View Full Version : Potrait Help

02-15-2010, 03:34 PM
A couple of times now, as an added fun little thing on the special occaision dinners, I have done portraits of the members and printed them off right away so they can take them with them at the end of the evening. My main problem though is getting my lights right. (The other mistakes, I can see and correct them in future but the lights are a real problem for me.)

Ok, so I do not have much experience posing people and we do not have much time per shot so I just do the best I can there.

So here is my setup: My camera is the commander and I have the flash on there set at 1/32 so it does not add to the photo. I have a Nikon SB600 and a SB900. I use them on the ETTL as the different size of groups means moving the light frequently. I have small umbrellas and they are on lightweight type stands. My camera is tethered to the computer so the file goes straight to the computer for quick printing. I photograph everything in jpegs as there is no time to adjust from raw.

My main problem is getting enough light evenly on my subject.

Here are a few photos that I took: The first of each set is how they came out of camera and the second is after adjustment to load on the club's Flickr account. Any suggestions are welcome:

02-15-2010, 03:35 PM
A couple more:

02-15-2010, 03:51 PM
Nice PP :) They will be happy for sure.

Ok to fix the problem, start with 1 light, the main light. You should be able to see the umbrella reflection in the eye of your subject and the eye itself should be nicely lit.

If you do not see this, your light is incorrectly positioned, not strong enough, or a mix. Move the light around until you do see its reflection on the eye of your subject. If you need to up the power on either of the flashes, up the power.Try the light at 45 degrees to the subject. Then, if you want fill add it lower than the value of the main light.

Gotta tell you, for assignments like these an incident light meter comes in VERY handy. This allows you to measure the individual light sources on the subject plus the total at the end when all the flashes are firing together. That's a pro in full control. Yes your camera can likely do a good job figuring this out as well, but you'll learn way faster with a meter. IMO. It's still handy for things like this... likely between 1-2 hundred used for an older (anything from the mid nineties onward..) gossen or seKonic that measures flash.

For larger groups of people a portable reflected won't likely be enough power..you really have to watch your distance to subject to try to maximize range without clipping.

Hope that helps - Marko

02-15-2010, 04:03 PM
Ok, that is helpful. Knowing a little better how to position the lights is a big help. They are happy to just get a photo right away but I would like them to look as nice as possible too. :)

02-19-2010, 02:55 PM
Well I see your problem here, one is that the umbrellas seem to be too small for the distance and the power of your flash, since it is too small it will only reflect light enough for your subjects head, so you cant have an even light, unless maybe if you place it farther.
The other thing is I see double shadows, if I were you I would consider bouncing one flash on the roof and use the second flash (sb600) as fill flash on umbrellas.

Be sure to meter the light correctly, I wouldnt advise you to use slower than f/5.6 or you would be spending flash power for unnecessary DOF