to reflect, and maybe not be needed.
Even on an overcast day the lighting on the face can have quite a bit of contrast (the overcast light is not producing a great deal of ambient reflected light from the environment), hence the eye sockets can be quite dark relative to the rest of the face, so the reflector can be used to throw some useful light into these areas.

I would avoid fill-in flash if possible because it nearly always looks false (highlights on shiny skin, pin head highlights in eyes, usually unnatural looking shadows cast, and so on). A better use of the flash is actually as the main light used off camera or as an effect light.

Cheers

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Old 08-10-2007, 11:44   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Portraits

thats both, its not till this sunday coming, however I might not even have the reflector as I didnt realise this postal strike is a week long! Selfish ^&$%^*^^

Hope it gets here in time or itll have to be the bed sheet Les!
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Old 08-10-2007, 11:52   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Portraits

Next Sunday...no wonder I can't find any of the images here yet!! Just wasted five minutes looking for them in your gallery!

Another essential bit of kit to take is a roll of gaffer tape (the strong silver stuff about 50cmm wide). You might need to secure the reflector to a tree or something rather than have someone hold it (untrained helpers let their minds wander rather than concentrating on the job and also don't understand that the angle at which the reflector is held is important).
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Old 13-10-2007, 13:45   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Portraits

Have brought this thread to the top again in the hope that some one will have a look ! lol

Well thanks to royal mail none of my equipment i bought online last weekend has turned up so really disppointed and nervous that Im going to have these people wanting great pics and them turn out like family snaps
Anyway was thinking of making a reflector out of cardboard covered in tin foil?

will it work or be too harsh?

Going to have to manage without flash or thinking of covering the on board flash with tissue paper for the closer shots and having it on fill flash?

Any bodge it idea greatfully received as the shoots tomorrow
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Old 13-10-2007, 14:19   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Portraits

you can use a big bit of white card or paper as a reflector as well it doesnt have to be silver, the white will produce a softer light than the silver.
It may be the suppliers not the royal mail thats delaying as i posted something on wednesday and it arrived down south on Thursday morning.
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Old 13-10-2007, 14:21   #8 (permalink)
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Well, here's what I did a while back when I needed a reflector:

I bought a cheap umbrella and turned it "inside-out". Covered the top using spray paint (glossy white or chrome is what I used). This actually worked quite well as I got sort of a parabolic effect. Has to dry for a few hours, and can do with two coats but it was a cheap and simple solution when I needed it.

Used it with a 250W builders lamp pointed at the "reflector" down to the shot.
It's of course no substitue for real equipment, but in a pich works rather well.


Doesn't look very professional though, but then.. I don't shoot people so my subjects don't complain
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Old 13-10-2007, 14:35   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Portraits

It was psoted out on tuesday Fi, I got something yesterday that i know was posted monday so I suspect it will be Monday next week well I hope it is .

thanks for the tips guys
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Old 13-10-2007, 14:58   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Portraits

Forget the tin foil and stick to plain white card or a cheap white bed sheet, or several sheets taped together for a larger reflector if needed (told you the gaffer tape would be needed). Tin foil can create specular highlights especially on damp or oily skin (from natural perspiration).

If you do use tin foil you can make it less harsh by scrunching it up quite a lot first to make it very textured. This will produce a less harsh reflected light. But I still don't recommend it (use K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Stupid).

When reflecting daylight i.e. from a backlit subject, don't be afraid to have the reflectors positioned very close to the subject if needs be (rather like a large flash softbox would be). The distance of the reflector from the subject should be used to control exactly how you want the contrast to be, closer more light less contrast, further back less light more contrast.

Also, if your flash is on camera (YUK!) and can swivel sideways, why not punch the flash into a large white card as the main light thus making it into a softbox rather than direct to the subject. For example, if the flash head rotates 90 degrees away from the subject, say to your left side, and you have someone hold a large white card/sheet there at an angle to bounce the flash light back to the subject you will have a nice soft light. If the flash only points upward have someone hold a large card over your head at an angle to bounce the light forwards.

Little bits of tissue on the flash won't make for a flexible method.

To be honest, using flash might just complicate the session if you are not confident in using it. using the natural light will be easier and probably produce more success until you have more experience. Daylight and reflectors should do the job, together with interesting poses, camera angles, backgrounds (long lenses for very soft backgrounds), DoF, etc.

Think creatively and you will solve the problems you will face. 90% of being a pro photographer is solving visual/technical problems on the fly.

Good luck.

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Old 13-10-2007, 15:05   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Portraits

Quote:
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Doesn't look very professional though, but then.. I don't shoot people so my subjects don't complain
Lets face it, most non-photographers wouldn't know what was or was not professional gear. I have been advocating the use of cheap DIY tungsten flood lights for years for people that want a 'cheap to setup' studio kit. I myself use six cheapo tungstens from B&Q, 3x500w and 3x150w, for still-life and locations. It actually cost less for the full kit than it would for just one 'pro' lamp. Sure, maybe pro stuff can be more versatile with accessories etc (more expense) but with practice and knowledge (which I have plenty of) there isn't much you cannot do with the cheap lights. The only exception to this I really miss are tungsten focus spotlights which I stupidly sold some years back.

So, yes, good idea and a for cheap diy lights.

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Old 13-10-2007, 15:42   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Portraits

OK going to not use flash! as Im used to having to manage without it, mind you cant wait till all my goodies are delivered, hopefully next week, will be like xmas!

Ahem anyway back to tomorrow, white things *goes off hunting*
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Old 13-10-2007, 18:53   #13 (permalink)
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Don't forget if your outdoors you can make use of your surroundings, any light coloured walls/painted floors etc. that are not in shade will reflect the light aswell. It's a bit of a last resort as you don't get much control but it may help in a pinch.
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Old 13-10-2007, 20:20   #14 (permalink)
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Ive got a huge white board and made a smaller one for the model to hold if needed, backgrounds are a bit of an issue around here, but we will see if push comes to shove its off down the farm for sitting in a hay barn pmsl
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