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Old 03-18-2007, 10:36 PM #1
tonybhall
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ghetto studio pics

Hey Guys,

This is my first attempt at anything even close to "studio lighting." Usually I'm doing action shots outside with only the light God gives me to work with. So, this was a little out of the box for me. Plus, I don't own any studio lighting what-so-ever. But, my wife's best friend just had a baby (4 days ago) and wanted some newborn pics so I got drafted. So, a quick trip to Walmart for 3 yards of black material and a couple of regular house lamps later and presto.. ghetto studio. C&C please.

***Hey Twitch... this is just the oppertunity you've been waiting for. A chance to rip nice guy tony a new one. This has nothing to do with how nice and helpful I am here. It's just about the pics. Lets have it.

1


2


3


4


5


6
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:19 PM #2
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the lighting just looks really flat.
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:29 PM #3
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Not bad for your first time I'm sure. And in 6 you caught the wall
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:35 PM #4
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not bad for using lamps

btw, I got your voicemails.. my cellphone died completely and my wallcharger won't work.. my car charger is the only thing that works .. I'll give you a call tomorrow
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:36 PM #5
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I have a basket like that in my living room for magazines...Why is there a baby in it?
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:36 PM #6
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Just on a comical note, you can see his coin purse in one of the photos.

Beautiful son though.

As said before, I think they would benefit from a little better lighting.
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:43 PM #7
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thanks for the comments...

it's not my son. But yeah, I'm sure they'd be better with some good studio lighting. But she asked if we'd do it and I was looking for a reason to try it out anyway. So I sayed, sure.

I just noticed that I caught a little of the wall on the right side #6. I sent my wife to walmart to get me 3 yards of black fabrick. But the peice she got for me was only 3 or 4 feet wide so i was very limited by the vary narrow background. It makes trying different angles a real pain in the arse. I know I could have just had my subject reposition every time I wanted a differnent angle, but I was dealing with a 4 day old child and a woman that just gave birth 4 days ago... so requesting a lot of position changes was not advisable.
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Old 03-18-2007, 11:48 PM #8
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the last one looks pretty good compared to the other ones
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:02 AM #9
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Originally Posted by tonybhall View Post
thanks for the comments...

it's not my son. But yeah, I'm sure they'd be better with some good studio lighting. But she asked if we'd do it and I was looking for a reason to try it out anyway. So I sayed, sure.

I just noticed that I caught a little of the wall on the right side #6. I sent my wife to walmart to get me 3 yards of black fabrick. But the peice she got for me was only 3 or 4 feet wide so i was very limited by the vary narrow background. It makes trying different angles a real pain in the arse. I know I could have just had my subject reposition every time I wanted a differnent angle, but I was dealing with a 4 day old child and a woman that just gave birth 4 days ago... so requesting a lot of position changes was not advisable.

Blame the wife more Tony
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:05 AM #10
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Originally Posted by Crises of Perception View Post
Blame the wife more Tony
that's the standard line. Everything's her fault. Unless she's listening, then it's all my fault. I'm not stupid, ya know.
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:10 AM #11
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#4 is just flat out weird...
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Old 03-19-2007, 12:46 AM #12
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I understand what you were going for, but I would have tried a different color. Honestly I would have tried a really light blue or something suitable for the 'it's a boy!' theme. Black is great, but its just weird when it seems as though the baby is levitating in a black nothingness. A lighter color would show a shadow or something under the basket or baby, creating a 'level ground' that the baby is on. As i said, the straight black shows me as though the baby is floating on nothing.

Also, if you were going to use black, I don't think that the mother should have worn black since as you blacked out the background, you also blacked out her shirt. Thus creating her floating hand and she just blends into the background. Too me it seems horrid.

The white balance seems off as well, seems as though they were under tungsten lights and you didn't set your WB to it, or you could have shot in RAW if you didn't already and just edited it there.

Finally, I feel as though some of the shots were a little soft. That could have just been because of the lens and its inability to focus in the low light, or the lens just isn't tack sharp. Maybe trying it next to a window in the day time to bring a little more natural light in order to focus, plus bring out more of the color tones.

Other then that,

Then again, I'm new to this whole photography thing and maybe I'm just spitting out B.S.
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Old 03-19-2007, 02:57 AM #13
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#3 creeped me out for a moment because there was a random floating hand.
I also suggest something other than black. Especially if one of your subjects is wearing black.
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Old 03-19-2007, 06:51 AM #14
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hey guys,

thanks for all the comments. especially antihero, I appreciate it anytime anyone puts in the time and effort to leave a really thoughtful C&C (good or bad).

Oldskool- could you elaborate on my #4 is weird? Is it because his mom is patting him on his bottom? As a parent that doesn't seem weird to me. But then after you wipe a kids butt a few thousand times and deal with all the stuff we do as parents, you really do have to re-define weird. ha ha

Anti-Hero.. Like I said, i really appreciate the thoughtful C&C. I wanted to try several different color backgrounds. But, we went with black only for a couple of reasons. With my VERY limited lighting situation I was trying to knock out the hard shadows that my flash were going to create. That's much easier to do on black than any other color. Also, the mom wanted a "classic" look to the pictures. She is wearing black because she didn't want to draw attention to her (specificly her body). She just had a baby 4 days ago. We put her in a back shirt so that she could cradle the baby in an somewhat upright position while I took close ups of the baby. That way she just blended into the background.

I do wish that she had been wearing a differnt color shirt for the "floating hand" shot. That was not a planned shot. We were just doing the shots of the child in the basket and on the scale. When the baby would cry, his mother would put her hand on him to soothe him. I thougjt it looked sweet so I snapped a couple of shots. But I totaly get what your saying there.

And yes, the shots are soft. Which is the way I intended them to look. I like soft portraits. Plus, this child has a REALLY bad case of baby acne all over his body. I was trying not to draw attention to that.

Does anyone else think my WB looks off? On my screen it looks fine on all the photos except #6. And on number 6 I was going for a very warm soft tone so I'm fine with that.
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Old 03-19-2007, 09:46 AM #15
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Tony, this set is just wierd man! wait... weird... wierd...

ok **** it

This set is just strange because of the lighting. Everything else is pretty straightforward but the lighting is just surreal.

You've got a super low key background in the really deep blacks, personally, with a low key background you absolutely NEED to see some shadows, otherwise the eye is left wondering "why the **** is the background so shadowy but the subject isn't? Was it cut and pasted in?" and that's the overall feeling I'm getting. It does look a bit cut and pasted because the lighting is so flat and even with very little shadow.

Except on the last shot. I'm not sure why you didn't do this for every shot because the last one is really really good in terms of lighting. The woman's face is shaped nicely by the lighting, and she looks like she belongs in the scene rather than being cut and pasted in.

Black backgrounds are tough man. They're evocative of shadows in the background and I feel that for them to work, your subjects must feel like they are "rising out of the shadows" rather than necessarily just being in front of the shadows. Some deep shadows on either side of the subject would have worked pretty good, I think this kind of set up would be ideal for rembrandt lighting. If part of the face disolved into shadow there would be a much more tangible link between the subject and the setting.


Still, at the end of the day something has to be said for the value of capturing these important moments. 20 years from now this woman ins't going to look back and say "you know, I wish he'd done rembrandt lighting on my face, maybe gone with a higher contrast ratio as well" she's going to say "look at this beautiful moment between me and my baby". That counts for a whole lot, and I'd be really surprised if she didn't love these shots.

Points have to be given as well for mixing up the settings a bit. Babies don't really do anything at all, so adding props is a great way to get a variety of shots out of a more or less unchanged subject. The scale shot is a bit odd though

On second thought though, the lighting has a bit of a surrealist 80s theme to it, with floating hands and disembodied things floating all over the place. I think if you went really weird with this set it'd have a bit of an esoteric surrealist appeal to me, and I'd probably love it. However, the woman in that case would probably say "ok, a baby in a frying pan floating in space... are you on drugs?" and she wouldn't get it. You and me though, I'd appreciate the absurdity of it all and hail you a genious



On a technical side, if you're using house lamps without a dimmer, you can move one of the lamps way further away to decrease it's light output (on the scene anyway). This way you could get more dynamic lighting ratios.
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Old 03-19-2007, 10:40 AM #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elTwitcho View Post
....I think this kind of set up would be ideal for rembrandt lighting. If part of the face disolved into shadow there would be a much more tangible link between the subject and the setting.
DAMN IT!!!!!!! That IS a good idea. ****! Why didn't I think of that? *&$#% @*&#@ $#&@*.

OK, now that I've got that little rant out of the way. I've been wondering where you were. I've had my butt cheecks clinched all night waiting for the hammer to fall. But that wasn't so bad. I mean, on the ST photo forum standard scale of "You Suck" to "****ing Awsome," Weird, Weird is a pretty decent rating, right?

OK, seriously, I have some questions.

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You've got a super low key background in the really deep blacks, personally, with a low key background you absolutely NEED to see some shadows...
based on this, the problem with my set isn't execution, it's conceptual, becuase it was my intention to knock out all the shadows. So, when you say I need shadows for this type of background, are you saying I need to have shadows casting on the background or on the faces of the subjects, or both?
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Old 03-19-2007, 10:56 AM #17
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Except on the last shot. I'm not sure why you didn't do this for every shot because the last one is really really good in terms of lighting. The woman's face is shaped nicely by the lighting, and she looks like she belongs in the scene rather than being cut and pasted in.
to be completely honest (which I've learned from being married IS NOT always the best policy). I stumbled on that by accident toward the end of the shoot and decided that I liked it and did the last few shots like that. But yeah, that was my favorite shot from the bunch. I think the mom will love it. I think that shot convays her deep feelings for her child. Kind of like at that moment, her and her child were the only people in her world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by elTwitcho View Post
Still, at the end of the day something has to be said for the value of capturing these important moments. 20 years from now this woman ins't going to look back and say "you know, I wish he'd done rembrandt lighting on my face, maybe gone with a higher contrast ratio as well" she's going to say "look at this beautiful moment between me and my baby". That counts for a whole lot, and I'd be really surprised if she didn't love these shots.
I really appreciate those comments. Because to me, that's really the bottom line. I take a LOT of pics of children, mostly playing sports, and I still hear from parents of kids I took shots of 5 or 6 years ago that tell me how they look back over those pics that they couldn't have gotten themselves. Some that say if I hadn't been there those memories would have been lost. Now, those shots will never hang in a gallery, or be on the cover of sports illustrated, or even draw a ton of praise in a forum like this. And that's ok, becuase that's not why I take them. I take them because 20 years from now, those people will have my photos to go along with their great memories. Those photos hang on the walls of real people's homes and in real peoples hearts. And I'll take that over an Art Gallery anyday.

But having said all that, I am very glad that I came across this forum because it has really motivated me to want to do different things and work on improving my shots, not for other people, but for me.

Thanks again for the comments.
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Old 03-19-2007, 10:57 AM #18
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Quote:
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OK, seriously, I have some questions.



based on this, the problem with my set isn't execution, it's conceptual, becuase it was my intention to knock out all the shadows. So, when you say I need shadows for this type of background, are you saying I need to have shadows casting on the background or on the faces of the subjects, or both?
No, the background can stay completely in shadow if you want, but you need to link the background and foreground. If the background is shadowy, your subjects need to be shadowy, faces or otherwise.

If you wanted no shadows, a white background would work better.

For a good example of rembrandt lighting... a portrait of rembrandt painted by rembrandt



See what I mean?
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Old 03-19-2007, 11:11 AM #19
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yeah, I know what you were saying when you were talking about rembrandt lighting. I just didn't make the connection between that comment and the earlier one about shadows (Im heavily medicated right now and not thinking all together clearly). Yeah, as soon as I read where you said rembrandt I was like "****, why didn't I think of that." I said that in my head. You can't say **** like that out loud in my house unless you want a 2 year old running around saying stuff like **** and **** and ******* and .... well, you get the point.. ha ha...
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Old 03-19-2007, 11:18 AM #20
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You can't say **** like that out loud in my house unless you want a 2 year old running around saying stuff like **** and **** and ******* and .... well, you get the point.. ha ha...
I'm not explicitly saying that my current choice of colorful vernacular had anything to do with my upbringing (I drove with my dad as a toddler, one of the few times I drove with my mom she was surprised to see her three year old son shouting "****ing *******!" at the elderly gentleman who caused her to slam on the brakes), but yes, I certainly do get your point
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Old 03-19-2007, 06:39 PM #21
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yeah, i agree, the color in the lighting is very monochromatic. more shades of black/grey or even whie would be good, and shadows also.
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