Back Modifications (4)
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Julie and Beckie

By maggiem  
Had a bit of a 'play' with my 2 light set-up recently. Although Julie (on the left) really liked this shot, I wasn't sure, and felt that the shadows were a bit severe. Would appreciate some feed-back from you, and how I could possibly improve things for next time.

Tags: Portraits and people Flash and lighting

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


miptog 12 3.6k 61 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2011 7:51PM
The lighting does seem harsher than perhaps you would want for this type of shot. What was the lighting set-up (position, modifiers etc.) that you used, and what was the shooting info?

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maggiem Plus
13 339 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2011 8:07PM
I had one light with a soft box to the right, with the second, a little further back and slightly behind on the left. This one only had barn doors and a honeycomb to deflect the light a little. I feel I should have used a white umbrella to soften it a tad?

I should add that I am a real beginner to this type of photography, so any advice is extremely welcome.
miptog 12 3.6k 61 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2011 9:00PM
OK. Thank you. You may find it useful to explain the lighting position (think of a 24hour clock and where each light was on the clock), the size of modifier that you used, and the angle of the lights (45 degree etc.).

Comments purely on the lighting:

The main lighting is probably harsh as its too far away, and the softbox may not have been large enough. General rule is the closer the light, the softer the light, and it should be no further away that 2.5 x the diagonal (i think). A way to judge a good lighting position is to have the catchlight appear at about 10 or 2 o'clock. In this shot position looks about right but much too central in the eye. Also be aware of the speculat high-light, in that reflectance of the white cardi is much brighter than the face. You should be able to use the modelling lights to see how the light falls. The secondary light seems a bit too bright causing blow out of some of the hair, as as both models are looking in different directions it just seems a bit odd, to me.

However still a good shot, and the "customer" is happy with it, which is what really matters.

Hope it helps, and I am sure some more experienced studio togs will offer their advice too.
maggiem Plus
13 339 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2011 9:39PM
Thank you so much. A lot of useful info that I will take on board. Yes, she was very happy with it, and the pose was her idea. However, I was not that happy, which was why I put it up here. Thankfully, this was not a 'commercial' shoot, just some friends helping me practice, and I did get some other shots that I was more pleased with, although the lighting still needs some improvement.
15 Feb 2011 5:50AM
Philo 8 99 83 England
15 Feb 2011 8:04AM
I think this is really nice and I can see why they would like it. The lighting is quite harsh resulting in blown highlights but I can't offer any advice on the lighting as I have never done studio work. In any case I think Miptog has offered some great advice in that respect.
What I have done is offered a mod to tone down the highlights and lift the shadows to try and even out the lighting on the 2 ladies. If you shot this in RAW you may be able to recover more highlight detail.
Good stuff though and I look forward to seeing more of your studio work.
paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
15 Feb 2011 8:11AM
Technically the first impressions are good. I would have gone for double softbox or two white brollies set as reflectors. The lighting, whilst very professional, is more for the older sitter to show texture rather than a softer female effect.

The pose - not sure. Back to back means not happy with each other to me and says '' rather than together. Bette facing each other at two slightly different levels, or both facing the same way.

However, it is still very good as it stands.

maggiem Plus
13 339 United Kingdom
15 Feb 2011 8:45AM
Thanks for the mod Philo. It is much, much better. I did shoot in RAW and believe it or not, I did work on the shadows, but after seeing yours, obviously not enough - must try harder. Paul, I completely take on board the pose, and in future, I will remember the 'body language' bit,(this is mother and daughter, and they are great pals..)
banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3893 Canada
15 Feb 2011 6:49PM
Lots of good information above especially on lighting, and I would prefer the pose to be as Paul suggests. I would also prefer the younger lady in front of the other. And a good mod from Phil

Mod3 is a quick mod showing this change of position, - a little messy, but you get the idea, an very different shot.

The other mods are focused on reducing excessive shadow, de emphasizing part of the older lady, and adjusting skin colour a little.

Hope this adds to your learning from this.


maggiem Plus
13 339 United Kingdom
15 Feb 2011 8:53PM
Thanks Willie. The mods are great. I have downloaded them all, and printed off the responses to refer to for next time. This Critique Gallery is really useful, can't understand why I have not used it before.
Philo 8 99 83 England
15 Feb 2011 9:25PM

Quote:This Critique Gallery is really useful, can't understand why I have not used it before.

I couldn't agree more Maggie, I put most of my own shots here; a great place to learn!
maggiem Plus
13 339 United Kingdom
15 Feb 2011 10:24PM

Quote:I couldn't agree more Maggie, I put most of my own shots here; a great place to learn!

Hehe - looks like I will need to upgrade to E2 'cos at present I can only upload to this gallery once per weekWink

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