How did he get this portrait??

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MichaelBarry, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. MichaelBarry macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Example 1

    Example 2

    I like this kind of portrait and I wanted to know he got this look.

    I realize he probably used a fast prime lens (50mm) and used a wide aperture but the face is lit up really nicely.

    I suppose he used a flash but do you think it was a built-in flash or a hot-shoe type flash??

    can you please tell me what settings he used (e.g. how does he not get the typical over exposed face that has no depth and really dark background)

  2. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    Check the "More properties"-link down on the right on those Flickr pages.

    That should give you all the settings you're looking for.
  3. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    Doesn't look like a flash. I would say a soft-gold reflector.
  4. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    Or "shadow & highlights" in photoshop more likely.
  5. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    From the more details page
    I'm guessing a nice soft flash, no reflector as this doesn't appear to really be an intended "portrait" rather a nice snap shot on the fly with a really nice lens. ;) Though the color and lighting is quite pleasing.

    If he were using a reflector he should have used it here.
  6. MichaelBarry thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2009
    ahhh wow never realised I could get more info. thanks that'll help me a lot in the future in learning this kind of thing.
  7. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    in the second photo there's definitely a shadow under her chin from a light source in front of her....the same is true in the guy's portrait although much less of it is visible.....I would say a flash was used
  8. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    light source camera left and camera right, respectively. could be a flash, a reflector, or a light that was already there.
  9. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    You can only get more info if the flickr user permits it.
  10. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    The natural light in both images comes from the back to backlight the subjects. The front light is most likely fill flash, it could be from a hotshoe flash, flash on a bracket or built-in flash- flash is basically flash, getting if off-axis helps with red eye, but light is light. Looking at the male, I don't see any evidence of gold reflections, as it'd warm the t-shirt up. The backlighting helps isolate the subject from the background. I doubt the flash is on a bracket unless the shooter is pretty short, as the catchlights are in the middle of the eyes (I'd much prefer to see them higher up, as I think it looks more pleasing and it'd get rid of that hot spot on the subject's left nostril.)

    Nikon camera/flash systems do a pretty-good job of balanced fill flash- I assume Canon's systems do the same, though I've not shot much with Canons with a flash. I tend to reduce the flash output, even in balanced fill mode if I'm using it, but you can do the same wih manual settings. If you Google "dragging the shutter" that'll also get you some good examples. What you think of as "typical" flash is actually just "I let the camera figure it out-" and while that's a typical setting, as long as you can adjust flash power manually, there's no reason other than ignorance that anyone should be getting those deer-in-the-headlights over-lit shots. Pretty-much every portrait taken outdoors or indoors can be enhanced by the correct application of light. "I only shoot natural light" is photographer for "I don't know how to light well, if at all."

    If you're interested in lighting, I highly recommend "Light: Science and Magic" as a good read.
  11. jdesign macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2008
    This is what i do to get similar photos.
    i'm using canon so adjust instruction accordingly with other cam..

    1. use manual

    2. plan on how you want to use the flash to expose subject ( how far the subject is ) eg. if subject is closer set the F stop to a higher number. so for this example let say it's f/11 with ISO 100

    3. now you have to measure the correct exposure of the background ( without the subject!! , so tell the subject to move away first or just measure it a few distance away from subject ) This is important because the exposure the landscape with and without the subject is different !!
    after you get the correct exposure with f/11 iso 100.. eg shutter speed at 1/125 ... now underexpose the shutter speed from 1/125 to 1/200 ( up to you how dark you want the background you want to look )

    4. still with M mode. now just normally shoot the subject with flash.

    so in short. the subject is properly exposed with the flash. but the background is underexposed because of the setting we use.

    the concept is rather hard to get. but when you understand it's really easy. I could show you example but my camera is on repair :(

    This is also achievable with built in flash but it require some experimentation. with speedlite flash you can see how far the subject can be properly exposed..

    color processing was done to that photos.. see my site in my signature if you want some color action for photoshop :)
  12. apearlman macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2007
    Red Hook, NY
    Fill flash does wonders.

    I think this statement sums it up. Fill flash doesn't have to be complicated. On or off camera is usually fine. I sometimes adjust the flash exposure compensation (FEC) downward to get a subtler look, but the basic technique is easy. If you're shooting into a bright light, make sure you fight fire with fire. No shadowy faces!
  13. vicious1 macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2004
    definitely fill flash BUT

    .. if he hasnt adjusted the color in Potoshop, I would say he used a Flash diffuser (a warm tone at that). I agree with the shadow remarks, but i lean heavily towards the diffuser (I own one and the results are fairly similar when you take a photo)

    So to sum it up:
    -Flash: Definitely
    -Flash type: Unkown but leaning towards hotshoe/Flashgun
    -Diffuser: probably/possibly

  14. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Why all the guessing? I said he used a flash because the exif data said so. He probably didn't so much by way of PS because there's plenty being done in camera. Read the exif data! And fill flash doing wonders is no surprise to anyone who has the slights understanding of light. ;)
  15. MichaelBarry thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2009
    I was looking for more of a quick spur-of-the-moment type portrait while still taking a nice looking photo answer but thanks anyway. Still learned from your comment.
  16. jdesign macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2008
    sure .. :) once you measure the setting you can just use that particular setting again and again on that set ( since background exposure will remain the same ), no need to adjust for the exposure etc.. Just make sure that subject is on flash exposure distance ..

    many fashion photos use this trick..
  17. paulbence macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2009
    The answer....

    Hello all,
    I'm the dood who took the tip I can give you is a) use the shade, use the shade, use the shade !!!

    b) Always expose for the background, and use fill flash to expose the foreground. Most people forget distance in this...I take portraits that fill the frame so I'm only using a little pop of flash at 1/64th...

    c) My flash is on a monopod which enables me to have a bit of manouverability with the light...

    D) If you want to learn the technique in c) go to google and type "Strobe on a rope"

    Hope that helps...happy wednesday

  18. MichaelBarry thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2009
    WOW! that's weird that you found this. you must have been so surprised. haha!
    I liked your street portraits that your did in london. they were amazing. thanks I'll take into consideration the amount of flash as well. wow!
  19. wheezy macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Alpine, UT
    What do you mean by use the shade? Get in the shade to avoid highlights? I prefer to point them into the shade, nose to their own shadow. (maybe that's what you meant) Doing this usually limits the hot spots caused by direct sun, then either reflect (preferred) or fill flash back to the face. The sun creates a warm background with a nice hairlight, the reflector/fill flash light up the eyes and face.
  20. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    I think he means neutral background when talking about the shade, which he is right for mentioning.
  21. secretpact macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2007
    I think what he was saying is take your picture from shade (under a tree, building) that way you can open up your aperture more and get the good depth of field. Of course, I may not know what the heck I'm talking about, so we might as well wait for him to respond :D.

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