Forums > Critique > Serious Critique > Lighting gear for Christmas, impromptu test shot

Photographer

chasecaleb

Posts: 154

Kansas City, Missouri, US

I finally get to explore the world of off-camera flash photography, and I would appreciate some critique on my first attempt. I usually shoot on film, but I used my Canon Rebel XT to experiment with easier. As a side note, this was taken in my basement at midnight after convincing my sister to let me test out my new flash trigger set. Locations were uh, limited!

Settings were 200 ISO, 43 mm (kit lens, 18-55 mm), f/5.6, 1/200th. Soligor 32-A flash was on manual shot into a DIY softbox around 4 feet away -- Walmart styrofoam cooler lined with crumpled aluminum foil and a piece of fluorescent light cover for diffusion.

Edit: photo was stretching the page, so go here http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/31076104 . Huge thanks to my sister for posing.

Dec 24 12 11:59 pm Link

Photographer

LA StarShooter

Posts: 1871

Los Angeles, California, US

Merry Xmas. A good test. Looks good. I use three light setups, with modifiers made for speedlights, such as mini-softboxes.

Dec 25 12 12:12 am Link

Photographer

AndyAtModelMayhem

Posts: 47

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Michigan, US

Looks fine. Nothing to worry about really. Just practice, practice, practice to refine it a bit.

Dec 25 12 12:14 am Link

Photographer

David Kirk

Posts: 4502

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Good job!

I recommend experimenting with raising the main light.

Dec 25 12 08:28 am Link

Photographer

Lee_Photography

Posts: 8841

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/121224/23/50d954c5b9e6f_m.jpg
Bring the light in as close as you can so it is just out of the frame, use the 55 mm setting on your lens [55 X 1.6 = 88 mm effective] which is generally a better portrait setting as it distorts the face less.
You could also use a piece of white foam core or such to fill in the shadows
As to the pose, better to have the model looking where her noise is pointed so you are not blasting the camera with the whites of her eyes

Over all it is a nice first shoot with triggers

Merry Christmas

Dec 25 12 08:29 am Link

Photographer

chasecaleb

Posts: 154

Kansas City, Missouri, US

Thanks LA StarShooter and Andy!

David Kirk wrote:
Good job!

I recommend experimenting with raising the main light.

I was thinking about that, but didn't have enough time to experiment. Thanks! What angle would you have held it for a shot like this?

Lee_Photography wrote:
Bring the light in as close as you can so it is just out of the frame, use the 55 mm setting on your lens [55 X 1.6 = 88 mm effective] which is generally a better portrait setting as it distorts the face less.
You could also use a piece of white foam core or such to fill in the shadows
As to the pose, better to have the model looking where her noise is pointed so you are not blasting the camera with the whites of her eyes

Over all it is a nice first shoot with triggers

Merry Christmas

So you essentially get the light as close as is possible? Is that because you're looking for a bigger apparent light, or faster fall off?

Agreed on the focal length, I was being lazy. Thanks for pointing it out That was around 50 mm equivalent though, isn't that decent? I've taken some good head shots with a 50 mm prime on a 35 mm camera.

I actually have a piece as a reflector, it's on my list of things to try big_smile

The direction of eyes definitely registered subconsciously, but it didn't quite hit the conscious level. The "looking where her nose is pointed," part is a really good way of putting it, thanks.

Thank you for the feedback so far everyone! Really interested in some expansion on the comments about holding the light higher and closer.

Dec 25 12 09:11 am Link

Photographer

David Kirk

Posts: 4502

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

chasecaleb wrote:
Thanks LA StarShooter and Andy!


I was thinking about that, but didn't have enough time to experiment. Thanks! What angle would you have held it for a shot like this?

There is no magic answer for the angle, but I generally prefer the main light to be angled down toward the subject.  I would start with a 45 degree downward angle and experiment from there.  There are times when you may want the light at the height/angle you have it in this shot...it just depends on what sort of shadows you're after and where you want them to fall.

I am also not a believer in shooting portraits only at long focal lengths.  Longer focal lengths happen to be my personal preference, but I admire work from many other photographers who create incredible portraits using much shorter focal lengths than I typically select.

This is a great first attempt...now play around and observe the effects your experiments have on the resulting image so that you can create that effect whenever you wish in the future.

Dec 25 12 09:30 am Link

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Photographer

CHAD ALAN

Posts: 3809

Los Angeles, California, US

That's a really good first attempt! A good shot period. +1 that the light could have been positioned a little higher.

Dec 25 12 01:36 pm Link

Photographer

Lee_Photography

Posts: 8841

Minneapolis, Minnesota, US

The closer the light is the larger the light source will be and the softer, plus you’ll get some huge catch lights in the models eyes.

Dec 25 12 03:16 pm Link