Posts Tagged ‘portrait’

Shooting Sunset Portraits

Posted: August 20, 2011 in Blog
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Few days ago I was shooting some portraits for my cousing during a beautiful sunset. Not much clouds in the sky so I had to deal with hard light right from the sun. I don’t even have a diffuser or a reflector. But I used an external flash on my camera or tripod right next to me to fill in the shadows. Main light was still the sun. When the sun is low, just like during sunrise or sunset, the light has to travel through thicker layer of atmoshpere what makes it softer and easier to use. Not saying it is perfect, but really nice challenge.

I wanted to shoot in aperture priority, but after my full manual challenge I decided it will be better for me to shoot in manual mode and so I did. With the sun in background, meter will go crazy, believe me. In manual I have full control and just focus on pictures. You set things once and that’s all. Flash was also in manual mode for better results, even when I could use E-TTL.

All portraits were shot with my Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM and I loved it! Awesome for portraits and these kind of stuff photos 🙂 I still don’t have processed all my favorites, so hang on, here is just one that I like, more will come.

Sunset Portrait

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Posted: April 28, 2011 in Blog
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So today I finished and printed out my bachelor paper. I’m really excited about it and as a gift for my work I bought this fenomenal lens. Tested it out yesterday in the shop and bought today. What should I say?

Well the build quality isn’t as good as the L-series glass, but I knew it. Lens it self has good weight, the sealing isn’t the best and body isn’t made from metal. But what!? The most important part is glass and I can tell you I haven’t ever seen a better aperture (I didn’t shoot with f/1.2 version).

Canon 85mm f/1.8 Test

This lens is more than you pay for. The cost is quite low on lens with this quality. I can shoot all day long wide open at f/1.8 and images will be tack sharp and perfect. After all you can check it out on the samples.

Focus is nice, quick and snappy. With USM I can autofocus and than fine-tune it using aperture ring without switching from auto tu manual focusing. And check that superb BOKEH! I gonna love this lens 🙂

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 Bokeh

This time I’d like to tell you something about a cool app. It runs under Adobe AIR so you can use it on Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad and other devices. It is called The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE). You can download it from here. And what it does?

It uses Google Maps with internet connection to give you all info about sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset. But not just times but also it shows you the direction! It is based on date and place so you can take a look on next week if you’re planning some trip. Let’s say I want to shoot some outdoor portraits on specific place and date. I’ll just put in that info and it will show me the time sun will set, give me info about direction, I can imagine where the sun will be positioned etc.

It is really useful app so check it out, it’s free. If you don’t like it, you can always delete it 😉

Some time ago I posted an article about Orton Effect. Now I want to show you a result. In the video included with the post it was used on objects not people. That doesn’t mean you cannot use it that way. Just give it a try and you can make some great portraits. Be aware, it will move a bit to the dream side so you have to decrease the power of effect or deal with it somehow else. Anyway, here is the final image.

Am I Awake or Having Nightmare?

Am I Awake or Having Nightmare?

Some time ago I posted an article about who inspires me. It is Jeremy Cowart. His style is killing, his vision is awesome. Another photographer can be Cliff Mautner. I won’t write here anything about his Bio or something like that, you can google it out. Of course, you can check his website or visit some of his boot camps. But Jeremy, Cliff and many other great photographers are on one spot – Kelby Training Online!

It may see as some king of advertisement but I’m not payed for this. Kelby Training is cool website where you can learn from other professional photographers. But it isn’t just about learning. Take a look on some shots and try to redo them in your enviroment. Because you see how they did it, what settings they used, where was the light, how intense was the light, what modifier was used, where was photographer, were was model etc. you have more than plenty info.

But Cliff is absolutely crazy photographer! He strarted out as a photo journalist and now he shoots weddings. I took a look on his first class, essensials of photography and was just blown away! I didn’t think it could get any better, but than I saw his video of shooting beautiful brides and it was even better! And with his third training video …. well you can figure it out!

It changed my hierarchy levels in photography.

  • Succer (can’t shoot but behaves like if he was shooting like Joe McNally)
  • Tourist (classical point-n-shoot guy)
  • Amateur (guy with interest in photography at starting point)
  • Euthusiastic Amateur (he’s getting better and better)
  • Semi-Pro
  • Professional Photographer
  • Scott Kelby
  • Joe McNally
  • Chuck Norris (yeah, he’s everywhere 😀 )
  • Cliff Mautner
  • Jeremy Cowart

Everybody who is starting in anything needs to be inspired. It can be a person, it can be an achievement and it can be a ton of other different things and subjects. I have many “Gurus” in photography, especially in portraits. Here I’d like to stop for a sec and tell you a bit about NAPP and Kelby Training Online.

NAPP stands for National Association of Photoshop Professionals and was founded by Scott Kelby. He is one of the Photoshop Guys and a great photographer. His company, Kelby Media Group, founded another series of webs and smaller independend parts like Kelby Training Online, Kelby Training Live, Photoshop User Tv, D-Town etc.

Kelby Training Online is a cool website where you can pay for membership and you can watch videos with the best photographers. It is a bit how they do that. But it isn’t just about photography, there is a lot of Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Web, Flash, Premiere and a bunch of other software. Basically this is the place to learn stuff about shooting. You can find there photographers like Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, Rick Sammon, Scott Kelby, Jeremy Cowart and more.

All these guys inspire me and they are telling me, throught the videos, how to shoot. When I’m interested in lighting I watch some Joe McNally classes. The Ultimate Guru for me is Jeremy. His portraits is awesome! If he told me, that this show was made next to the public toillets, I wouldn’t believe him and even think he is crazy! But I saw it on the video, I saw what he did and the whole story of taking the image. For me, Jeremy is the guy I should be learning from, his tips are killers!

Adorama TV posted a chat with Jeremy so you can check it out.

Generally you can make portraits it two destinations. One is studio and the second one is everywhere else. In studio you have total control. You can change type of light, direction, power, aperture, ISO and other stuff. Images can be ruined just by you. I enjoy more shooting outside. Not everywhere, I don’t like shooting in pubs and houses, but I love shooting in nature.

With this type of portraits you can have huge trouble with light. We can divide light to 4 groups. The most important are hard light and soft light. Soft light is easy to use and you can have soft light, when there are a lot of clouds outside. They are like a huge softbox and give you great light. Just point your model’s face a bit up to fill shadows under eyes so you won’t get the racoon eyes.

But what about hard light? Well you can use diffusers to softer your light. But when you don’t have anybody who could help you? Shoot into the light. Position your model between the sun and you. This will have two effects. First will be beautiful soft light on model’s face and second will be something we call rim light. But be aware, there will be huge differences in exposures on model’s face and sky.

And here is another example, this time with sky behind models. As you can see, the sky is a lot brighter than faces and I had to use flash to compensate or just shoot for their faces. But it is also a nice portrait 🙂

Double Portrait

Shooting shooting people 🙂

So finally after a long time I took my favorite 70-200 on trip to Prague to make some portraits and street shots. Weather was great for people shooting, sky was grey and light was very soft. How I said, great conditions. I wasn’t following any people but used another tactic. Location is very important so I picked it first and than waited for people to come into the scene.

How I said, location matters a lot. Another thing you should be interested in are your camera settings. For these portraits/street shots I didn’t have enought time to set my aperture and shutter speed manually so I used aperture priority. Actually I’m in Av mode 70 % of all shoots. My 70-200 is f/4 so not so fast as it’s bigger f/2.8 brother. And also without IS. So one of my goals was to have fast enought shutter speed to have sharp shots. This means shooting wide open at f/4, which is cool and I like the bokeh it gives me. Trouble was with ISO.

My Rebel XSi/450D has DIG!C 3 processor and their noise is just terrible. With higher ISO

Woman in Red

setting, your photo will get less sharp in comparison with lower ISO. First few minutes I was at f/4 and ISO 1600. When I reviewed the images, my shutter was 1/1600s. It was so fast I was happy for it and lowered ISO to 400. Sometimes I had to move it to ISO 800 but it is still better than ISO 1600.

The Shoot

A lot of attention is drawned by red color. When you want a person to pop-up, let them wear red stuff. Just like woman in my picture. This can help you a lot.

Another great tip is to use your style of photography. I really love shooting wide open with long glass. It gives me ability to separate the subject and make them stand out from the rest of the scene. With big apertures I can also say “this is important” or “look here”.

Sometimes I also pick a subject and then take more than one shot of them. Now I don’t mean shoot in servo mode or continuous but making different shots. Just like images of this young girl I saw sitting on a bench.

Waiting and Poping

As you can see, thanks to shallow depth of field she is crisp sharp and everything around her is blurred. That makes people mind saying “she is important”! And I wanted that. After this shot she saw me and we said hi. She didn’t have any trouble with me taking photos of her so I continued. Why should I be standing and shooting from top, I sit down on bench on the oposite site from her and continued shooting.

Here is the last shot from today’s shoot. What I like about the portrait? The girl has dark hair and background is also dark. Because I was shooting into the sun I was able to get that nice rim light. You can see it on her hair. Some people in studios use extra strobe just to get this kind of light. You can have it for free 😉

Hi, some time ago I was shooting some portraits as I mentioned in my article. Since that time I processed some photos, one of my favorite and another 5 or 6 for my cousins, they posed me as models. The first portrait is really cool and I was looking forward to process it, here you can check out the final result.

Today I processed mostly in Photoshop portrait of my second cousin. I won’t tell you how I processed it because I might do another post about it … or video might be better 🙂 But anyway, here is the final image of Pavla 🙂

 

Pavla - Photo taken with Canon EOS 450D/Rebel XSi, Canon EF 28-70mm @53mm, ISO100, f/8, 1/200s

OK, so after some time processing in Lightroom and Photoshop and few episodes of Gilmore Girls I finally finished the first favorite portrait. In this post I’ll tell you all the settings I used in the camera and lighting. Of course I’ll show you a small drawing with light to know where it was, in what position was model and where I was shooting from.

 

Portrait Setup

Here you can see the basic setup. I bought for this event a 32″ shoot-thru umbrella. Why that small size umbrella? Well to be honest I with this type of umbrella you can get it very close to your subject and my 430 EX II isn’t powerfull enought to light the whole umbrella, it has a bit problems even with my 32″. Yeah and BTW, this umbrella is made by Lastolite, I wanted some quality product. Flash was setuped manually at 1/8 power and this all was mounted on my second tripod, the Hama Star 62.

I was shooting with my Canon 28-70. Great lens for portraits because you can get wide shot and than zoom in for head shot. My favorite 70-200 lens had not been used so much as I wanted to but 28-70 is also great lens, a bit old but very, very sharp. My 450D was setuped at ISO 200, 1/200s and f/5.6. Lens was zoomed in @53mm. Here is the final shot, hope you like it!

 

Portrait