BetterPhoto.com - Become a better photographer today!
EMAIL:
PASSWORD:
remember me:     
     


Photography QnA: Studio, Still, & Personal Portraiture Photography

Browse by Category | All New Questions | All New Responses | Q&A Home

Category: All About Photography : Photographic Field Techniques : Studio, Still, & Personal Portraiture Photography

Read about techniques for personal portraiture photography, tricks for still photography and studio photography techniques here.

Page 1 : 1 -10 of 159 questions

  skip to page
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | >> ...16
Next 10  >>
     
 
Photography Question 
Tara R. Swartzendruber

member since: 3/28/2007
  1 .  Eye Wrinkles: Remove or Soften?
When taking photos of seniors and adults, do you take the eye wrinkles out in processing? Do you soften them? I'm wondering what people do or if you could share any techniques. Thanks!!

11/30/2009 8:11:31 AM

  Hi Tara...
I don't remove them entirely, but I certainly do soften them. I want the image to look believable and yet better, if that makes sense. There are many ways to soften wrinkles - from cloning to the healing brush, to layers and blurs. :-)

11/30/2009 11:15:38 AM

Linda Buchanan

member since: 4/26/2005
  I soften them some with the healing brush, or I use the the Nik Software skin softener at a low opacity. I don't remove them entirely. I usually brighten the eyes and whiten the teeth for senior citizens too, just a very little bit.

12/1/2009 9:35:18 AM

Nancy 

member since: 10/24/2005
  Hi! Tara,
My program allows me to, 1st. soft focus, 2nd. skin smoothing, 3rd. make-up tool, 4th. sometimes I use the clone tool too(before the make-up tool. This especially for shine on the skin. Also I use the digital camera noise removal. This always smooths out the skin.
Best, Nancy

12/15/2009 12:25:42 PM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Bobby R. Strange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/14/2006
  2 .  Outfit Changes...
Hi all. I was thinking about an upcoming senior shoot I have and it got me curious about how all of you on-location portrait photographers handle outfit changes. If you have a senior who wants multiple outfit changes and you're going to be shooting at multiple locations, where do they change? Or do you just limit them to 1 outfit?

11/21/2009 7:34:20 PM

Dennis Flanagan
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/31/2005
  Each situation is different. If it's a rural location, I afford the model some privacy if needed. To protect myself, I always insist on a parent being along for the shoot. You have to figure out want works best for your location.

11/21/2009 9:42:03 PM

  Hi Bobby,
I have backed up against a brick building next to another car and when you open your car door, you have created a door-curtain (blocking the view to the student on all sides) that will work in a pinch if a gas-station/restaurant bathroom is not close by. They can also wear tight fitting undergarment (spande shorts, sports bras, etc..) to prevent themselves from being exposed to the public if you are out in a park or the countryside.
Most Senior shooters I know including myself charge by the time and not by how many outfit changes they make. They just have to realize that the more time they spend changing, the less they have for actual shooting but we are usually talking about just a few minutes anyway.
Most portrait shooters are pretty flexible concerning the number of outfits as they want to make their customers happy and get the best shoot they can.
And I totally agree with Dennis - have the parent(s) with you for the shoot since they are also the ones usually paying for it (to keep the shoot moving along) but more importantly, to oversee the decisions & welfare of their child.
Have fun,
Carlton

11/23/2009 1:50:56 PM

Bobby R. Strange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/14/2006
  Thanks for the response, guys!

Yeah, I always have a parent/guardian present when I'm shooting anyone under 18. That, to me, is a no brainer, lol.

I'd never thought of the "door-curtain", but I do try to suggest locations near restaurants/gas stations/etc when possible. I also had never thought of the tight fitting undergarments.

I've never charged for outfit changes, but more for the time. Though I am bad about telling them it will be a 2 hour session but then going 3 hours just because I am having so much fun shooting, lol.

11/23/2009 2:32:45 PM

Sarah G

member since: 10/30/2007
  I suspect that if you found yourself in a spot where there was no place to change, a mother of a teenage daughter would kiss the ground you walk on if you pulled out one of these things for them to use. However, you probably won't want to go this far with the issue. There is such a thing as as a "Deluxe Mobile Changing Room."

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00068B7GW?&tag=shopwiki-us-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325

I've seen them too. They're good if you've got to have some place to change and there isn't any place. They are easy to set up and fairly compact and light to carry around. Never owned one though, so I don't know how well they'd hold up.

I've also done business with the company selling them on Amazon. They are prompt with orders. They have their own website -- http://www.discountdance.com/index.php

If you're interested, go there, type in "Deluxe Mobile Changing Room" on their search engine and you will find 6 reviews of the product.

11/23/2009 11:30:54 PM

Bobby R. Strange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/14/2006
  Wow, I didn't even know something like that existed, lol. Thanks, Sarah. That's definitely something to consider.

11/24/2009 12:40:13 AM

Wendy C. Goeckner
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/28/2006
  Because I drive separately, the senior usually does some quick changes in his/her car (with a parent driving, of course)! Often, the senior just has shirt/top changes, and the girls will wear a camisole underneath, so they just change outdoors, and the boys don't need privacy usually. I have also had parents bring a large blanket and surround the teen girl if she is changing into a dress. I do request a parent or other relative/friend attend the session.

11/24/2009 4:39:41 AM

Paul W. Anderson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/27/2006
  Hi Bobby,

You could stop at a gas station that has restrooms or a fast-food restaurant and have them change between locations. Or invest in some PVC pipe and connectors and build a portable dressing room.

Paul

11/24/2009 4:42:58 AM

Sarah G

member since: 10/30/2007
  Well, there are even more ways...two or maybe you just need one folded sheet(s) sewn together with a place for the head and loose enough to move around in. You can do a lot of changing wearing something like that. It doesn't necesarily need holes for arms. Make it a DARK COLORED sheet and it would not be see through.

Super large t-shirts work for someone not super large. Walmart men's section/craft stores and buy it in black.

Those two ways would be a really cheap and compact way to meet the Boy Scout motto of "Always be prepared" and could afford a little more privacy in a location without much.

11/24/2009 8:13:34 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Susan Wilkins
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/3/2006
  3 .  Studio On-Site Background Choice
I have agreed to shoot portraits at a hospital event for new mothers and their babies (0-12 months). I have white, taupe and black canvas backgrounds and red, blue, and white paper background. Does anyone have a suggestion for best background choice? Second question is for posing: Is there a quick sure-fire pose that would work well for moms and infants? I am taking studio lights - probably 2 rather than 3. Thanks!

10/19/2009 6:27:44 AM

  Hi Susan,
I like a mottled gray and then I can use a light on the gray to change the color or density. Given your choices, I would go with the taupe. I would also take the extra light - not only is it good for the background, it is just good to have back-up. You might want to look at this article on backgrounds:
www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=176.
In terms of posing: mother holding infant to chest is a classic. Used in Western art since there was Western art.
Good luck!

10/19/2009 5:47:09 PM

Susan Wilkins
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/3/2006
  Thanks for the info. I had narrowed down my choice to either white or taupe. Taupe is good. It really isn't any trouble to take 3 lights so I'll do that, also. This first event is expected to be small but will build as the plan to have one every quarter with approx 1600 women/babies invited. I'm sure I'll learn on a few and hope to be successful enough to be invited to each program. I am also allowed a vendor table free
of charge. Thanks again!

10/20/2009 11:24:25 AM

  Hi Susan,
Sounds like a great opportunity. Good Luck!
John Siskin

10/20/2009 12:16:14 PM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Robin E. Nichols

member since: 2/28/2008
  4 .  White Background
I have noticed portraits that have a solid white background and the person looks like they are popping off the page. Can you only do this if the background starts out white? Or is there a Photoshop trick? Has anyone done this before? Thanks.

12/12/2008 9:33:40 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
  Photos like that require oooodles of light, Robin. Of course, the subject needs to be lit well, but the white background needs to be lit a LOT more. The background must be at least 2 stops more than the subject to get it really white (and not grey).
Have fun!

12/12/2008 1:43:01 PM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  Robin,
High Key portraits (white background) is another subject, often touted as perfectly natural by the same print judges who scream about "contrived" looks to photographs. Some of the same judges adamantly claim that only subject clad in white -- the extremists also add only blonde subjects, not dark haired ones -- are the ONLY fitting subject for this technique. Some also assert that the background should be perfectly white and have no evidence of shadows whatsoever. In some print competitions where some judges perpetuate often erroneous misconceptions, that might be true. In real life, however, you can make a lot of backgrounds look very nice with lots of subjects. My personal preference is a white background that doesn't always go pure white but more mid tones. Colored gels on the background light also give a nice complimentary pastel look. Many photographers trying to achieve this look felt that if two stops (at least) are good -- more is better. The late legendary Dean Collins used a white background and made it white, black, or any other color he chose, simply by controlling the light hitting it. He was not only a master at doing it, he was a master at teaching it as well. About two f/stops is the key. Any color with two more stops of light than the subject will essentially be rendered white with detail. Two less stops, black with detail. Another half to one stop and no detail (in the background). Even lighting on the background is what makes it work, since the falloff of light varies in an inverse square proportion and in a short distance or amount of power it makes a huge difference. That's the lesson in a nutshell. Making it work may take lots of experimenting and practice. THERE IS ANOTHER OFTEN OVERLOOKED AND EXTREMELY IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION. Light bounces off all objects in varying degrees but particularly so from a white background. With subject too close to the background (or in a small studio), if the light is much more than two stops, will start to pick up what amounts to lens flare from the background -- noticeable on the subject. While much of portrait lighting is a "season to taste" type of thing (once the basics are understood), the general rule of thumb for backgrounds is one stop less than the light on the subject gives a pleasing but not distracting tone to the background. Set the same as the main light, it gives essentially the same tone as you see looking at it. By the time you reach two stops difference, there is still detail but not blown out. (Lighter or darker.) More than that usually only creates problems. Setting the power of your lights two stops brighter in a small space with white walls will likely also get you more light bouncing off the other walls and the ACTUAL light may well be a half to one stop more. Try it but watch for these things.
Bruce

12/16/2008 4:27:12 AM

Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member
imagismphotos.com

member since: 2/27/2003
  Robin,
Bruce's answer includes a lot of info, but it's all right on the money. High key lighting is not all that difficult, 'good' high key lighting is not easy and usually requires some experimentation in your given shooting environment. As Bruce correctly pointed out, one often made mistake is placing the subject too close to the background creating a 'halo' effect on the subject.
God Bless,
Greg

12/16/2008 5:22:55 AM

  I use white foam core or white Foamboard sheets, which are available from some arts and crafts stores to create starkly white backgrounds for some subjects. The price of the foam core depends upon the size and thickness needed.

My subjects are at least 6 feet from the background so that the shadow falls behind the subject and not onto the background.

Next, a least two to three lights are needed: One as a background light, one as a main light, and one as a fill, to fill in the shadows.

If the foam core sheets can be arranged into a three sided box, less lights will be needed because the light will bounce off the sides and light the subject.

This is not done with the in camera flash, because it's simply not powerful enough.

Also, while it can be photoshopped, everything is easier and faster if photographed correctly during the setup.

12/16/2008 9:04:46 AM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  Hi all,
A previously unmentioned tip for high key is another Dean Collins gem of wisdom, his "cove corner." Dean created a rounded white corner that, because of the way the light hit the rounded corner, would light up a white background with one simple light behind the subject. This would be similar to the three sided box that Bunny mentioned.
Bruce

12/16/2008 5:27:20 PM

Robin E. Nichols

member since: 2/28/2008
  Thanks for all your suggestions.

12/16/2008 7:29:13 PM

  If you are using studio lighting equipment (mine are White Lightnings), you can see the light on the subject to create the wanted or unwanted shadows. This preview of what is ahead is in the form of incadescent lights on each monolight.

To meter each monolight, a sync cord can placed attached to the monolight and the flash meter. Metering each individual light alone gives a better idea of what the three lights will do together.

One light, which is important, but I forgot to add, is the hair light which is placed above the hair (but out of the picture) on a boom. This highlights the hair, creating that lovely glow, and separates the hair from the background, except if the person's hair happens to be white (like mine). Then, another set of problems occur.

I've found the same principle can be used with my portable flash units and the box, or the circle Bruce had mentioned. It would be kind of like a lighting tent, except the white foam core is highly reflective, doesn't show if set up well, and gives the feeling of a totally white background.

Now all that is needed is the subject dressed in white, so that the only contrast be her skin tonality.

12/17/2008 6:58:11 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Bianca S. Newby

member since: 11/20/2008
  5 .  Shadow Problem: How to Position Lights?
I have two vuPro 100 w lights, and a miniboom/hairlight 250. I'm having problems with shadows and either not enough light or too much. How do I figure out how to position my lights, so that I get better photos with no shadows?

11/20/2008 12:43:06 PM

  Hi Bianca,
You might think about it this way: If you are outside on a right sunny day, the sun takes up a small part of the sky. You have hard detailed shadows and you see texture very well. The sun is a small light source. While I know that it is very large, the business of being 93,000,000 miles away makes it effectively a small light source. If you are out on an overcast day, the light comes from the clouds. The light comes from all directions. The light effectively creates no shadows at all. This is a big light source. The only reason for using things like umbrellas, soft boxes and light panels is to make a small light source act like a large light source. It is important to remember that you do need more power to make a large light source, as any of the tools for changing the size of light also absorb light. Bouncing light off a surface also increases the size of the light source.

11/20/2008 5:01:49 PM

Harry H. Marsh

member since: 4/14/2004
  Bianca,
Softening the light will help eliminate harsh shadows. Another two setups that will help remove background shadows entirely is to position the lights high above the camera (left and up 45 degrees, and several feet above the lens) and to move the background 3-6 feet behind the subjects. The subject's shadows will then be well below the area the camera views!
One more thing is to light the background, but this only works if you have the background light level 2 stops over the subjects (i.e., a bright background), which is not recommended for portraits.

11/25/2008 8:58:14 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Bianca. Let me add this to what's been said.
First, learning lighting, whether it's incandescent or using strobes, requires practice over time. Start with one light and one subject, either someone with a lot of patience or a styrofoam wig holder on a stool or even a manequin.
Position your camera and your light at 45 degrees to the camera and your subject. BUT make sure your subject is far enough in front of the background, whatever it is, so that shadow just falls off and doesn't fall on the background. Everything produces a shadow. Your job is to use it creatively, modify it or eliminate it.
To do those things, you may need to move your camera and light back from the subject. After you position one light, pay attention to the facial features of your subject, especially the eye sockets, nose and below the nose. You may need to raise or lower the light to eliminate or change those shadows. Move the light around a bit to see how that effects the shadows as well. Modifiers like softboxes or umbrellas are nice but may create their own problems as well. So this is an experimentation issue too. All the portraits on my website were done with a single light and one fill card to the side. My lamphead was a 1000 watt second Bowens monolight in a Chimera 3x4 foot softbox.
Once you get that first lamp set, with or without a modifier, then add either a fill card or reflector OR another lamphead of less intensity, say 1/2 power than your main, first light. Set a background light if you feel it's really necessary and that should be about 1/4 of the power of the main light. Those general settings can be modified of course, depending on what you're trying to do and how much light you really need. Lighting is really a matter of personal preference as are backgrounds, I think. But again, practice practice, experiment and practice some more. You'll get it in time.
Enjoy the learning process, and perhaps even consider one of John's lighting courses.
Take it light. ;>)

11/26/2008 5:15:03 PM

  Thanks Mark! As you say, practice is important!

11/26/2008 10:04:01 PM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Rachel Larson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/3/2005
  6 .  Combining Color Temperatures
I am going to be purchasing additional lighting. I currently have two soft boxes that are continuous, tungsten, 2800K. Would it be a problem if the new lighting is either 3200K, or 5600K? And what is the suggested white balance to shoot on?
Thanks for your time!

11/11/2008 5:59:03 PM

  Hi Rachel,
A 3200 light source would be visibly cooler than your soft boxes, but I can't tell you that the difference would bother you. If you were doing critical color work - such as photographing artwork - this difference would be unacceptable. A 5600 light source, like a strobe, would be a real problem for any usage that combined your soft boxes and the bluer light source. I would use a tungsten preset balance with your soft boxes, or do a custom white balance.
Thanks, John Siskin

11/11/2008 9:39:19 PM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Rachel,

The color of the output of lamps, especially photo lamps, is customarily measured using a temperature scale proposed by the British scientist Lord Kelvin. This scale has appeal as it starts at absolute zero, the coldest possible. Thus the Kelvin scale never used negative numbers. This avoids the possibility of confusing ten below with ten above. The Kelvin scale starts at 273 Celsius and calls this low temperature zero. For this reason the Kelvin scale is also called the Absolute scale.

Now the metallurgy industry took to this scale. Steel making was centered in Sheffield and they had great respect for Lord Kelvin. Anyway, heated iron glows red-hot. Continue to heat and its color changes eventually reaching blue-white hot. The temperature of the metal corresponds to the color of its light output. Ordinary electric lamps used metal filaments. The metal, usually tungsten, is heated as electric power surges through it. The filament temperature is what we are talking about.

Ordinary electric bulbs = 2800K
These are designed to operate at a specific voltage. In the U.S. this is 120V in Europe 220V. If you apply more than the design voltage the lamp gets much hotter, brighter, and more bluish however, the life of the lamp is severely shortened.

Photographers, in their studios and the movie industry, routinely over-volted to get more light. Two arrangements evolved one delivered 3200K the other 3400K. As higher voltage is applied the temperature goes up, the lamp gets brighter, its life shortens, the light shifts towards the blue. Soon lamps were made for both applications. Film was also marketed, labeled Tungsten Type B for 3200K and Tungsten Type A for 3400K. We carried a gadget bag of conversion filters so we could be ready for anything.

Electronic flash replicates daylight 5500K. Daylight is not constant; at dawn and sunset it is quite ruddy, close to ordinary electric bulbs. North skylight is 6000K. Modern digitals have automatic white balance, chip logic that measures and adjusts for shifting hues of light. Additionally you can manually set your digital for a specific type of light. Color temperature measurements fail for florescent lamps and most gaseous discharge lamps. However, temperatures are routinely assigned these lamps, often the value is invalid because these sources produce light that has an interpreted spectrum.

How about mixing and matching?
Photography is both an art and a science. You are free to mix for imaginative reasons. The logic in the digital camera cant handle and correct for mismatches. You should strive to keep your lighting uniform. Electronic flash is preferred for a variety of reasons; this is just one of them.

If you are forced to mix and match, you can buy colored filters for your lights. Filters are installed over the lamps to alter their color. This method has merit but is costly and requires some exterminating.

The bottom line is: Better to buy lamps that are uniform in color output.

Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)
alanmaxiemarcus@att.net

11/12/2008 8:38:21 AM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Rachel,

Mixing light sources is generally a no-no.

Manually balancing a camera will give you an average of ALL the tempertures.

The real problem that arises is positional. You may have your mains at 2,800K and the fill at 3,200. You will almost certainly see a color discrepency from shadow to light.

A 2,800K main and 5,600K fill would be very noticable.

Other than special effects, I know of no one who mixes color temp with their lights.

Pete

11/12/2008 3:07:40 PM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Mandy Kopitzke
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/12/2008
  7 .  Group Pictures
I have been asked to photograph a group of about 25 people at our church for an 80th birthday party. I am wondering if the camera and flash that I have will work. I have a Canon Rebel XT, Canon Speedlite 430ex, Canon EFS 18-55mm lens, and a Canon Zoom Lens EFS 55-250mm 1:4-5.6 IS. They were thinking about having me stand in the balcony with them in the pews looking up or something like that. Do you think I need a different lens or flash? Keep in mind, I'm just beginning with photography and don't have a lot of experience. Thank you.

10/7/2008 7:01:02 AM

  Hi Mandy,
The camera can do the job, the on-camera flash cant. Unless the church is extremely well lit, you would need at least two strobes with over 300 watt-seconds each from above and to the sides. There are a lot of things you can do if you have real strobe power, but not much you can do with the 430. Sorry.

10/7/2008 10:25:32 AM

Alan N. Marcus

member since: 3/4/2006
  Hi Mandy,
While your camera and lens will work for the indoor group picture, your flash will prove to be a little weak for this task. The strength of a flash falls rapidly with distance. Shooting from the balcony will help even out the light from the flash. Consider fiddling with groups location. The idea is to place them as close as possible to you; this might place them on the floor in front of the stage. Try both locations (on and off stage).
If closeness is not possible, use a slow shutter speed. A flash in combination with a slow shutter speed (1/30 - 1/60) gives better penetration in a large open room, especially if room lights are on. From a technical standpoint, you dont want to mix artificial light and electronic flash. However, sometimes you have no choice; so you take the shot and live with the color balance mismatch. If the shot is taken during daylight hours, the flash and the daylight likely commingle, thats good.
Try to place the subjects using three or even four rows to keep the row length short. Short rows allow you to work in close. Focus not on the center row, but on the next row closer to you. Depth-of-field extents further to the rear this technique results in all rows in focus. Again, flash does not carry for great distances so set the rows in a semicircular pattern. This causes the flash to be more even center-to- periphery.
Alan Marcus (marginal technical gobbledygook)

10/7/2008 10:58:14 AM

Bernard 

member since: 3/25/2005
  Hello Mandy,
Also a tripod will make a huge difference, especially when there's not much light.

10/7/2008 1:40:45 PM

Mandy Kopitzke
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/12/2008
  Thank you for all your input, I appreciate it!

10/7/2008 3:46:46 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
  If you can find a location OUTdoors, during daylight hours, to shoot down onto the group, then you won't need flash for the main lighting. The 430EX could still be useful as fill, though. Especially if the group have their backs to the sun.
Have fun!

10/8/2008 5:20:52 AM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/4/2005
  Why not go to the Church before the event (on your own) and do some "test shots" of vantage points - with and without tripod. Make good notes at the time, then check your pics afterwards. Once you know what will work you can relax on the day and "just do it".

10/14/2008 7:08:02 AM

Mandy Kopitzke
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/12/2008
  That's a good point, I'll probably do that. Thank you!

10/14/2008 7:34:45 AM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  Hi Mandy,
The additional discussion came up with some very good advice. All of the answers are correct...depending! There are many ways to do things and each photographer has a way that works for them. You can light up the whole area (as John suggested) or you can essentially take an available light image and balance the color and exposure with a little fill flash. The tripod is a must. Using a light meter or the camera to determine exposure, set the camera on manual and an f stop sufficient to get adequate depth of field if you have to pose them in rows. By having a smaller aperture and the shutter open longer, you will pick up ambient light in the church. Doing some test shots is also a great idea. Then you know what works. I have done this successfully with much larger groups. Going outside could be easier but in bright sun it could create harsh light and shadows that would be a disaster. Unless the lighting in the church is terrible -- and I suspect it is fairly even -- I would feel more comfortable doing the job indoors. The mismatch of light used to be more of a problem than it is now with digital. Go for it.
Bruce

10/14/2008 4:59:02 PM

Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member
imagismphotos.com

member since: 2/27/2003
  Mandy,
This doesn't seem that difficult an issue. Bruce is right on target. You definitely should use a tripod to minimize camera movement. Shoot in Manual Exposure Mode with your ISO set to 400 and your aperture set to f8 for adequate depth of field. Then simply select a shutter speed that will allow you to record the ambient, or existing light in the church. Remember that your shutter speed will not effect your flash exposure. ISO 400 will give you a substantial flash range.
God Bless,
Greg

10/14/2008 6:10:19 PM

Mandy Kopitzke
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/12/2008
  I've been researching and reasearching this, I get nervous that my pictures will turn out dark or have shadows. How does a light sphere work, would one be helpful in this situation?

10/23/2008 7:02:30 PM

  Hi Mandy,
A light sphere would not help you in this situation. It eats up some of the light from your strobe, and you do not have enough light as it is. Anything you put in front of or on top of your strobe will result in less light hitting the subject. What would help is a couple of 500 watt-second strobes. Check out www.alienbees.com. Good luck, John Siskin

10/23/2008 10:02:24 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
"I've been researching and reasearching this, I get nervous that my pictures will turn out dark or have shadows."

Take the gueswork out of the equation, Mandy. Do as Roy suggested: do a hands-on trial run! On location! Then you will KNOW if it'll work. Ahead of time.

Have fun!

10/24/2008 4:41:08 AM

Bruce A. Dart

member since: 1/7/2007
  Hi Mandy,
If you were to actually "light" the whole area you would need the kind of "firepower" that John suggested -- and that is certainly one approach. However, IF there is reasonable light in the church (and unless it is very large with very poor lighting that most churches do not have -- most are fairly well lit) then you can easily do an available light shot -- a tripod is A MUST -- using your small flash to soften shadows and balance some of the color. Unless you are going to invest in the equipment anyway, as well as spending time learning how to use it, you would be better off not going that route. The KEY here is to do an actual test ahead of time. Since you imply that this is your church, that should not be hard. If what you try does not work, then you absolutely know what you need from there to get the shot. Even if you adequately light the group, such as a fair sized wedding party in a big church, the background can go dark. You need a tripod and a slow shutter to pick up the ambient light. A rule of thumb in this case is to have the background one stop darker than the subjects. Having the background as light or brighter puts more attention on the background than the subjects. Darker than that is too dark. Earlier this week I just photographed a 20-member jazz band for our local university, both indoors on stage and outdoors. The indoor shots need a slight tweaking in photoshop but they are better than the outdoor ones where the shadows are too much. If you expect a little flash to light up a group this size on its own, it will NOT work. If you use the ambient light the job is easy.
Bruce

10/24/2008 5:36:53 PM

Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member
imagismphotos.com

member since: 2/27/2003
  Mandy,
I've shot many, many large groupings at weddings over the years and I assure you that the suggestions Bruce has made are right on the money, including his 'rule of thumb' about exposing the background one stop darker than the group. Just make sure you are shooting in Manual Exposure Mode so that your flash doesn't affect your ambient exposure settings. You will always get better quality of light from powerful studio strobes, but they are not essential. People understand that light produces shadows and as long as those shadows are not extremely harsh or obtrusive, they will not mind. People are much more concerned with good expression, posing, and backgrounds. Go do some test shots as suggested, using a tripod and see what works -- you don't need to do a test shot of a whole group, just one person will tell you whether you are getting a good exposure. Since you will be shooting in landscape orientation, your flash will be mounted directly above your lens which will greatly minimize shadows.

God Bless,
Greg

10/25/2008 7:19:40 AM

Mandy Kopitzke
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/12/2008
  Thank you, I'm going to try it out after church tomorrow, I'll let you know how it goes!

10/25/2008 7:58:54 AM

Mandy Kopitzke
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/12/2008
  I just wanted to let you know that I got the job done. They turned out OK, I haven't heard any complaints, so they must be ok with them. I would upload one, but my computer's hard drive went bad and is trying to get rivived right now. I hope they can fix it YIKES!

11/25/2008 12:34:24 PM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Shawn A. Meissner

member since: 5/6/2008
  8 .  Lighting Kits
I wanting to buy some lighting equipment and I am not sure what to get. I have been reading up and I am stuck between continuous lighting or strobe. I am looking to get into portrait photography and I need help. Here is the kit I was looking at but have second thoughts.
http://cart.owens-originals.com/VU-PRO-V-100-1200-WATT-MINI-BOOM-KIT-p/v100m.htm
Thanks,
Shawn

10/5/2008 7:03:47 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Greetings, Shawn. I'd recommend that you do a search for lighting and read the threads on the subject you're asking about. It's been discussed here about a million times. Then get back to us with some specific questions once you decide to go with one or the other. Posting some of your work would be nice as well.
M.

10/5/2008 7:22:14 PM

  Hi Shawn,
I highly recommend John Siskin's An Introduction to Photographic Lighting 4- week online course. I, like many others, bought light kits (before taking this course) that were unable to fulfill my lighting needs and now sit unused and taking up space. John's course will teach you what you will need to know to make informed decisions about your lighting requirements and provide you with lots of cheap ways of going about it and other tricks/experiences he will share with you. He provides a lot of information that go above and beyond the requirements for this course but are very much appreciated.
Carlton

10/5/2008 9:59:51 PM

Shawn A. Meissner

member since: 5/6/2008
  Carlton,

Thanks for the advice. I will be taking that course next. I am going to hold off buying any lighting until then.

Shawn

10/6/2008 8:32:15 PM

  Hi Shawn, and thanks Carlton!
Shawn continuous lights are easier to see, but they give you far fewer options than strobes. The kit you mentioned would teach you something, but you would want strobes pretty soon. Also it is important to note that these units run pretty hot. I hope to see you in my class! You can still sign up for the current class!
Thanks, John Siskin

10/7/2008 10:47:07 AM

Beth Verser
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/14/2007
  I have both and prefer strobe unless working with very small children often my strobes do not allow me to the speed I need to catch the one moment they are doing as you ask. Check out Owens Originals for ordering lights and other supplies their prices are wounderful.

10/10/2008 12:20:39 PM

Ahmadreza Panahi

member since: 4/27/2006
  Hi Shown
if you are going to shoot portraits, I highly recommend to use strobe lights because continuous lights make less amount of light and therefore slow shutter speed and subject movement or camera shaking or both. and if you use more lights, it makes a hot atmosphere that you and your subject could not bare.
yours: Ahmadreza Panahi

1/8/2009 11:25:23 PM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
  Good Day Shawn,

Again,
I will recommend a strool through the old "Studio Photography " Threads,
as you will see others trying out different Lights and overcoming thier challanges.
There is also alot there on Posing, getting expression and doing business.

Heres the link:

http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/QnAdetail.asp?threadID=17534

I do hope this helps,
Debby

1/14/2009 6:38:56 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Margot Petrowski
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/14/2004
  9 .  Litepanel Micro?
Has anyone out there used a Litepanel Micro attached to their camera for added light? I know that they are traditionally used on video cameras, but I thought that they might be good for portrait photographers.

9/30/2008 6:44:20 AM

Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/2/2004
  I was in Baltimore a few months ago on assignment for one of my publishers and ran into a photojournalist from Dallas also on the same assignment. He was using the Litepanel and when asked about the results, he was less than enthusiastic. According to him, it works well if you're shooting close and have plenty of ambient light, but the Litepro is better suited for video and not stills.
Ray

9/30/2008 6:57:07 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Rachel Larson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/3/2005
  10 .  Light for Backgrounds
I am looking to buy additional lighting. I currently own two (250 watt each) softboxes. I have upcoming portrait sessions, and I think I need more lights. What can I use to light the background? With beauty dishes, does a light come with them? Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks,
Rachel

9/15/2008 10:20:53 AM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/17/2005
  Actually, it appears you need a more powerful light as opposed to more lights. 750 Watt Seconds should do you for shooting portraits, then assign the 250 light you have (assuming they're strobes) to lighting the background (with one light) if you still need a background light. You can do a lot with a single light in a softbox.
Beauty dishes? I have no idea what that is other than perhaps a phrase for a soft/brushed aluminum wide reflector for portraits, and no, the ones that may be of real value to you aren't supplied with a light and power source. Monolights, like Bowen, PhotoFlex, Calumet Travelers, are quite good lights and my preference is Bowens. There are tons of manufacturers, but remember, you get what you pay for.
You can read a lot in the
BetterPhoto Forum. Photoflex and Bowens have very useful shooting info on their Web sites, and of course, John Siskin offers lighting courses here: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting and Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio.
Take it light.
Mark

9/15/2008 2:44:08 PM

  Hi Mark,
A beauty dish is a large reflector, about 24 inches across with a device that covers the strobe tube in the center, bouncing the light off the rest of the reflector. Basically it acts like a 24 inch round soft box or umbrella. I have one, got it in a weird trade deal. It is ok, but not going to make me rethink lighting. They are generally expensive. They fit on specific strobe heads, so they do not come with internal lights. Thanks for the plug!!

Rachel,
I am worried that the lights you refer to are continuous lights rather than strobes. Generally this sort of lighting is inferior for still photography. There are several reasons, including heat and subject movement. You might want to check out this article on shooting with a single light source: www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=129. As mark mentioned power and control are more important than the quantity of lights you own. Having said that I own a lot of strobes, but I do a variety of work.
Thanks, John

9/20/2008 6:20:06 PM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
  skip to page
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | >> ...16
Next 10  >>

Copyright 1996-2014 BetterPhoto.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved.