Posts Tagged ‘ portraiture ’

Hard light portraits

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I’ve been thinking about some Yousuf Karsh pictures lately. He has amazing portraits done with hard light. I know that we’re “supposed” to use soft light, but I think that some hard light portraits might be a nice change.

In order to kind of dip my feet in the hard light water, we quickly got some pictures of Norah. This was taken outside on a partly cloudy day. The sun was moving in and out of the clouds, and judging by the shadows in the picture, it was probably overcast when the picture was taken. I used a small speed light on a light stand, camera right, as my main light. If I remember correctly it was set for 1/4 power. I shot at f/5.6 @ 1/100 sec.

Aesthetically, I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. You can see the hard line of the shadows under Norah’s arms and on her legs. I’d say the she could be sharper, but she was very antsy, so I was lucky to get what I got.

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Turning around, we decided to put Norah on our wooden bench. The light is now camera left, and behind Norah. You can just see a bit of rim light on her right side. It’s a bit of a deviation from what I had originally set out to do, but not too bad. I wish that I had thought to bring another light with me in order to get a catch light.

Overall not too bad. I’ll have to try some more standard portrait work with the hard lights and see what I can do with that.

Weekend Favorite

This is, without a doubt, my favorite picture from this weekend. I’ve been trying to get a satisfying picture of that piano for quite some time. Turns out I had to put a little girl in front of it. Go figure.

A bit unusual for me lately, but no strobes used. It was a bit later in the afternoon so the sun was giving us the nice long shadows. I used a diffuser to soften the light on Stella.

Another one I like of Norah:

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Portrait Mood


Sarah and Norah

I’ve definitely been in a portrait mood lately. Sarah and Norah were kind enough to pose for several frames. This is probably my favorite, but there are a couple of “out-takes” that I find funny as well.

 
Norah whacking Mom                         Lucy wanders into view

The portraiture work has been both rewarding and difficult. I think my viewfinder awareness is getting better. I’m becoming more adept at posing too. I think the practice is helping. Also, using the light meter has been fantastic. Maybe several facets are simply “clicking” at the same time, but it seems that using the light meter has really enabled me to think about what each element will look like, and more importantly, what I want each element to look like.

In fact, I wanted to revisit using the pink background. The first time I used it (for Lucy’s birthday pictures) the colors seem to have an almost orange tint. So, I decided to add some light to the background and make the pink “pink-er” whilst photographing Norah.


Norah looking cute.

I’m very pleased with the background color. Just what I wanted. I think that had I moved the flags in closer I’d have at least mitigated the shadow line, if not mostly eliminated it.

Making progress.

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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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Stella Red Riding Hood

Stella Red Riding Hood
Stella Red Riding Hood

A few weeks ago I picked up a new enlarger found on Craig’s list. While I was picking it up, the person that I was buying it from asked if I wanted a hand painted muslin backdrop. She had made this as part of her master degree program. I got it for a song of $20. I’m sure that the girls and I will have a bunch of fun with it.

Now if I could just get them to cooperate with me….

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