Second portrait photoshoot

Since coming back from vacation and blogging (and maybe bragging) about it, I have add the pleasure to shoot portraits for a second time. You might recall that my first shoot was some miss, a few hits and lots of fun.

While the first shoot was a somewhat large family of five, this time I was to shoot face and eyes portraits of my niece.

The shoot started the day before, well, not quite. But on the day before, I was at my cousin’s and he lent me two of his favorite portrait lenses: the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D and its bigger brother the 85mm f/1.8D.

This lens is really fun to work with. It focuses fast and is so light and easy to use. But even at f/3 its depth of field is still shallow as in here.

Looking away

This time, I changed the location of my setup. To my surprise, I actually have more depth in my living room than my kitchen by a good five feet.

I also used a white background (roll) instead of black (muslin). No particular reasons, just wanted to “play with a different toy”.

Another change I did was to use only flashes and umbrellas rather than spot lights and umbrellas. I figured that I could better manage the light this way. Both were at 45° angles off the subject, one at seven feet, the other at five. Both flash were on TTL with -1 EV.

I am not if this under exposure of the flash led to my pics being underexposed. Probably. Got to pay attention to this. I was able to boost exposure in post processing, thanks to shooting RAW.

The white background is nice, however, you have to pay more attention to background shadows. Although I managed to see this error most of the time, some shots were still too close to the background and created shadows as in this photo.

Shadows in the background – not good.

As a side note I can say that I have acquired a new skills: paying attention to small details like hair position or hair elastic bands around the wrist. They do not look good no matter what. As for hair, you can get rid of them in post processing, but this skill is still on the “to learn” list.

Since it was a sunny day, I decided to take a few pictures in my backyard. I am glad I did. It made me discover three new settings.

The first is our garden. The green foliage background provides this picture with more of a “little girl” look to it. I know that I should get rid of the hairs on the cheek and that the big brown branch in the background is not quite perfect. Nevertheless, I like the effect of this one.

Little girl look

The second setting is the brick wall of the garage. I very much like the black and white.

Black and white

The third new setting is the emergency staircase for our upstairs neighbor. I like the industrial looks of it. You can almost “see” the graffiti tags in the background; don’t look, you won’t find them as there are none, but you can feel them.

Graffitis (in your head)

And I also like the second one shot there. I like how comfortable my niece feels on this one.

Intimate moment

For my next shoot, I know that I have to work on better framing, better poses from my subject, better lighting and tons of other things. But I am learning and loving it.

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3 Responses to Second portrait photoshoot

  1. Like you, I like the b&w version very much. One thing that helps is the well-blurred wall. In the nature shot, I believe there is a lot of potential. Her hair comes in coal black and the eyes pop very nicely. The problems you have already indicated could be fixed with a more well blurred background–changing camera settings, distance from background, altering angle to background, etc. But, keep trying–the colors are really nice.

  2. Pingback: 7 Musts of Great Composition in Photography |

  3. Pingback: I loved my latest photoshoot |

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