Saturday, January 10, 2009

Latest Portrait Session

In my previous (first) posting I discussed my attempts at using my studio lighting setup to shoot portraits and crafts. Here are my observations from my latest attempt using the new wireless trigger and receivers.

I set up using two strobes with umbrellas, one on my right at 45 degrees to the subject (main) and one just behind the camera (fill). With the exception of the Rembrandt lighting shot, the strobes were set to a 3:1 ratio of main to fill.

One thing I soon found out was that there just wasn't enough room in my small area (~8' x 9') to bet proper separation between the background and the subject and between the subject and the camera. Using my 77mm portrait lens the shots ere very tight and left no room for cropping, other than to trim a little from the top and/or bottom of the frame. With the 50mm, things were better as far as camera to subject, but I still was stuck with the background too close to the subject.

Shots with the FA77 Limited

As I said previously, with the 77mm I was quite constrained in my small area and the lens was a bit too long.

This one is very similar, but I changed to a black background.

I think that the second is the better of the two. I think she looks better against the dark background.

Shots with the FA50

With the 50mm lens I was able to get more head and shoulders in the shots. I think this focal length was more appropriate given the tight space I was working with.

This shot is with only the main strobe and displays the classic Rembrandt lighting method.

Here are a couple more using both strobes as with the previous 77mm shots.

This shot is a bit less formal and I changed to a light blue backdrop.

Both of the previous two images have the same problem. I had her turn 45 degrees facing away from the main light. There is not enough light in the eyes and I should have either changed the strobe intensities to make the center the main or used a reflector to bring up the light and produce some catch light in her eyes.

One final informal shot with a black & white conversion.

Final Thoughts

I think I'm still moving forward with my lighting technique, but I feel like I still have a way to go before I get proper light balance and become comfortable that I can get repeatable results. I also need to move to another location where I have more room to spread things out. I already have a larger floor standing frame (made from PVC pipe), but still need a couple of sheets of muslin for it. I also need to pick up a few sheet of white foam core boards to use as reflectors.

I hope to make another try in the near future. That's all for now.


  1. Hi Al. Welcome to the world of Blogging.

    Found your posts on studio shooting very interesting.

    Always enjoy your images on ABOP, where I mostly lurk these days.

    Look forward to your future postings.

  2. Hello
    Found your blog through your posts of birds on a newsgroup. This post was very interesting, informative and well written. Hope you find time to post more. Thanks.