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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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Old 10th November 2012
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brianvickers brianvickers is offline
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Studio Pregnancy shots

I'm very new to studio work...I'd welcome comments on the images below of my daughter and fiancee....I only have a few weeks to try again and the opportunity will be gone!








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Old 10th November 2012
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Re: Studio Pregnancy shots

As a none studio togger I rather like this set and I expect your daughter loves them.

They seem well lit and taken.
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Old 11th November 2012
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Re: Studio Pregnancy shots

Brian you have had a 105 views and just one comment and I am sure you are wondering why.

Lately I have been trying not to have to much to say on this forum for various reasons of my own, but I will comment and risk being the bad guy again this once.

First let me say that this is not about your daughter who is a very beautiful girl but about your lighting technique.

In no 1,2,3 and 4 your lighting is too low, you can see this by how the lower jaw line in both subjects is lit much more brightly than the rest of the face and so the direction of the lighting appears to be coming from slightly below and upwards and appears unnatural to me, to give a exagerated example a bit like shining a torch under your chin.

This is also the reason your daughters left eye is not being lit correctly and is left in darkness.

I do not know what lighting or light diffusers you are using but for me it seem a bit to contrasy for this type of subject.

By all means you can use contrasty low key lighting but make sure that some light is getting into the eye in shadow.

As a example


The last image using standard glamour lighting of two lights of equel intensity each side works well for a full face portrait. But saying that it could still do with being a tad higher and a little more difuusion on the light sources for me, and the eyes still seem a little inadaquitly lit for some reason, though they should not be with this type of lighting.

It hard to be specific without knowing what you are using , but my advise would be to stick with one main light and a reflector for a while.

One tip when working with modeling lights, our eyes adapt for contrast and we do not see it like a recorded image does, so when trying to work out contrast and lighting ratio's try squinting at the subject as you will get a more true picture of how much contrast you lights are giving. I hope this helps.
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Re: Studio Pregnancy shots

Paul,
thanks for this, it is exactly the sort of feedback I want.
I'm using two 400w/s strobes - one with an umbrella to reflect light onto the subject and the other straight through the umbrella with the reflective cover removed.
I had noticed the one eye not being lit properly. I will experiment with height of the strobes and a reflector as you suggest. Thanks for taking the time - its what adds value to this forum in addition to the equipment info.
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Old 11th November 2012
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Re: Studio Pregnancy shots

I'm a little late here, and I'll agree with what's been said and take it a little further... the height of your lights has already been mentioned, much too low... rule of thumb for the catch lights in the eyes is 10 & 2 o'clock, although I rarely adhere to it myself. In the first picture, you're better off with your main light on the other side to prevent the shadows her head casts on his face. As mentioned, the lighting seems too contrasty. While your umbrellas create harsher lights, their are ways to soften it. Make sure your umbrellas are extended to the ends of the poles, to create a larger surface to reflect of off. I don't believe I've ever shot with such a set up of two umbrellas (one shooting through and one reflecting), but to lower the contrast here your ratios are a bit off. In a few of the images here, your fill doesn't appear to have had much of an affect at all. In my experience (limited), if you're going to use a reflector in place of a fill in studio for 3/4 length portraits, your main light should be a large source of light. In your last shot, the lighting is basically flat and less contrasty, looks like you're getting the same output from each side, just a little higher still would be an improvement. It's more difficult when shooting couples but for studio portraits (especially low key), it's important to note how the light falls on the face of the subject. I'm including four examples of four different light patterns (broad light, butterfly, split light, and a poor example of a rembrandt), all in that order. I think the difference is pretty clear in each. For most subjects, the easiest (and most flattering) would be short-loop lighting, which is the exact opposite of broad lighting (image 1). Your main is placed on the short side of the face, I'm sure I have a sample somewhere, these were just all shot last week, easy access. Aside from lighting, make sure to fix her hair (pet peeve of mine, lol).

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