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This is Sarah too :) - Sexy innocence
Old 04-23-2007, 07:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi everyone,

this one is from Sarah, a beautiful model from Kassel (Germany). The shooting was planned as a 3 light shooting, but my problem remains: I always go back to the pictures with less light. This time I switched off the stripbox and the hairlight.

AB800, adorama octabox (5 feet) with 50% silver and 50% gold reflectors inside. To the model right, a silver reflektor as fill. The box was tilted to get the falloff to the feet.

Am I overdoing the "dark part" again ? Critique away...

TIA
Peter

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Re: This is Sarah too :) - Sexy innocence
Old 04-23-2007, 12:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Now this is a personal taste thing, but I don't like making the legs dark. They are one of her best features. Design shots that show them off. The dress and pose here, hide her figure, so all that is left are the legs.

Her upper arm is not what I would want to look at on this girl and yet that is what draws your attention because it is the lightest thing in the image. Also the back of the hand is not the most attractive thing God gave a girl.

What does this picture say to you and/or what were you trying to say?
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Re: This is Sarah too :) - Sexy innocence
Old 04-24-2007, 08:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHDSP View Post
Hi everyone,

this one is from Sarah, a beautiful model from Kassel (Germany). The shooting was planned as a 3 light shooting, but my problem remains: I always go back to the pictures with less light. This time I switched off the stripbox and the hairlight.

Am I overdoing the "dark part" again ? Critique away...
I don't see anything blatantly wrong with this. There are improvements that could be made, but overall it's a fine shot.

My question is, why do you consider this dark, for one.

It sounds to me like you have a mental image of how a shot should look in your mind, and you weren't getting it with 3 lights.

I would love to see one of the shots with 3 lights and see if we can help you in getting what you want with the lights you are wanting to use.
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Re: This is Sarah too :) - Sexy innocence
Old 04-24-2007, 12:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kgphoto View Post
Now this is a personal taste thing, but I don't like making the legs dark. They are one of her best features. Design shots that show them off. The dress and pose here, hide her figure, so all that is left are the legs.
I was going to try that on the next shoot. This was my first one with Sarah, and I only made her pose this way because I noticed she was missing pictures of her legs on her card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kgphoto View Post
Her upper arm is not what I would want to look at on this girl and yet that is what draws your attention because it is the lightest thing in the image. Also the back of the hand is not the most attractive thing God gave a girl.
I agree. The hand does not really disturb me, but I agree the arm draws too much attention.

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Originally Posted by kgphoto View Post
What does this picture say to you and/or what were you trying to say?
I wanted to show a young woman showing her sexy side. But subtle, with a bit of shame.
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Re: This is Sarah too :) - Sexy innocence
Old 04-24-2007, 01:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My question is, why do you consider this dark, for one.
If I compare the image to 90% of the pictures posted here, it's dark.

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Originally Posted by dledeaux View Post
It sounds to me like you have a mental image of how a shot should look in your mind, and you weren't getting it with 3 lights.
I would love to see one of the shots with 3 lights and see if we can help you in getting what you want with the lights you are wanting to use.
Now you hit the nail. You're right, I'm not entirely happy with the "look" I get.
I would want to look my pictures more like Bobby_G's or mcherry's, RFS's and all the other frequent contributers here. Mine just don't pop.

Additionally I'm having space problems. I can't position the Model more than 5 feet from the BG, and the rear flashlight stands directly next to the seamless. As in my next picture you see the striplight lighting the seamless. Gotta get egg crates for them, and some way to flag.

Here's another one, 3 lights (including bg.):

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Re: This is Sarah too :) - Sexy innocence
Old 04-24-2007, 10:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHDSP View Post
Hi everyone,

this one is from Sarah, a beautiful model from Kassel (Germany). The shooting was planned as a 3 light shooting, but my problem remains: I always go back to the pictures with less light. This time I switched off the stripbox and the hairlight.

AB800, adorama octabox (5 feet) with 50% silver and 50% gold reflectors inside. To the model right, a silver reflektor as fill. The box was tilted to get the falloff to the feet.

Am I overdoing the "dark part" again ? Critique away...

TIA
Peter



Hope you don't mind but I tweeked the image a bit and tried to place the 3 images close together for comparison purposes. With digital, if you can meter properly and gather as much detail as possible you have the ability to manipulate the details in post. With proper exposure you will capture the most detail relevant to highlights, midtones and shadows. Then in post, to make the image POP, a simple curves adjustment to taste will help the image jump or POP just a bit. This is not the best example as the images are compressed for the web quite a bit, but I think you can see how a simple curves adjustment can provide a difference in the image.In the 2nd image I adjusted the curves quite a bit and in the 3rd a bit less. It comes down to a matter of taste, but once you know your metering and exposure and can "see it" then you will be able to make those subtle adjustments in post to add the punch...I also sharpened it just a tad but due to its size maybe is a bit overdone...
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Re: This is Sarah too :) - Sexy innocence
Old 04-25-2007, 02:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_G View Post
Hope you don't mind but I tweeked the image a bit and
I am very grateful you even took the time! I see the difference...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_G View Post
With digital, if you can meter properly and gather as much detail as possible you have the ability to manipulate the details in post. With proper exposure you will capture the most detail relevant to highlights, midtones and shadows.
This still is somewhat confusing to me. Most of the tutorials on metering seem to meter each light separately with the dome of the meter retracted and pointing directly to the flashlight. The difference between these meterings is the ratio of highlights of every single light. After that, one general measurement is taken, with the dome out, pointing the dome to the camera. I take this measurement at the face. This is how I determin my f-stop.

Now for the problems:
1. Ratio of the shadows to highlights is not measured
2. The f-stop on the general measurement is LOWER, because the light only hits half the dome (on 90 degree lights), sometimes resulting in blown out rims e.g. (and yes, I read "light science magic" about reflections)

Now how should shadows be measured ? Pointing where ? Dome exposed or retracted? How many measurements would you take for a typical 3 light setup?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_G View Post
but I think you can see how a simple curves adjustment can provide a difference in the image.In the 2nd image I adjusted the curves quite a bit and in the 3rd a bit less.
Lol. I've been reading this everywhere. "simple curves adjustment". I know the tool, but I don't know where to start tweaking the curve. Is it really that simple, like in trial and error?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_G View Post
I also sharpened it just a tad but due to its size maybe is a bit overdone...
Ok. Another interesting part. I've been doing the sharpening selectively, on the eyes, lips, hair, and detail-rich parts of the clothing - all using the history brush (and default sharpening in lightroom,25 ). Mostly I won't go over 100%, typically 70-80%. This is for print.

How much sharpening does a picture for the web need ?

TIA
Peter
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Re: This is Sarah too :) - Sexy innocence
Old 04-25-2007, 07:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DHDSP View Post
I am very grateful you even took the time! I see the difference...



This still is somewhat confusing to me. Most of the tutorials on metering seem to meter each light separately with the dome of the meter retracted and pointing directly to the flashlight. The difference between these meterings is the ratio of highlights of every single light. After that, one general measurement is taken, with the dome out, pointing the dome to the camera. I take this measurement at the face. This is how I determin my f-stop.

Now for the problems:
1. Ratio of the shadows to highlights is not measured
2. The f-stop on the general measurement is LOWER, because the light only hits half the dome (on 90 degree lights), sometimes resulting in blown out rims e.g. (and yes, I read "light science magic" about reflections)

Now how should shadows be measured ? Pointing where ? Dome exposed or retracted? How many measurements would you take for a typical 3 light setup?



Lol. I've been reading this everywhere. "simple curves adjustment". I know the tool, but I don't know where to start tweaking the curve. Is it really that simple, like in trial and error?



Ok. Another interesting part. I've been doing the sharpening selectively, on the eyes, lips, hair, and detail-rich parts of the clothing - all using the history brush (and default sharpening in lightroom,25 ). Mostly I won't go over 100%, typically 70-80%. This is for print.

How much sharpening does a picture for the web need ?

TIA
Peter
Well I am definitely not a "tekky" when it comes to lighting...LOL. In a 3 light set, I take 3 meter readings...Main, fill and BG...4 if I throw in a hairlight. I may place a light camera right metered at f8 (metered with NO other lights on)...then I may place a fill light to camera left about a stop lower AND 1 1/2 the distance from the subject metered at f5.6 (once again with NO other lights firing). So if my main is f8 and 6 feet from the subject, my fill will be about 9 feet metered at f5.6. I don't want to eliminate the shadows the main causes just fill them in a bit or de-emphasize those shadows. Also remember that the closer he light to the subject the "softer the light becomes". Lighting exposure is also relative to distance so if at 6 feet I meter f8...move the subject back 2 feet and you may lose a 1/2 stop to a full stop AND the light becomes a bit more harsh. How I meter the BG depends on the BG itself. Knowing that white reflects 90% of the light that hits it and black absorbs 90% of the light that hits it...the metering will be different for both. If you are shooting on a white background then a 1 to 1 1/2 stop HIGHER reading will usually "blow out" the BG if thats the look you want...if you are on black or even the red BG like in your image you may need to go a full 2 stops to get the seperation you seek...it all depends on the look you seek AND how the BG reflects or absorbs to light. If you are wanting "seperation" then many times I'll simply add a hairlight to the model metered slightly higher than my main (usually 1/2 to 1 stop for a blonde headed model and possibly higher still for a dark headed model due to the light absorbtion or reflection)...OR, you can put a grid on a backlight and aim it at the BG so that it creates a halo effect on the bg and position the models head to where its "within" the halo for seperation. I do not take a "general" combined reading. I will meter my camera to the f8 and make "tweeks" to aperture as I shoot and monitor my histogram. I tend to underexpose most of my shots by a 1/3 to 1/2 stop...for my post processong technique this works for me...once again a matter of taste...If I am exposed properly (meaning my histogram is giving me the high spike in the middle with NO spikes to the far right or left) I have captured a TON of detail and it will be ready for tweeking in post...the curves adjustment I spoke of.

You are correct that the "simple curves adjustment" is done by playing with it. I don't believe there is a formula for it. The center of the diagonal line will control the midtones...the top right the shadows... and the bottom left the highlights. The best way to learn it is to just grab a full size image and open curves and begin manipulating to see how each area affects the image itself. Most of the really good PS guys can help you a whole lot more than me. I am PS stupid...the images you see from me are only slightly processed in PS...I dont know how to do much other than remove a pimple, adjust my curves... sharpen and close...LOL. I am sure you can choose a certain area of an image and adjust the curves of that area only...I just don't know how its done...

As for sharpening, its quite a different setting from print to the web conversion. First of all I do NOT use the "save for web" feature. I simply resize my full size image to what I think works best on the web. Since I work mostly with aspiring models, I size all of my images to 9x12...when I resize them for the web I size them at 600 on the long size ( and I believe that makes the short side 450...but don't quote that)...I set the resolution to 100 instead of 72...dont think that really matters much but 100 works for me.

I sharpen my full size image using unsharp mask. For MY taste I set the Amount to 300%, the Radius at 1 and the threshold to 2. This may look OVERsharpned on the screen on some images (especially low key) but will print just fine...For the web conversion, after resizing I run ANOTHER unsharp mask action but this time I set the Amount to100%, the Radius to .8 and the threshold to 6..this will add a little sharpness to what you lost when resizing.

I hope I made ANY sense at all...LOL...As I said, I am not a "schooled tekkie" type photographer...Once I set my lights, I may leave em or move em to get the desired results....

Here is a 3 light setup metered pretty much as I described above...This is a black seemless bg that I used a red gel...


This is a 3 light setup on white. Now this is not my best effort and I posted this for that reason...notice on the model right her breast is slightly blown as is the elbow. I was trying some different lighting on this one and with the white behind her, I had her a little to close to the bg and the reflective light spilled in as I was a bit "hot" on my mail light to the camera left. Easily corrected, but things to watch for when using a lot of whites...



Well, I hope some of this helps...Im a two finger pecker at typing and my fingers are sore...LOL...
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Re: This is Sarah too :) - Sexy innocence
Old 04-25-2007, 12:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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On the metering end, you'll usually get more precise readings if you point the dome toward the camera, not the light (obviously speaking of those lights that directly light the subject. After I get the basic ratio, I shoot test shots and use the LCD and histogram to fine tune the shot (be sure the LCD brightness level is set low). In the old days I used a Polaroid back (on RB67) to to the same type of test shots. Keep in mind that exposure must be very close to right on for digital (just like it used to be for slide film).

On the matter of curves --- you can often get the "pop", by making an "S" curve. In other words the mid point of the top half of the curve is pushed a bit up and the mid point of the bottom half of the curve is pushed a bit down. I usually do the curves work on a curves adjustment layer and I can then vary the opacity of that layer for the effect I want. You can also play with the blending modes to get extra effects.

If you shoot RAW, then you'll have a little more wiggle room if things don't work out as planned.

One of the really difficult parts of shooting glamour is having enough room behind the subject and the seamless background. 5 feet is really cutting it close. There is always the challenge of keeping spill from the background lights off the model. I often use large panels which I set in front of the background lights to kill the spill. Here is an example shot:

Click for larger version
Re: This is Sarah too :) - Sexy innocence 


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Re: This is Sarah too :) - Sexy innocence
Old 04-26-2007, 12:56 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you everyone for the valuable advice.

You all rock ...
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