Some Family Portraits


McGregNi

Link Posted 22/09/2017 - 02:20
Its a rare occasion that I get the time, and patient enough models (!) to set up 3 lights in the traditional manner, but it sort of came together the other day, and I got a few where the effects of each light can be seen ....Main / Fill / Kicker.

The Main light is through a shoot-through white umbrella (from the subjects right), the fill light is into a white reflective umbrella just behind the camera and slightly off-centre, and the kicker has a Gary Fong Powersnoot attached to channel it just to the head, p[laced behind and to the subjects left.

Pentax K7 / D FA 28-105 / Cactus V6II / RF60 / RF60X / AF-540FGZII (+V6) .... 1/180th / F8 / ISO200


Thanks for your views, and any thoughts ... Nigel

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My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver

pschlute

Link Posted 22/09/2017 - 08:13
I like them all Nigel. What they really show is how to achieve "form" with a multi light setup. No flatness to these at all.

Appreciate your technical explanations as always
Peter



My Flickr page

Daronl

Link Posted 22/09/2017 - 09:42
Same, like them all and again your work exposes to me my lack of competence with flash lighting .

Regards
Daronl

MrB

Link Posted 22/09/2017 - 09:43
Great shots, Nigel, and particularly enjoyable are the expressions on the children's faces! Writing as an observer knowing nothing about the techniques of artificial lighting, I'm just wondering if the light on their left side is slightly harsh or is that intentional?

Cheers.
Philip

Dorset_Mike

Link Posted 22/09/2017 - 17:27
Really appreciate these examples to complement the comprehensive advice you always give us, Nigel.
Regards,
Mike

Every day's a holiday!

AlJones2402

Link Posted 22/09/2017 - 17:29
Lovely portraits.

McGregNi

Link Posted 23/09/2017 - 16:45
AlJones2402 wrote:
Lovely portraits.

Thanks, much appreciated!

Dorset_Mike wrote:
Really appreciate these examples to complement the comprehensive advice you always give us, Nigel.

You're welcome Mike, I hope it might encourage a few here to be a bit more adventurous and try a multi-light set-up ..... its a bit experimental and I don't always end up with exactly what I thought I would, but that's the lot of the amateur!

MrB wrote:
Great shots, Nigel, and particularly enjoyable are the expressions on the children's faces! .....
Philip

Thanks Philip, I managed to get a few laughs out of them in between the threats!

MrB wrote:
Writing as an observer knowing nothing about the techniques of artificial lighting, I'm just wondering if the light on their left side is slightly harsh or is that intentional?
Philip

Your observation is correct, that light is 'harsh' as its a small light source and relatively far away (1.5 meters approx.). I had originally intended it only to light up the hair and rim of the head from the back, but I was unable to position it far enough behind, and so it was also spilling onto the side of the faces. I actually rather liked the effect, as it seemed to give added depth and some sparkle, so I went with it. Peter (our pschlute) over at PF very astutely deducted that this was the reason why I termed the light a 'kicker', and indeed I did that instead of calling it a 'hair' or 'rim' light because of the way it was making that harder light over on the side of the faces.

I think whether we like it or not comes down to personal preference (I hope anyway!) .... however it does point up and illustrate very nicely the difference between soft and hard light sources, as you will see the soft umbrella effect on the subjects right side, and the hard snooted effect on the left.

Daronl wrote:
Same, like them all and again your work exposes to me my lack of competence with flash lighting .

Daron, thanks, and I hope you might be encouraged to try some flash with people sometime. Flash is one area where I do believe its better to get the technical aspects under control first, like learning how to get the things firing together, the triggering technologies and how to control the output..... and only then worry about the creative. If you can't control things exactly then creative work becomes very difficult I think. Certainly for me as an amateur, despite having everything technically under control, creative reults are still not always totally predictable and repeatable ... that's the gift of the Professional!

pschlute wrote:
I like them all Nigel. What they really show is how to achieve "form" with a multi light setup. No flatness to these at all.

Appreciate your technical explanations as always

Thanks Peter, I'm glad you found them interesting
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 23/09/2017 - 16:56

autumnlight

Link Posted 24/09/2017 - 15:40
The childrens portraits are adorable and the lighting is lovely on them all.
Kind regards Maria

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maria-Gray-photography/589310071158079?ref=hl

cardiffgareth

Link Posted 24/09/2017 - 21:39
Hey Nigel,
Gotta be frank and say these are not your usual high standard of portraits. They all seem to lack punch, appearing dull and you can see where it looks like you've used the burn tool or a brush in LR to darken the backdrop in, mainly evident in number 1 and 2 around the hair lines.

They all need further distance between the subject and background to avoid spill on the backdrop as I can see it's being lit. I used to put black card in my Garyfong at the rear of it so light was controlled and illuminated only where I wanted it, something if you're using it as a kicker behind the subject needs doing so the light is being channelled in the right direction.

The main light I think also needs dialling down to reduce the hot spot to the ladies face. I can see with the boys images that to try and control the spill you've moved the main softbox forward so it's not illuminating the backdrop but in doing so, it's caused a shadow along his (our) right hand side. Having more distance between the subject and backdrop would of stopped this happening and would of given a more even illumination
Gareth
Welsh Photographer

My outfit: K1 gripped - Pentax D FA 24-70mm - Sigma 70-200mm OS HSM - Pentax modified DA* 60-250mm f4 - Irix 15mm Firefly - Sigma 50-500mm - FA 50mm f1.4 - Tamron SP 90mm macro - Pentax AF 540 FGZ Ii

My Flickr
My PPG
My 500px

McGregNi

Link Posted 24/09/2017 - 23:17
Thanks Marie, I'm pleased you saw them

Ha! Gareth, it's good to see our high PU standards being vigorously enforced

I do value the frankness and feedback, and you have been very perceptive ..... you are right about the issue with space, that's my biggest hurdle at home for this sort of thing. I actually threw the black curtains over the sofa , and of course I had light spill onto it. The lack of space behind also meant that the third "kicker" light was difficult to keep off the front of the subjects, although as I said earluer I did rather like the effect mostly ..... I do see your point that it is distracting on my sons blue shirt, but I do like it on the faces.

The background was darkened with a levels adjustment layer, and I probably could have done a better job. But ultimately it's going to be better to get that physical separation, I see that ....just need to try and re-arrange the furniture and try a special backdrop instead of the curtain.

Watch this space, hopefully I'll find a solution soon and try some 3 light portraits again!
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 24/09/2017 - 23:36

richandfleur

Link Posted 25/09/2017 - 02:21
Doing well there Nigel, good stuff mate!

pschlute

Link Posted 25/09/2017 - 05:25
Stick one of these on your Christmas pressie list Nigel http://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/collapsible_backgrounds/lastolite_lb56gb_collapsib...

Saves re-arranging the curtains !

Trying to darken the background when the subject is a portrait is a nightmare, especially when the subject has dark hair. It is so easy to overdo it and you end up with the unreal look around the hair margin as Gareth mentioned.
I have had better success using the burn tool without a mask/selection tool. Use a soft brush, select shadows only, and set a very low number for the exposure slider when working on the margins...say 5-15 %. This method works best with dark background/light haired subject. The dodge tool (select highlights) works with a white background/dark haired subject.
Peter



My Flickr page
Last Edited by pschlute on 25/09/2017 - 05:45

stub

Link Posted 25/09/2017 - 11:00
Sorry Nigel im with Gareth. You have had better days. For me when I look at the catchlights they all seem to be at a central 3 oclock ish position. Lifting the light source a little would have given the shoulders more light. Hair light is far too strong for me. But with just basic shoot through umbrellas and a Gary Fong snoot these are acceptable results as umbrellas chuck light everywhere. A softbox would give you better light direction in a small space. Maybe my monitor is a bit dull but I actually thought the background was the best bit. Without wanting to be rude to your lovely models..
K-1Gripped K-1 ungripped K-5ii K7 Various lenses

Stuart..

McGregNi

Link Posted 25/09/2017 - 15:30
richandfleur wrote:
Doing well there Nigel, good stuff mate!

Thanks Richard! Hope you've found all the discussion and critique useful.

Thanks also Peter for the idea for a backdrop .... I'll check it out, Also those PhotoShop pointers are helpful, thanks.

Thanks also Stub, yes I should try a higher placement of the lights, at least the main one I guess. Also I'm sure you're right that a softbox would have been the better choice due to all the excess light spill from the shoot through umbrella. It was a new umbrella and I just wanted to use it really!

Well, I'm delighted that you liked my background at least
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 25/09/2017 - 15:31
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