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By xwang
Fighting through more than a dozen of Amateur Photographers outside the club hall, I got this shot, .... I know now it's not easy to be a Pro. Grin
Ignore the setting, not set by me, I might do Aperture 8, or seemed that I broke the group's 'rules', they were taking B&W with high ISO, I was trying the flash..
It was bit under exposed, I put a exposure layer on the model, and some basic PS work.
I have no experience of portrait. My question is: What shall I do with the shadow? From portrait image point of view, is it a big problem or not? Thanks.

Tags: Woman Flash Portraits and people


LynneJoyce Plus
11 22 100 United Kingdom
11 Mar 2014 7:46PM
I am not as concerned with the shadow as I am with the tree and those 'eyes' in the trunk that make it look like it has a competing face. IMHO this image needs cropping to take those tree eyes out and out the lady's eyes at the line of thirds. If it were mine I would fart about endlessly to diminish the impact of the background whilst maintaining the wonderful clarity of the subject! but that's me (and I would frame it, of course!)

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dudler Plus
16 973 1535 England
11 Mar 2014 8:13PM
Rules are generally made to be broken - but using on-camera flash doesn't usually get anything more than a record shot. Art, it is unlikely to be!

Shadows are usually far more of a problem with built-in flash: here, the dark background largely conceals it. I don't know what the existing lighting was like - it may have been harsher, but intersting, or far more subtle.

A bit issue is that you have the model dead centre of the frame, which tends to be a boring composition. I'll upload a couple of mods, putting her on the "Thirds" - a third of the way up/down/across the frame.

You have a camera that many would come close to killing for: and it's a pretty decent bit of kit. Us it to the maximum, though - wind the ISO right up, and try very hard never to use the flash!
NEWMANP 11 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
11 Mar 2014 8:57PM
what you take is what you take, if its flash then make the best of things afterwards.

first impression is obviously flash, a little stark but not too bad, nice combination of the greens of the tree and the scarf. shadows on the right can be cropped out easily and there is a bit too much tree above the head, it just takes the eye away from the face.

i did a couple of mods,

in 1. i did the crops, fiddled about with the contrast a little and added some glow (minimal amount) conversion to mono and darkened it down to make it look more arty.

in 2. since i like the colour combinations of hair colour, bark and scarf i did the same crops added some nik efex glam glow. i love the result of this one.

just to show that what ever you take, it can be presented differently if you wish to do so.

paulbroad Plus
12 131 1285 United Kingdom
12 Mar 2014 7:28AM
This shows why club portrait sessions are not usually a good idea. The girl looks embarrassed, maybe a bit frightened and has her eyes in the corner looking at someone else. You have to start somewhere, but better with a one to one basis and time to think and pose.

You need to talk to the model, relax her, make her want to look nice and be photographed.

So, other than the expression, get in much, much closer. Fill the frame with her face and use a diffuser on the flash. That way you can get a decent result, even from an on camera gun.

xwang 10 56 8
12 Mar 2014 10:08AM
Thank you Paul. I totally agree with you. This was the first time that I participated club model shooting, because I wanted to try the flash. I feel the club practice is a bit 'deadly', the models either sit or stand there, people circle a small crowd and get the similar shots, and eventually you see the photos in the competition...Grin Two lights stood there as studio setting, I thought if I could try the flash to get different light direction and make the portrait more interesting, I was told that I didn't need the flash... I did intend to ask her to do something for me, even pulling faces..Grin but I thought it was the club's night, some people might not like it. When we moved to the outside, it was too, too dark, they tried to use high ISO, get the grains for mono, some people had to try manual focus, she didn't model for me, I couldn't get closer, I was 'sidewayed'..Grin Most of the time she smiled, I thought that the poor girl's face must be tired...only somebody mentioned to put her photo on the local paper, she gave a big smile....

Thank you Lynne. I was(am) a bit single tracked..Grin. I only thought about how the flash worked.. and if the shadow was a big problem or not.. I didn't quite notice that the 'third eye' was watching as well. I couldn't see it at the location.

Thank you Dudler for the comment& MODs. The first crop is interesting. As I said it was impossible to see the tree eye at the location. It was 10pm in the garden with very dim road light. But since we've seen the tree eye now, I would like to have a shot with her eyes rolling up towards the tree eye...that would be interesting Grin, thanks for the idea. Thank you for the advice about the flash. I actually don't use flash(&tripod, because I can't carry them), I wanted to learn a bit how to use it.

Thank Phil for the comment and MOD. I did want to get some ideas(experience) about flash settings in different light conditions combined camera settings... but failed to do so.
I tried some mono images on this lot as well, they came out beautifully... Personally I do like mono, but I find that it is more difficult to get everything right in colour. Thanks again, Phil.
nonur Plus
10 18 13 Turkey
12 Mar 2014 10:34AM
I agree with Lynne. Cropping from the bottom as well would make it a square.
dark_lord Plus
15 2.4k 598 England
12 Mar 2014 4:35PM
This is the problem with such shoots, everyone fighting for position and getting the same uninvolving shot. No chance to properly experiment with lighting and posing. I think you've discovered that!

This image looks like it's a snap taken on a night out, you couldn't do much else in the circumstances. On-camera flash is not flattering. At least with the dark background the shadow is less noticeable, and indeed the mono mod has come to a reasonable rescue.

I note your sympathy for the model, it's not easy at all to be natural and pose in a situation like this, indeed into which lens does she look? You need to have a rapport with the model, at the very least a one to one shooting relationship.

cbrundage 6 4 United States
22 Mar 2014 7:39PM
Interesting photo - I like it more than the other one. She looks sort of scared! Black and white, it could have been a scary picture!

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