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First Natural Light Portrait

By conrad
I have a few studio lighting portraits in my portfolio, but to be honest I've never really felt completely comfortable in a studio situation. So I decided to try natural light portraits. And having received an anniversary present (25 years as a translator/interpreter) and having bought a nice new lens for it, I decided to ask my nephew's fiancée Maud for a test session - just a quick shoot outside in between some showers.

What do you think? I think my lens performed well, but how did I do? Smile (I'm putting this in the Critique Gallery, so I'm actively inviting critique comments, and just giving a vote isn't possible. I really appreciate comments!)

Thanks for looking!

Tags: Portrait Light General Natural 18 Outside 45mm Portraits and people Maud

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rontear Plus
19 23 9 England
10 Sep 2013 6:42PM
Perhaps a reflector required just to add a little more sparkle to those eyes !! Conrad. A good image out of your comfort zone.
paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
10 Sep 2013 7:24PM
Generally nice. A couple of things. There are areas of skin just a touch bright. You used -1/3 stop compensation. -2/3 might be just a touch better. I would have liked eye contact. That is a lovely smile, but at someone else. It should be at me. Hence, looking into the lens.

The eyes need a catch light. You can add them easily in software but, more natural, is a weak flash fill at half power or less. Little effect on the image, but a catch light in each eye.

conrad 18 10.9k 116
10 Sep 2013 8:12PM
Interesting comments, thanks!

I had -1/3, but as you said, Paul, maybe it should have been -2/3. I wasn't getting the 'looks' on her face that I wanted, so I told her to look at her fiancé - but on reflection, maybe I should have asked him to stand behind me. And speaking of reflection, I have now bought a reflector. Smile

Good suggestions, Ron and Paul, I appreciate it!
banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4337 Canada
10 Sep 2013 9:07PM
Really natural shot.

I love her smile, and that tilted wall. Catch-lights in the eyes will make it better I agree, and the ones you can place in PS are indistinguishable from a flash. The negative of using flash would be risking overexposing her face. The exposure here is really good as it is.

Apart from the catch-lights, the skin tone, to me at least leans a little too much towards blue and red, and Ive made a small adjustment to this in the mod, which also has catchlights, ans a different crop with her head lower and further right.

The second mod has has -1/3 applied.

A well done supernatural potrait.


banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4337 Canada
10 Sep 2013 9:20PM
Sorry, mod 3 is -1/3, the other two are the same image.

conrad 18 10.9k 116
11 Sep 2013 7:54AM
Thanks for the mods and the comments, Willie, that´s very helpful. It is, as Ron points out, all a bit out of my comfort zone, so I´m expecting a learning curve here. And the examples and pointers certainly help.

kaybee 18 8.5k 27 Scotland
11 Sep 2013 8:11AM
Hi Conrad - your other types of photography have been pretty much mastered and I suspect it will not be long
until you have done the same with portraiture.

Sometimes things came look just too polished and perfect where every 'rule' has been followed.
I like the obviously natural smile here - it really does make you wonder what she has seen. Okay, it would
be nice if she had been looking at the camera but here, in my opinion, not essential because everything
looks natural and somehow unposed.
As for catchlights, again, not always needed and to add them in very soft lighting like this may well look wrong.
conrad 18 10.9k 116
11 Sep 2013 9:06AM
Thanks, Roy. I´m not so sure about ´mastering´ the other types of photography (to be honest my self-confidence in that respect is a bit low at the moment), but I appreciate the compliment, and think I might start liking this portraiture thing. Now what I want to do next is muster the courage somehow to find a 'real' model. We'll see how it goes.

Thanks for your comment!

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