Lighting advice needed

This is a discussion on Lighting advice needed within the Photography Discussion forums, part of the PHOTO FORUM category; Hi Everyone, I'm trying to take the portrait of someone sitting at a desk facing me. To the left of this person are a couple ...


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  1. #1
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    Lighting advice needed

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm trying to take the portrait of someone sitting at a desk facing me. To the left of this person are a couple of windows I can't block off and they are letting in a considerable, but not overwhelming, amount of light. There is no room to place additional lights on the side of the room where the windows are. I tried bouncing off the wall, but there are objects in the way of the brown wall where the windows are. I did not get satisfactory results.

    If I want to make the highlight side of my portrait the other side of this subject---that is, the right side, the non-window side--- (and leave the window side in slight shadow) what can I do? Put my lighting (a strobe and umbrella) as close as I can on the right side and try to outblast the light coming in from the window? I could bounce off the ceiling, but isn't there a better way? I'm new to strobes and umbrellas and weary of the amateurish look of the photos I've taken for years using a camera flash bounced off a ceiling (by which I mean, it's hard for me to figure out how to get a meaningful facial highlight bouncing off a ceiling).

    Appreciate any ideas.

    Bunkie


  • #2
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    Hey Bunkie, I'm trying to picture exactly what you are talking about but to be honest the best thing would be to show us the photo in question and I could help from there.

  • #3
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    Hi William,
    Thanks for your interest. Please note that in this photo I'd like the right side highlighted instead of the left side where the window light is coming in. In this shot I bounced the light from an umbrella off the wall to the left. Note the shadow on the wall. Please be as critical of this shot as is humanly possible---otherwise I won't learn. This woman is very conscious of being heavy so if you can offer any tipName:  Bethany portrait-3.jpg
Views: 22
Size:  959.7 KBs on that it would be appreciated. William, tell me: how would you photograph this woman? That is, if you can see anything. I wrote this post before seeing how small attached images are.

    Thanks,
    Al

  • #4
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    Cool I love the way you approach this of be as critical as possible so that you will learn. I would definitely put a strobe with either a soft box of umbrella on it on the right if you want to change the lighting. Lighting is something that takes time and experiments to get the feel for. With this subject I would get the light as close as possible from a position maybe 3 feet or so higher than you shooting position. This way it does two things the light will fall off quickly(meaning it won't light up the walls so much) and the shadows casted by her from the light will fall bellow your line of sight. As for power adjust the power of the light until the light coming from the left hand side is just being used as a soft fill light to me sure there aren't any harsh shadows. Ideally I would cancel out the window light over and use two strobes from both sides that way you can dial it in however you like.

    Okay now the next part your question about posing and how I would shoot it. First off I would shoot the shot vertically rather than horizontally(looks better for portraits and at the same time it slims down your subject). The desk has a lot of clutter and distraction that draws away from the subject, shoot much tighter. Third shoot from an upward angle on the subject looking more up to you rather than on your level(look at every woman ever taking a selfie they know always from above). Last part takes some time to learn which is how to make your subject pose and feel comfortable. It's human nature that if you don't like photos or think that you are heavier than you would like to be you shy away from the camera and pull away. You can see this in her posture she has pulled her head towards her back and made her neck disappear. Here is how you fix that super easy. Take the test photos as you are setting up lighting. Don't say a thing about how to pose. Most subjects will pull away naturally. Then ask her to pull her chair away from the desk slightly and lean forward into the desk. Next ask her to turtle her head towards you by simply pushing her face towards the camera. You are at a slight 15 degree angle but I would shoot her more at about 25 to 30 degrees. Take the photo. She will feel completely weird and out of place she will think you are crazy. Now show her the photos when you were testing light without posing her and show her the posed ones. Her eyes will light up and before you know it she will be smiling with confidence, putting her hands on her hips and giving sexy eyes to the camera even though you didn't ask.

    Hope this helps!

  • #5
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    Beautiful, beautiful! Thank you, William Arthur, for taking the time to help me in depth.I will go now and try to apply your advice during my next session with this woman.

    Bunkie


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