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using 60 watt bulb only and posing book-2 questions and an opinion
Old 03-22-2004, 05:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi All,
I will be taking pictures of a friend Wednesday. I took some pictures before of her and all she has for light in her bedroom is a 60 watt bulb on the wall. I can't buy more light so that's all we will be using. The pictures I took before had a yellowish tint to them, and if i used the flash it had a bluish tint to them. I have a Canon A40 2meg digital, and was wondering if anyboy knew of some good settings to get these pictures. I took the pictures without a flash and using Photoshop after I took them worked out ok, but I'm of the old fashioned school of taking the picture as close as to what you want the first time.
Next question, does anybody know of a site where they have posing pictures the size of a thumbnail, like we have for portfolios here.
Next is the opinion. I've worked with a pro model (see portfolio) and amateur now. The pro one knew different poses and the way she looked best with very little instruction. The amateur had never had a photographer take pictures of her before. She was fun to instruct. But sometimes I saw a pose and it was like "great, that's it", I noticed her laying on her back was the best for her. You can see why people hire pro models, guess it's like hiring a pro photographer. Both were fun in their own way. That's for listening and information would be helpful, especially for the first question.
Michael
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Re: using 60 watt bulb only and posing book-2 questions and an opinion
Old 03-22-2004, 06:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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With a 2 megapixel camera and a 60 watt light source you are probably going to have real noise problems in the resulting image. Even with a tripod for the camera the model may not be able to hold still long enough. See if you can't find a time that will allow natural light to come in through the window. The image below was shot using natural light. There was a very large window behind me, time of day was early evening in the summer. Keep the direct light out of the frame. I altered the picture by adding the background of the window frame, Seattle night scene, and bird of paradise flowers.



Tom
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Oh ho ho...
Old 03-22-2004, 09:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, when it comes to getting results out of point-and-shoots, I can step right up with all these fancy-pants lens-swappin' dudes any day of the week. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img] (Just joshin', guys.) Keep in mind these tips are mostly beginner-level. If you're past that, good for you, and just ignore them.

Okay, here we go:

1) Get a tripod. No, seriously. Go pick up cans by the side of the road and cash them in or something but GET A TRIPOD. Otherwise find something to set your camera on. Then you can use larger shutter speeds and try available-light. If you've got a tripod, use it. I got a perfectly useable Kodak-branded tripod for $20 at Microcenter not long ago (it was an emergency) and while it's not the Rock of Gibraltar it holds the camera still. If you've already got a tripod, use it. Also, try setting the self-timer. Then the camera has time to completely stop moving after you press the shutter release.

2. For a point and shoot, the A40 is actually fairly sophisticated. Did you try upping your ISO-equivalent? You can go as high as 400 in manual mode. This also allows you to use available-light with not too long a shutter speed, which might help with the noise. Try different combinations - maybe you'd be better off at ISO 200 than at either ISO 400 with half the shutter or at ISO 100 with twice the shutter.

3. Okay, next. The auto white balance is what's giving you the odd tints: it can't make up its mind. Your camera has selectable white balance. (But no custom, more's the pity.) For a "normal" incandescent light bulb, you probably want the Tungsten setting. If it's a fluorescent bulb, then obviously you want the Fluorescent (or H) setting. If you're using the flash, you still want Tungsten, although you might try Daylight just to see what happens. Bottom line: digital cameras hate consumer light bulbs! If it's feasible, run over to Home Depot and get a daylight-balanced bulb for the lamp. If you do, try both Tungsten and Daylight settings.

4. You have a true manual exposure mode. Use it! Run the camera to its maximum aperture (f2.8 to f4.0, depending on zoom length.) Then experiment with shutter speed.

5. I know you said you couldn't spend any more money on lighting, but you can buy little self-contained slave flashes that fit in your pocket for $20. They're not DynaLites, but they can make the difference between getting a shot and not getting it. Here's an example:

Quantaray Slave Flash

If you get one, try bouncing it off the walls or ceiling in addition to just pointing it at your model. They're sort of harsh but they bounce okay.

6. Speaking of lighting, make sure the camera is using its Focus Assist Illuminator if you're using available light.

7. Even if you can't buy lighting, you can move light around. Get some white pasteboard and use it for a reflector. (Well, better yet, get a reflector, but this is the cheap bus.) If her walls are dark, try hanging light-colored cloth or paper on the walls to move more light to her. Hold one of those white pasteboards over your camera to maximize flash incidence. I'm sure you see where I'm going with this - take it and run with it.

8. If dark's the best you can do, do dark. Get some candles. (Don't burn anything!) Give her some pale makeup. Try shooting in B&W or some other special mode for a "noir" look.

That's about all you can do with a P&S, but you can get surprisingly good pictures out of one if you take it slow and find the sweet spot.

Now, as to posing: The best way to learn posing is to pose. Next best way is to look at lots and lots and lots of other people's poses. (That's why I have all these books full of pictures of nekkid ladies! Yep, yep, yep! It's all *educational!* No prurient interest here, no sir!) Short of that, here's sort of a nifty little thing:

PoseCards

This fellow has sets of cards with little line drawings of suggested figure poses. You can print them out, cut them up, and stick them in your camera bag. Stuck for a pose? Start drawing random cards. It looks a little silly, but it can help. The Internet Special is only $24.95. (Save your money and don't buy his "reports," though. There's nothing in them you can't learn here.)

Have fun!

M
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Re: using 60 watt bulb only and posing book-2 questions and an opinion
Old 03-23-2004, 03:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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In your profile you indicate that you did 35mm for 10-20 years. Therefore, I can assume you know what color temperature is, right?

If you were shooting film using nothing but a 60 watt light bulb, you'd know that even with a 2.8 lens you would need a tripod and, unless you were using tungsten balanced film or a blue filter, you would get a yellow to orange tint in your images. You would also know that using artificial flash, even from pro-strobes, tends to the blue side of color temp.

Apply those same principles to digital shooting. Adjust your white balance to compensate for the light you're using - and play with that! Set it to fluorescent and shoot under tungsten and vice versa. An advantage digital, even digi-point and shoots, has over film is the ability to immediately know the results of an experiment.

As for posing guides, I say "feh" to buying them. Get a Playboy or W or Sports Illustrated Swimsuit or Interview or Hot Rod magazine (depending on your preferred style of shooting) and use THOSE for your practical posing guides.

It cause my wife no shortage of amusement to watch me go thru W or Cosmo tearing out ads with pose or set ideas. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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Re: using 60 watt bulb only and posing book-2 questions and an opinion
Old 03-31-2004, 08:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Would like to thank everyone for their opinion. Did use the setting for tungsten and the color came out realistic without the yellow tint. Digital cameras sure are different than 35mm sometimes. I wonder if the same goes for 35mm digital compared with 35mm normal. Also another opinion, this time (like last) the shots turned out ok, but it seemed like we were struggling to get a good pic. Same amateur model I used a couple weeks ago, I just didn't get that feeling of "wow, that's it". Wonder if that's the effect of using an amateur.
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Re: using 60 watt bulb only and posing book-2 questions and an opinion
Old 03-31-2004, 09:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
Would like to thank everyone for their opinion. Did use the setting for tungsten and the color came out realistic without the yellow tint.

[/ QUOTE ]
Glad to hear it. Did you try any of the other suggestions?

[ QUOTE ]
Digital cameras sure are different than 35mm sometimes. I wonder if the same goes for 35mm digital compared with 35mm normal.

[/ QUOTE ]
Yes, they are, and for exactly the same reasons. There's an article about white balancing and a source for WarmCards on the home page of Garage Glamour. The WarmCards won't help you - your camera doesn't have manual white balance - but the article is well worth reading.

[ QUOTE ]
Also another opinion, this time (like last) the shots turned out ok, but it seemed like we were struggling to get a good pic. Same amateur model I used a couple weeks ago, I just didn't get that feeling of "wow, that's it". Wonder if that's the effect of using an amateur.

[/ QUOTE ]
Could be, or could be any number of other things.

M
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