Lighting and Portraits

I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, photographically speaking. I really have had a hard time seeing anything interesting to capture. But, since I did get a light meter a few weeks ago I wanted to practice with it. Stella has been very cooperative lately so she’s been my main subject. I did manage to get a few pictures of the other girls, but they were a bit more on the “hostile model” side.

The first photo is Stella in front of a backdrop in the basement. The main light is a Canon 430EX strobe shooting into a bounce umbrella. The background light is a Vivitar 285HV shooting directly into the background, but angled down to get the differential exposure that I wanted around Stella’s head. Since the flash unit is on the ground, the bottom is brighter than the top. I’m not sure how I like that effect, but it’s not a bad picture. I’m trying to remember to pose, get the hands occupied, watch the height of the light so the catch lights line up correctly, etc.

The second picture was taken outside, in the shade. I wanted to try lighting from behind to get a bit of a rim light on Stella’s hair, and use a reflector to provide the main light. So, the setup was a snooted Canon 430EX shooting behind Stella and into a silver reflector. The reflector was angled to provide the main light source.

I think that it worked okay, but only okay. It seems a bit flat to me. I may have to play with it some more. A major flaw here (in my opinion) is the lack of distinctive catch lights in her eyes. There is a bit of reflection, but just not enough for my taste.

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  1. Well done!

  2. When you photograph your own children, so many things run through your head. They love to cooperate but only to a point and staying still is not their forte. You also tend to be your own worst critic, more so with any other form of photography.

    I did learn a trick for combating flat light: use the black side of a reflector and it will throw shadow onto a face.

    I think these both turned out beautifully but the expressions are so different, its almost as if they are two different girls.

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