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


BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

To participate in the Forum, become a BetterPhoto member or Sign In.

 
Photography Question 
Kim Huston
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/27/2007
 

Portrait Backgrounds


Hello,
I've just started doing portraits and I'm having trouble getting my background to look right. I'm using muslins. And I've read where they are supposed to be wrinkled, but mine just looks horrible. If I get too low on my f-stop, then the nose is about the only thing in focus. If go up at all, you can see the wrinkles ... I set the subject 5-6 feet away from the muslin, and I'm using strobe lights (Interfit 200w). Thanks for your help ... I would really appreciate it!

9/1/2007 9:35:49 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
4-Week Short Course: Getting Started in Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
  Hi Kim,
Just a couple of thoughts about your backgrounds., First, when I get a new background, I generally iron it once and then keep it rolled to make a smoother look. The two things you have tried also help - lower aperture and greater distance between subject and background. But I notice that the light in your shots is rather hard, as if it was made by a smaller light source. This shows up in the face as stronger shadows and quicker transitions between highlight and shadow. You might want to try a very large umbrella, like a 60-inch, or using a light panel of about 4X6 feet. You might like the light on the faces better, as well as the light on the background!
Thanks, John Siskin

9/2/2007 2:54:53 PM

 
Kim Huston
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/27/2007
 
 
  Working on the background
Working on the background
aperture 5.6, shutter 125, lens 70mm,
© Kim Huston
Nikon D80 Digital ...
 
 
Hi John,
I have two lights... one softbox and one umbrella. I'm not sure exactly how big it is.. but I don't think it's quite 60 inches.. Should I move my lights closer and bring them down in power?
I had a response sent directly to my email from a gentleman and attempted to do what he suggested with where to place my lights... overall, I think it's an improvement... but the person sitting is out of focus... and the background is good one left, and the wrinkles are still pretty clear on the right... I tried moving my light more to the side of the subjects.. so it did not reflect so much on the background... and it didn't really do much different... if you get a chance.. take a look and see what you think...
Thanks for you response!
Kim H

9/2/2007 8:45:29 PM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
4-Week Short Course: Getting Started in Commercial Photography
4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Lighting on Location and in the Studio
  Hi Kim,
Also, a large light source, close to the subject, is more forgiving and flattering. The background might still be better if you ironed it. I have also washed backgrounds, which doesn’t always work, and hung them to dry with a pvc pipe stretching them to prevent wrinkles. Regarding focus you want to focus at the front subject or in between, never at the back subject. There is less depth of field in front of your focus point than behind it. You might want to look at a couple of articles I have here at BetterPhoto:
www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=176
www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=156
www.betterphoto.com/article.asp?id=129
Thanks! John Siskin

9/2/2007 9:09:30 PM

 

To participate in the Forum, become a BetterPhoto member or Sign In.
 

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