Olympus UK E-System User Group
Olympus UK E-System User Group

Join our unique resource for Olympus Four Thirds E-System DSLR and Pen and OM-D Micro Four Thirds photographers. Show your images via our free e-group photo gallery. Please read the e-group.uk.net forum terms and conditions before posting for the first time. Above all, welcome!


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Looking for improvement This is the e-group critique board. If you post a picture here it will be assumed that you are looking for comprehensive technical feedback - both good and bad, but always respectful. Only post pictures here if you can deal with potentially negative constructive criticism. Anyone is qualified to comment and post feedback, and everyone is encouraged to do so. NB: "Looking for Improvement" is the place to post any pictures you would like advice on improving, no matter how bad you might think they are.

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  #16  
Old 14th June 2012
bilbo bilbo is offline
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Re: Tips for portraits

Yes.

Iron the sheet if you use it

A dark sheet will be preferable in your case, I feel.

Large aperture, (i.e. small f number), to achieve shallow depth of field. You should focus on the eyes of your subjects, but obviously if both parents eyes aren't in the same focal plane, only one set of eyes will be in focus - so you have to be careful with the posing. Good luck - it's not easy! I'm already looking forward to seeing the results on here.
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  #17  
Old 14th June 2012
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Loup Garou Loup Garou is offline
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Re: Tips for portraits

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidslateinlife View Post
Are you aiming to achieve head shots, head and shoulder shot's or full length shot's. This will change the impact of the backround.
All of them. As mentioned before, they are in their 80s and these pictures are for posterity. I am very close to my in-laws - in some ways more than my wife/their daughter is. Never knew my own parents and so they treated me more like a son than a son-in-law.

I took on board all the points you mentioned, thanks. Will make sure the background is as smooth as possible and place them 3 feet or so in front (best I can do) and use f/1.8 or f/2. The subjects will be co-coperative and will not mind repeated takes. I'll experiment first and so will have the opportunity to retake a few times.
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  #18  
Old 17th June 2012
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Loup Garou Loup Garou is offline
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Re: Tips for portraits

This Sunday afternoon did not go as planned for my efforts at portraits of my in-laws. We had guests and my mother-in-law had to go out with them afterwards. I did manage to corner my father-in-law for a few photos and this is probably my best effort. Since he is 90 and rather bent with arthritis, posing was difficult and with my limited set space available, I could not get a proper head & shoulders shot.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/25941505@N04/7387460228/

For background, I hung a dark blue bedsheet over an old slide projector screen and placed a high breakfast chair about 4 feet in front of it. I set the camera to Aperture Priority and opened the 45mm lens to full f/1.8. The FL-600R was at A-TTL with the flashead at a 45-degree angle and covered by a cloth diffuser. I changed the metering to Centre-Weighted and shot at ISO-200 in the Large File - Superfine JPEG setting.

I am sure that there is plenty of room for improvement but considering that this was my first serious effort with the camera and lens, I did not think that it was too bad.

In commenting about this photo, please remember that it was taken for printing and framing as a family photo for posterity and not for its imaginative or artistic value.
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  #19  
Old 19th June 2012
bilbo bilbo is offline
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Re: Tips for portraits

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loup Garou View Post
In commenting about this photo, please remember that it was taken for printing and framing as a family photo for posterity and not for its imaginative or artistic value.
Loup has PM'd me and has asked me to comment on this shot.

I think it's not bad for a first attempt. What does your father in law think of it?

However since this is posted in the Looking for Improvement section...

If it were my shot I would not have used flash (as I said in previous posts) I would have used the window. In my opinion the lighting is too harsh for the subject.

In posing your father in law, you have placed him face on to the camera. This makes the shoulders too dominant in the shot, and - even in a normally active person - produces a hunched, leaning forward look. With an elderly subject, this is not a good look.

I would prefer to see the shoulders angled to the camera - have a look at these images - they explain what I mean. These poses foreshorten the shoulders and this prevents them from dominating the image.

Finally, he doesn't seem to be enjoying the experience much! Did you practice the set up with a substitute model before getting him on the stool? I suggest you experiment with another (younger and possibly more willing!) model before your next session with the elderly gentleman. That way you will be more at ease, more familiar with the set up, and will possibly be able to get your subject to relax too.

I do hope that you find these comments useful for your next session.
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  #20  
Old 20th June 2012
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Re: Tips for portraits

Thanks, those comments were very useful. About the points you raised:

- My father-in-law liked the photo very much. Being 90, he is from the old school and likes symmetry. The frontal pose was to please him.

- Secondly, as I mentioned earlier, I wanted his picture as a family keepsake rather than for any artistic merit and so was happy to please him.

- I accept that natural light would have been better, But that corner was the only place where I could set-up and it was not optimally placed in relation to the window. I did NOT use the aforementioned alcove because the available space was insufficient.

- Unfortunately, I could not do anything about the hunched look because he is quite severely bent with arthritis especially in the neck and upper back area and that position was the best he could manage.
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  #21  
Old 28th July 2012
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Re: Tips for portraits

Loup, as an alternative to the sound advice of others on indoor lighting solutions, had you considered natural outdoors lighting, sans flash?
Natural outdoor lighting can impart character and warmth to a portrait that artificial sources do not.
In this instance the subject (suffering Parkinson's) is backlit with the face filled with reflected sunlight off grass.
E-3 + SWD 50-200mm @ 117mm @ 1/200 @ f/4.5 @ -0.3 EV @ ISO 400 @ A Mode @ Handheld with Flash Off. LF jpeg, Minimally processed, CS3
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