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Portraiture

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by AdrianW, Jul 1, 2001.

  1. AdrianW

    AdrianW Well-Known Member

    OK, here's the problem.. I've been asked by a friend to take some portrait shots of her for a job application, my problem is that I'm more used to taking landscape and nature shots. I don't have a studio, and nor do I have any pro-lights - all I have is natural lighting, and the built-in flash on my EOS30.. Additional problem, she's requested print film since it's easy to get processed - I usually use Provia or Velvia, but I realise that they aren't the best films for this application anyway. I've warned her that the shots may not be as good as my landscape work, which she likes and is the reason I'm in this mess :)

    My thoughts for the solution.. Get a subtle warm-up filter, a large sheet of white card to use as a reflector and use the late afternoon sun as my light - postitioning the sun at 45 degrees to her face, and the reflector low down on the opposite side. Use Kodak Portra 160NC as my film. Lens choices are 100mm f2.8 USM macro, or 28-135 IS USM - I was thinking of using the macro..

    I've heard suggestions that I should place the sun *behind* the subject and use the built-in flash to "fill-in" - and I might try it for a couple of shots..

    What does everyone think? Please don't tell me my friendship is doomed ;-)
     
  2. Clive

    Clive Well-Known Member

    Hello Adrian. you'll probably get many differing ideas for this one, but I would use an indoor shot with white light (not sunlight) from a largish window lighting one side or 3/4 of the face, with a white or light gold coloured reflector filling in the facial shadows on the other side. A white sheet would work fine, or a light gold card from an art shop might be nice.

    The 160 Portra sounds fine, but my favourite would be 100 Fuji Reala. I would use the 100 f/2.8 at a fairly large aperture to throw the background out of focus, which in a room with one main window should be fairly dark anyway. But a tidy up to avoid clutter behind the subject would be a good idea. This would provide a softly lit portrait with good fill in the shadow areas and a nice diffuse darkish background. Focus on the eyes.

    If you have a soft focus filter I would try this for a few shots, which, for ladies can avoid the biting sharp details produced by modern lenses. If not, a breath on the lens can produce a nice degree of diffusion visible in the viewfinder. And experiment with angles and turns of the head etc to produce variation in the shots.

    Avoid direct sunlight like the plague, even if at an angle and with a reflector as the light is too harsh. Back sunlight with fill flash can produce nice results but beware of flare.

    Clive
     
  3. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    I would tend to go with Clive on this one Adrian. I think the sunlight idea might prove to be a bit too warm although it is a matter of personal taste.
    BigWill
     
  4. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Personally, I'd stick with the Portra film, a very good low-contrast film ideal for portraits. Since you will burn a roll anyway, why not take some indoors and some outdoors.

    For indoors, do as Clive suggests and use window light with a large white reflector on the other side - a sheet of white card or mountboard. Don't use the flash.

    For outdoors, shoot against a darkish background with the sun behind to light the hair and use the on-camera flash as a fill-in. Set the flash compensation to -1/-1.5 stops to give a natural look. You might have to use aperture priority or shutter priory to get fill flash to work properly (I'm not familiar with the EOS30 but this is the case with the EOS50E). Ideally, use aperture priority and a large aperture to throw the background out of focus but this may not work well depending on the max flash sync speed and the ambient light levels.

    I wouldn't bother with warm-up filters or even soft-focus filters. Most soft-focus filters are c**p and it takes ages to find a filter and aperture combination that gives a good effect. If you really want soft-focus, stretch some black tights across the lens - these work better than a Jessops soft-focus filter though you can't buy black tights from Jessops.

    Don't forget the lens hood and focus on the eyes.

    David
     
  5. Reading

    Reading Well-Known Member

    Re: Outdoor Portraiture

    Some examples if techniques posted to a discussion board recently:

    http://forums.consumerreview.com/crforum?viewall@203.j3lzayhshDT^18@.ee9dec0

    and

    http://forums.consumerreview.com/crforum?viewall@203.j3lzayhshDT^15@.ee9fbaa

    The lite panel seems to do a pretty good job.

    Hope this helps...
     
  6. Brian

    Brian Venerable Elder

    My God this portraiture thing sounds complicated, best not try it.

    Brian.
     
  7. AlanW

    AlanW Well-Known Member

    It's dead easy Brian, you just take a pocket full of pound coins to the nearest railway station or post office and go into one of those photo booths with a choice of backgrounds and a dodgy seat. <img src="/img/wwwthreads/smile.gif">
     
  8. AdrianW

    AdrianW Well-Known Member

    My thanks to all who have replied so far! Unfortunately due to a slight change in the weather, I've had to suggest that we re-schedule things.. I'll update you all when we get the results, and let you know how it went :) I'll still be checking back daily to see if anymore hints have appeared though!

    Incidentally I'm so glad Alan mentioned the photobooth option - the worst results I've had from one of those were so badly over-exposed that only my hair, the pupils of my eyes and my nostils were discernable from the background!
     
  9. SCT

    SCT Well-Known Member

    Dont wory about a photobooth. You know what they say.

    "If you look like the photo from one of those, you must be ill"

    Steve C Thompson <img src="/img/wwwthreads/smile.gif">
     
  10. linnet9

    linnet9 Well-Known Member

    Brian
    If you decide to try it I can let you have some spare black stockings. Funny how it is always the same leg that gets snagged. <img src="/img/wwwthreads/wink.gif"> (Think about it Will!!)

    Janice (Sorry I have no spare suspenders for I am sure they are part of a photographers batterie.)
     
  11. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    I'm always thinking about it Linnet9, That's my trouble!
    BigWill
     
  12. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    With a bit of ingenuity and a thin pole (a long cane will do), the attachment part of suspenders can be used to hold up a fabric background. So, if you've got some old suspenders, cut off the attachment 'legs', stitch them to form a loop to slide onto the cane.

    DIY David
     
  13. linnet9

    linnet9 Well-Known Member

    Re: Portraiture - the Return of the Dominatrix

    And what makes you think I might have a long thin cane???
     
  14. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Re: Portraiture - the Return of the Dominatrix

    In case BigWill misbehaves.......?

    David
     
  15. linnet9

    linnet9 Well-Known Member

    Re: Portraiture - the Return of the Dominatrix

    I didn't want to have to tell you this, David, But when you were away it was anarchy here. BrianT tried his best to calm them all down but it was almost impossible with Will rampaging. I just had to keep them behind after forum and well, the rest you don't need to know. Sorry <img src="/img/wwwthreads/frown.gif">
     
  16. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Re: Portraiture - the Return of the Dominatrix

    ...and even more to the point, what makes you think Janice might have suspenders!!!!!!
    Big(always wear tights meslf, they are so practical)Will
     
  17. David Stout

    David Stout Well-Known Member

    Re: Portraiture - the Return of the Dominatrix

    Thanks for doing the arduous task. I suppose you needed the stick because BigWill's got a Cane-On camera.

    David
     
  18. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Re: Portraiture - the Return of the Dominatrix

    Thank god you're back David, that Linnet9 was far too fond of the cane you know. She made me whip her with it three times a day!
    Big(kinky)Will
     
  19. linnet9

    linnet9 Well-Known Member

    Re: Portraiture - the Return of the Dominatrix

    <font color=red>To my study - NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!1 <img src="/img/wwwthreads/frown.gif"></font color=red>
    PS your cane or mine??
     
  20. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Re: Portraiture - the Return of the Dominatrix

    See what I mean David, I'm just her "whipping-boy"
    Big(ouch that hurts)Will
     

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