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Spatulaboy photographs a pretty girl :-D

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by spatulaboy, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Ok I ripped off the title from Iconindustries' thread, sorry buddy. :wink: I do like his idea of presenting a set for review and critique so here's mine.

    I'm pretty new at doing 'proper' portraits so I wanted to focus on this area for the new year. Right now I'm doing mostly outdoor environmental portraits, since I don't have any studio experience or equipment for studio style portraits. Honestly though I was always fond of naturally lid portraits but eventually I wouldn't mind dabbling in some studio stuff.

    Anyways, here is JennaLeigh. She's new at modeling but is a definite natural, we had a lot of fun last weekend doing this shoot and I've definitely learned a lot. But still lots more to learn. I think the thing I had the most difficulty with was proper lighting. I know there are a lot of you with much experience in this field so some advice is greatly appreciated!

    All shot with manual focus Minolta lenses. Mostly the 50mm MD/1.4 with a couple MC Rokkor 58mm/1.4 and even the MD 135mm/2.8 thrown in there.

    1
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6894505389/" title="P1220016b by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 6894505389_cda5f310fc_b. "1024" height="765" alt="P1220016b"></a>

    2
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6894494665/" title="P1220041b by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 6894494665_bdc99e6dd8_b. "768" height="1024" alt="P1220041b"></a>

    3
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6894507359/" title="P1220298b by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 6894507359_f9473ab24a_b. "1024" height="768" alt="P1220298b"></a>

    4
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6894493075/" title="P1210974b by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 6894493075_a9ca6c9f20_b. "768" height="1024" alt="P1210974b"></a>

    5
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6894498729/" title="P1220129b by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 6894498729_238bfea831_b. "1024" height="768" alt="P1220129b"></a>

    6
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6894509519/" title="P1220319b by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 6894509519_ce015bdb39_b. "1024" height="768" alt="P1220319b"></a>

    7
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6894511173/" title="P1220332b by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 6894511173_90dd81906c_b. "768" height="1024" alt="P1220332b"></a>

    8
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6894640105/" title="P1220134 by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 6894640105_e8b9b2650f_b. "768" height="1024" alt="P1220134"></a>

    9
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6898494589/" title="P1220058b by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 6898494589_6e5fdca974_b. "767" height="1024" alt="P1220058b"></a>

    10
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6899060483/" title="P1220262b by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 6899060483_5da849f2e8_b. "1024" height="768" alt="P1220262b"></a>

    11
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6894520853/" title="P1220409 by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 6894520853_9ce66a5fc2_b. "1024" height="768" alt="P1220409"></a>

    12
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6894511827/" title="P1220384b by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 6894511827_a764d56bfc_b. "762" height="1024" alt="P1220384b"></a>

    13
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6894543833/" title="P1220184 by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 6894543833_c3c8456bc3_b. "768" height="1024" alt="P1220184"></a>
     
    • Like Like x 8
  2. Jermonic

    Jermonic Mu-43 Veteran

    228
    Jan 14, 2012
    Denmark
    What a pretty girl. Love the smile. :)

    Inbetween there are a few shots with inadequate lighting, and most of the sunglass-images don't really settle with me (12 being the exception). But 1, 2, 10, 12 and 13 works really good for me. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. David

    David Mu-43 Veteran

    303
    Jun 22, 2011
    Sydney
    lovely photos. she has the special charisma about her.
     
  4. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Stunning ..

    Absolutely beautiful and stunning ... I like all of them but number 9 is my fav where I can look into her eyes. She is very pretty and natural.
    Congrats
    Bhupinder
     
  5. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Man, girls are so much prettier than guys. Many nice images, seems those legacy lenses are working out for you.

    Gary
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    A reflector and/or off-camera flash (like Lumopro 160 with a set of triggers) are the secret to making portraits pop; controlling the light is key. Great set overall, besides that my main critique would be to expose for the highlights. You can always dial up the exposure in certain areas to bring out the shadows, but once you blow your highlights, they're gone forever. That is why controlling light helps so much; you can light your shadows so that your scene will have a lower dynamic range, which your camera can then capture. The blown highlights in 6 and 9 for example, give your photos a "digital-ness" instead of looking natural.

    Lens-wise, the bokeh of images 3, 9, and 10 is rather distracting. The specular highlights are soft in the middle but are hard-edged, which is the opposite of what is classically considered "good" bokeh.
     
  7. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Good assessment shnitz.
     
  8. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Thank you so much guys! Shnitz you are awesome. I will definitely keep your advice in mind on my next outing. This is the kind of critique I was hoping to get. Jermonic I wasn't too thrilled with the sunglasses thing either, but it was her idea. lol.
    I come from a fine arts background so I think I have composition figured out pretty well. It's the technical aspects of photography I'm trying to get a hang of. I knew lighting is crucial and like I admitted, it was what I had difficulty with. Especially tough on a sunny day such as that day.

    Once again thanks everyone for the kind words, and if anyone else have any advice please share them. Like I said, I was an art major so I'm used to criticism lol.
     
  9. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Hey no worries mate. When I saw the title it made me smile.
    Good for you, I really like these pictures because she carries across an easy casual feeling. I've seen other people and they are so uptight and rigid it's hard to look at them. This girl as you pointed out, is a natural.

    It's fun isn't it? I'm really itching to find more people to take photos of. I might put a sign out the front "I'll take a photos of you for free":smile:

    These 2 pictures are superb. You did and awesome job here with post processing and getting to what looks like the 'afternoon sun' to work in your favour.



    I love the innocence and cuteness of this one. She's very comfortable with you to be able to run carefree and this shows the inner child in her. Nice work.

     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Forgot to ask about this. Is there a way to prevent this type of bokeh from showing up or is that just the nature of the lenses?
     
  11. addieleman

    addieleman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 5, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Ad
    This bokeh thing is a property of the lens. It can vary considerably across the aperture range, so it's wise to experiment a bit. Some lenses are nice wide-open and not so when closed down and the reverse may be true as well. Moreover, nice smooth backgrounds sometimes are accompanied by ugly foreground features and vice versa, well visible in your last shot. I'm afraid the Minolta 50/1.4 isn't the best lens for nice bokeh, noticed that myself too. Don't be tempted into buying expensive lenses like the Minolta 58/1.2 with a chance to be disappointed after all, sometimes very cheap lenses can be just up to your taste in this respect.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Thanks addieleman. I don't think I shot any wide open, but a few were close at f2. I figured it was just the property of the lenses, I suppose I did the best I could. I really wanted that subject isolation, so I picked larger apertures. Does anyone know if an ND filter would help in this situation? Not sure if ND filters affect the appearance of bokeh or not.
     
  13. Great series of pics. Very creative and there is a great connection with your model. I tend to agree on the point raised about the bokeh. To an extent you are at the mercy of your lenses, but the effect can be minimised by choosing your backgrounds carefully and finding the sweet spot in your lenses.

    Just as an aside, it's interesting the difference the sunglasses make to the engagement between the model and the viewer. A disconnect seems to occur as soon as the eyes are covered up.

    An ND filter will assist if you are overexposing when using larger apertures, but it won't alter the appearance of the bokeh for a given aperture.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  14. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Thanks Nic. I might play around with an ND filter anyway, could help with the blown highlights.

    We are probably going to do another shoot sometime next week. Let's see if I learned anything. lol
     
  15. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    An ND filter won't do anything for the blown highlights. It will decrease the brightness of the overexposed areas, yes, but it will decrease the brightness of the shadow areas by the same amount. What fixes blown highlights is not overexposing your image :) On our G2's custom menu (the C-wrench, third one down on the left side), there is an option called "HIGHLIGHT." Switch it to on, and whenever you preview a photo that you took, any blown areas will flash in black and white. If you have large areas of this, then reshoot the photo. A blown pixel here or there won't hurt anything, however. For example, if there's a cloud in your photo, and 5% of it is flashing, then most of the cloud has detail, and you're still OK, since the blown areas likely won't be obvious in the final image.

    The only way to really take care of blown highlights while preserving shadow exposure is to compress the dynamic range of your image (in general, take care of blown highlights by adjusting the exposure). Do this by either using lighting to brighten up the shadows, or shoot in more even lighting (i.e. not direct sunlight) so that there isn't such a high range between the black and white points.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    989
    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    An ND filter won't do anything for the blown highlights. It will decrease the brightness of the overexposed areas, yes, but it will decrease the brightness of the shadow areas by the same amount. What fixes blown highlights is not overexposing your image :) On our G2's custom menu (the C-wrench, third one down on the left side), there is an option called "HIGHLIGHT." Switch it to on, and whenever you preview a photo that you took, any blown areas will flash in black and white. If you have large areas of this, then reshoot the photo. A blown pixel here or there won't hurt anything, however. For example, if there's a cloud in your photo, and 5% of it is flashing, then most of the cloud has detail, and you're still OK, since the blown areas likely won't be obvious in the final image.

    The only way to really take care of blown highlights while preserving shadow exposure is to compress the dynamic range of your image (in general, take care of blown highlights by adjusting the exposure). Do this by either using lighting to brighten up the shadows, or shoot in more even lighting (i.e. not direct sunlight) so that there isn't such a high range between the black and white points.
     
  17. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Hey Shnitz you're stuttering. (While everything you stated is true ... I think once is enough - lol.)

    Gary

    PS- You forgot to mention HDR. (expose for the highlights ... expose for the shadows and combine the files)
    G
     
  18. ...unless for the chosen aperture and ISO the camera has reached it's minimum shutter speed limit and can't reduce the exposure any further. An ND filter's only real purpose in this scenario is to allow larger apertures to be used in brighter conditions without overexposing due to shutter speed limits.
     
  19. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Chrome
    The composition of #1 is exceptional. -Chrome
     
  20. Crdome

    Crdome Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 11, 2011
    West Central Indiana
    Chrome
    Thanks for the informative HIGHLIGHT tip.

    -Chrome