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Portrait flash tips

This is a discussion on Portrait flash tips within the Critiques forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; Hi Everyone, These are from my practice a couple of weeks ago. I was practicing on portraits and flash photography ...

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    Default Portrait flash tips

    Hi Everyone,

    These are from my practice a couple of weeks ago. I was practicing on portraits and flash photography after acquiring my 550EX.
    Your C&C awaited.
    cheers,
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    These look decent overall Yisehaq but as always i got a few comments.

    1 - Sharpness - these aren't as sharp as they should be especially shot 1.
    A quick look at your exif data says this was shot at 1/13. This is too slow even on a tripod. 1/60 Minimum is what I recommend.

    2 - Shot 1 is really nice and bright and the model has a lovely expression, but the model "may" find her arm a bit big. Turning her body more at a 45 degree angle might have been even better, or a wee bit more scarf on the shoulder. Shot 2 is sharper than 1 but the expression is lacking. It's a bit tight for me and the cropping looks off as well. The lighting also is not a pleasing as in shot 1.

    Hope that helps - Marko
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    I think they turned out good for what you were working with. Im assuming the f5.6 was as wide as you could go also assuming its the kit lens.
    Lack of lighting here is really what made it difficult.

    Don

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    Thanks Marko & DonW,
    You're both right in all points you mentioned.

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    I do like the smile and lighting in shot 1.

    I have the 680EX and on the weekend I was at a wedding. Not wanting to look pretentious, and because knew the official photographer(I introduced the bride and groom to the photographer) I did not use the external flash at the service and stuck with 40Ds on-board flash. At the reception once the official photographer had left I got over what everyone else thought and put on the "big" flash. The difference is remarkable. I was able to achieve reasonable shutter speeds and drop the ISO to get some awesome candids. I found you get some hilarious shots one people have had a few drinks and relax Anyway, my point is, it is worth the effort to understand these flashes. The other thing I notice is that many pros use diffusers to minimise the tell tale signs that a flash has been used.

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    Thanks AntZ.

    Quote Originally Posted by AntZ View Post
    The other thing I notice is that many pros use diffusers to minimise the tell tale signs that a flash has been used.
    Yeah I found them too harsh at times also. I almost always wish for a diffuser when I see 'the tell tale signs' but couldn't get one around here. I think any translucent sticky tape could do the job but haven't tried that. By the way, is there any case where you need the harsh flash light? Just curious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yisehaq View Post
    Thanks AntZ.


    Yeah I found them too harsh at times also. I almost always wish for a diffuser when I see 'the tell tale signs' but couldn't get one around here. I think any translucent sticky tape could do the job but haven't tried that. By the way, is there any case where you need the harsh flash light? Just curious.
    There are so many different ways to use a flash gun. Bounced off the ceiling is the easiest. Experiment, I promise you will come up great results. Check out strobist.com and / or Bert Stephani on you tube for some great ideas.

    Don

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    By the way, is there any case where you need the harsh flash light? Just curious.
    But of course. Hard direct flash is great for an edgy feel when taken off camera. On a bride or woman though, better if they look like a model and have flawless makeup.

    It's also used direct on camera when you need the light (like at an event at night)

    It can also be used as Fill on a bright sunny day.

    and in plenty of other cases... Hope that helps - Marko
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    I think you missed something very important in a portrait: the background. Without a compelling background you will end up with a boring candid picture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DonW View Post
    Bounced off the ceiling is the easiest. Experiment, I promise you will come up great results.
    Don
    Do I have to positively compensate the flash power when I bounce or tilt the flash say to 45 deg? When I try this situation, the flash seems to produce weaker power even when I use E-TTL. My rule of thumb is that I try to compensate +1 when I used the flash as the main light source and -1 when I used it as fill-in when seems okay when I use it directly but when I bounce it or tilt, it does give me the same strength. Am I missing anything?

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