Simple Two Light Portrait

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Michael A. Sewell
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This really is a very simple and quick portrait setup, giving quite a nice three dimensional feel to the image.

It’s basically a simple cross light setup, very simple and quick to set up. Frame left, I placed a large 4′ x 3′ softbox in an upright position and pretty much straight on to our client. It was attached to an Elinchrom ELB400 with EL adaptor, and firing at an output of 4.0

Frame right, and beyond our subject, I had another ELB400 with EL adaptor, firing through a 30x40cm stripbox with a honeycomb fitted, at an output of 4.0

Both softboxes were fairly close to the subject.

Both lights could be swapped for speedlights, if suitable modifiers and adaptors can be sought. Potentially, you may need to increase the ISO, or use a wider aperture to compensate.

I can't really think of anything else to add.

E-M1 mkII 1/125th sec ISO200 12-40mm f2.8 @f10
 
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Clint

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One light cross lighting with a reflector on the opposite side seems to be my common starting point anymore.

You didn't happen to use a 25mm lens for that portrait did you?
 
Joined
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Michael A. Sewell
One light cross lighting with a reflector on the opposite side seems to be my common starting point anymore.

You didn't happen to use a 25mm lens for that portrait did you?
Got to admit, Clint, One plus reflector is a pretty good favourite for me too. Reflectors are so under rated IMO.

The lens? It was the 12-40mm f2.8 at f10

Why?

Erm.....
Because I'm a lazy sod, and I love the lens anyway.
I have the 25mm f1.2, which is phenomenal, but I only reach for it if I definitely need something wider than f2.8
Don't tell anyone, but I'd quite happily have my 12-40mm welded to the body of my E-M1 mkII

Seriously!
 

TheMenWhoDrawSheeps

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Jun 15, 2016
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Michael, i always wonder, upon which criteria you pick your aperture value.
I follow your excellent technique and shooting style reports, and I see you tend to shoot at rather small apertures.
Sharpness? Well 12-40 has it's Peak performance at f5.6-f8, which starts dealing at f11.
Dof? We aren't at extreme macro so f8 should give more than enough dof to work from Portrait to landscape.
Cutting off ambient light? But you're also Cutting off working light, unless you have limitations with hss.
Habbit left from FF days?

Also i've heard some doing Portrait handheld focus stacking, and wonder if it could be replicated with Studio lights.

Thank you for your work.)
 
Joined
Sep 1, 2015
Messages
1,245
Location
Bootle, Cumbria, UK
Real Name
Michael A. Sewell
Michael, i always wonder, upon which criteria you pick your aperture value.
I follow your excellent technique and shooting style reports, and I see you tend to shoot at rather small apertures.
Sharpness? Well 12-40 has it's Peak performance at f5.6-f8, which starts dealing at f11.
Dof? We aren't at extreme macro so f8 should give more than enough dof to work from Portrait to landscape.
Cutting off ambient light? But you're also Cutting off working light, unless you have limitations with hss.
Habbit left from FF days?

Also i've heard some doing Portrait handheld focus stacking, and wonder if it could be replicated with Studio lights.

Thank you for your work.)
Honestly? I set the lights roughly with regards to power, estimate the aperture and chimp the test. Most times I'm either on the button, or close enough. Mainly because I'm doing it frequently enough to have a rough idea what I'll get from a head at a given power output, with a given modifier at a given distance.
Sometimes I want a specific "look" with regards to a depth of field, sometimes it's nothing more than a specific look with regards to lighting. If it's the depth of field, I'll trim the lights to match.
If it's a lighting look, or something else that needs to take precedence with the decision making, then the aperture is dialled to suit everything else.

I suppose it's similar to the triangle of exposure. If depth of field is paramount, shutter speed and ISO fight it out for second place etc.
 
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