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Photography Question 
Robert Park
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/21/2005
 

how to shoot portraits with indoor lighting


Hi. I want to shoot portraits indoors, but I found that its very difficult adjusting the lighting. Is it possible to capture a good portrait indoors without those special lighting equipments such as fill umbrellas? The only accesories I have is my flash on my camera and a fill reflector!

I want to achieve those soft colors without shooting with window light. thanks and any help is appreciated!


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8/31/2005 7:23:51 PM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Hi Robt;

Not sure why you want to avoid window light. For yrs, photographers have sought after and greatly desire the "north" light window approach, as it IS quite soft and appealing.
If you do not want to adjust lighting, nor want window light, can I assume you want to shoot with incandescent lights?

Some of the best portraits I have seen are done with window light and a diffusing material over the window. The fill reflector can be almost anything you desire..gold is a nice reflector for people...Try to maintain a 2:1 light ratio..Some photogs go as far as 3:1 unless you are after a theatrical effect.

I think your greatest obstacle, based on how you are shooting, is the on camera flash. Direct flash is generally not very complimentary to your subject and will result in "hard" light and strong shadows on the face.
What focal length are you shooting with?

Pete


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9/1/2005 9:19:43 PM

 
Robert Park
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/21/2005
  thanks pete for responding! its not that I dont want to use window lighting, its just that the windows are placed in difficult places. are the windows that do not get direct sunlight the best? I noticed that ones that get direct sunlight create shadows from the bars I have on the windows!

yes and you are right about camera flash being my greatest obstacle. I noticed that its very hard and very unappealing. I have a portrait mode on my sony dsc v1 digital camera so im gonig to use that.

i also tried using light from bulbs on the celing but found that unappealing also. I also used a nearby lamp but it still didnt produce a nice diffused lighting that I wanted.

i have a silver fill reflector, is that ok or should I buy a gold one?

sorry for asking so many questions! thanks for taking the time to read and respond! greatly appreciated!


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9/2/2005 12:14:34 AM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  I have not even come clost to mastering window light yet although I keep trying :::sigh::: but I would say the best option if you want/need to use a flash is to make sure your subjects are far enough away from your backdrop(background) and try to bounce our flash off the ceiling. .. or if you are shooting portrait and not landscape bounce the flash off of a white reflector board or wall . . . this will keep the flash from going directly onto your subjects. . .

The place I use has a huge north window but I can't seem to get my exposure right .. . I think I'm shooting too much towards the window . . . and need to move my subject more away from it. . .


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9/2/2005 4:43:30 AM

 
Liza M. Franco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/26/2004
  Try to difuse your flash by placing something over it. Depending on the type of flash there are different methods. You can put a piece of Scotch tape over the flash. If you do this I recommend folding each corner in for easy removal. Also make sure to use the foggy looking tape.

Another method would be to attach some type of tissue paper over the flash. A very experienced photographer once told me that his mother owned a hair parlor and he would use the small sheets of paper used for doing hair perms for his difuser. He said it worked great.

I'm not familiar with your camera, but if it has a flash that fits into a hotshoe, there is a special softbox made to fit right over your flash unit. I haven't tried it. I tend to be frugal and it doesn't seem like it would be hard to make.

These are all inexpensive experiments, give them a shot.


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9/2/2005 6:07:11 AM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  Hi Liza.. . I do have an accessory flash for my camera and have the omni bounce. . . I just don't think it's worth the money . . I have several who love theirs but it seems like mine is always too dark when I use it . .. I get so frustrated I just pitch it . . . it's supposed to be more even in the distribution of light but I have yet to really experience that . . . I just hate using flash so I avoid it any time I can therefore resulting in not much practice with it!


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9/2/2005 6:42:45 AM

 
Liza M. Franco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/26/2004
  Hi Michelle, I've never tried the omni bounce, but have heard others say the same thing. Have you seen the little soft box for the flash? It looks just like a soft box you would use on studio lighting, except it is miniature. It looks like a handy little gadget, but its more than I want to spend on something like that so I thought I'd try making one. Its on my list of things to do.


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9/2/2005 9:58:58 AM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  Okay I haven't seen those I guess. . . where do you find them??? and how much are we looking at because I have got to do something on this!


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9/2/2005 10:11:42 AM

 
Liza M. Franco
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/26/2004
  Mini Soft Box web address:
http://www.lumiquest.com/lq951.htm

While looking for that, I found something else that may be useful.

http://www.lumiquest.com/lq931.htm

And one more, this one is for pop up flashes:
http://www.lumiquest.com/softscreen.htm
the price for this one is $12.95


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9/2/2005 11:41:23 AM

 
Sissy Bean   I bought a plastic cover that fits over my 420E??? flash. I love it! It does not give the harsh flash. It was about 16.00, but very worth it to me. It looks like a plastic white box, that I thought would be about 6.00 tops! and you just place it to cover the flash. Never take it off. I bought it at a camera shop- Fort Worth Camera.


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9/2/2005 2:34:01 PM

 
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