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Peter De Smidt
21-Jan-2016, 08:35
As was mentioned in another thread recently, studio portraiture with LF can be quite challenging, especially if the photographer doesn't have any assistance. I hope this thread will be a good place to talk about helpful techniques for being successful at LF studio portraiture.

I've recently done a little studio portraiture with an 8x10. For me, the biggest challenge was seeing the entire picture. It's so easy for something like a reflector to inch it's way into the picture without being noticeable from behind the camera. While this may not be a problem with super-bright screens and reflex viewers, it can be with older cameras, lenses that need to be stopped down to working aperture..... One thing that help is a whole page magnifier, a Fresnel. I set mine under the bellows of my Century so that it's easy to get to. For composing, I pull it out and place it up on the ground glass. Tilting it a bit can really lighten up specific edges. Once the composition is set, I put the magnifier away and grab a loupe.

One other thing I've learned is that I have to take my dark cloth system seriously. Getting rid of extraneous light really helps with viewing the ground glass, and if I'm fighting with the dark cloth, I'm not paying enough attention to the picture. I'm going to have to rig up something that is more secure and block more of the light.

The best thing, though, would be to have a couple of assistants. One to load the camera with film holders, and one to adjust lights....

How about you? What things have you done that have helped you with LF portraiture?

BrianShaw
21-Jan-2016, 08:57
I work single handed, but I'm not a pro or in a commercial setting. What works best for me is always knowing my equipment and procedures without having to think. Organization and attention to detail has been the key. Consistent process so there are no surprises or questions... like is this film already exposed, do I have film in this holder or not, what film is in the holder...

If I can do it, anyone can.

DrTang
21-Jan-2016, 10:00
I seem to be always lopping feet off

but the hardest part is getting the dang models to hold still between the focusing and the exposure

they just do not get it.. and tend to stay 'kinda still'

oy


they are all used to digital slr workflow

SergeiR
21-Jan-2016, 10:37
In studio - tracking modeling lights are best thing since sliced bread. And then of course metering technique.

But yes, decent ground glass helps A LOT.

seezee
21-Jan-2016, 12:45
I put my modeling lights at full power to see where the light falls, then either switch them off or set them to tracking. I compose & focus with the room lights on, then switch them off. Always check that the trigger hasn't gone to sleep while I was fiddling with the camera set up by manually firing the lights once before I squeeze the shutter bulb.

You're so right about the models keeping still. I'm using a 𝒇/3.0 Petzval lens with razor-thin DOF, so the biggest challenge is trying to get someone to laugh without moving his or her head out of the plane of focus!

Alan Gales
21-Jan-2016, 16:08
The Blackjacket focussing cloths get really dark. I've got one for my 8x10. It is a little fussier and takes a little longer to use than the BTZS that I used to use for 4x5. Everything is a trade off somewhere.

If you are interested there are plenty of videos on Youtube about the Blackjacket.

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
21-Jan-2016, 16:24
Sometimes it feels like cheating, but a single lens reflex camera like a Graflex makes portraits much easier, and "f/3.0 Petzval lens with razor-thin DOF" is no problem.

Of course with a Graflex you are limited to 4x5 or 5x7.

Peter De Smidt
21-Jan-2016, 16:51
I have an 8x10 BlackJacket which I use in the field. It is a good solution, but it's a little small, at least for me. It doesn't fit on my Century 7a, though.

Unfortunately my (Speedotron) modeling lights don't track light output.

swmcl
7-Apr-2016, 14:00
Sorry for the ignorance but what is a tracking modelling light ? Is it a light hanging from a rail on the ceiling ?

Peter De Smidt
7-Apr-2016, 15:49
A tracking modeling light is one that changes brightness when the strobe settings are changed. My 4803 pack has no provision for changing the level of the modeling lights. They're always full on or off, no matter how many watt-seconds will be used during the flash. My 805 packs allow me to manually turn down each modeling light according to the power that the flash will be for that head. Fancier lights do this automatically. The advantage of tracking lights is that you can set them by eye, taking only a reading for the key plus fill. If the modeling lights don't dim in sync with the strobe settings, then you have to take reading of each light, and the image might not look like it does on the back of the camera.

seezee
7-Apr-2016, 17:48
A tracking modeling light is one that changes brightness when the strobe settings are changed. My 4803 pack has no provision for changing the level of the modeling lights. They're always full on or off, no matter how many watt-seconds will be used during the flash. My 805 packs allow me to manually turn down each modeling light according to the power that the flash will be for that head. Fancier lights do this automatically. The advantage of tracking lights is that you can set them by eye, taking only a reading for the key plus fill. If the modeling lights don't dim in sync with the strobe settings, then you have to take reading of each light, and the image might not look like it does on the back of the camera.

The Paul C. Buff Einstein E640s are are an example of an entry level light with this feature.

MAubrey
7-Apr-2016, 17:59
The Paul C. Buff Einstein E640s are are an example of an entry level light with this feature.
Buff's even cheaper AlienBees, too!

Tobias Key
8-Apr-2016, 02:57
These are the things that I have found really useful when I shoot people (which is pretty much all I do with a large format camera).

A tall stool really helps people stay in the same plane of focus, and was one of the best and cheapest investments I made in my portrait photography.

Where possible I have gone for blacking out as much of the ambient light as possible in the studio, so that the modelling lights are the main or even only light in the studio. This makes it much easier to compose on the ground glass without necessarily using a dark cloth, although I still use one for fine focusing. If I'm in my house I make sure I draw the curtains or even black out the windows with newspaper. This does make your living room look like a serial killer's lair so make sure you explain why you've done this to your subject!

I use quite a strong loupe, a 8x nikon. I did use a 4x Schneider but found it did not magnify the eye enough in most of the shots I composed.

I shoot with conservative f-stops, f16 or f22 usually. I have found that shooting close to wide open makes the whole exercise much more frustrating, and places much more pressure on your subject. Everything gets much more static and slower the wider the stop you use, not to mention you'll have to accept a proportion of wasted sheets from focus issues.

I have proportional modelling lights which I use for trying to work out lighting ratios, but I put them to full power once I have worked that out to make focusing easier. I save them when I can to avoid blowing the bulb though.

Patterned or tie-dyed muslin backdrops work well with large format, they blur off quite pleasingly and can hide uneven development that be painfully obvious with a paper backdrop. Make sure they are back far enough from the subject and lit separately from the subject though, unless you want everything you do to look like a mall portrait from 1985!

Here are two examples from my last shoots which have put all of the above into practice. It's cost me a fair old bit in film and processing, not to mention a few frustrating days of reviewing processing/focusing mistakes, but I think I have a consistent, repeatable method now.

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1681/25909679761_2d38e4b6a4_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/FtxT7z)Arielle Fox 3 (https://flic.kr/p/FtxT7z) by Toby Key (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tobykey/), on Flickr

https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1510/25230516379_fa22657b86_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/ErwZv6)angel 2 (https://flic.kr/p/ErwZv6) by Toby Key (https://www.flickr.com/photos/tobykey/), on Flickr

richardman
8-Apr-2016, 03:29
re: thin DoF
He has to put blood on his teeth right before the exposure, meaning he has to turn his head etc.

Paper backdrop, F8 withe the PS945. I have done a couple hundred sheets now...

http://richardmanphoto.com/PICS/20160205-Scanned-1426.jpg

mdarnton
8-Apr-2016, 05:26
As I've worked on my portrait project, my lighting has gotten more and more simple. Currently I'm down to one light, and a 2x3 foam core reflector on a stand, with middle-dark grey background paper. Once in a while I'll use a small hair light if I think the concept needs it. This makes the fill a lot easier to handle without it looking fake, or without getting double highlights in the eyes. This is traditional portrait ban that I see often now in other people's photos, and it really bothers me because it makes eyes look nervous and chattery. I'm sensitive to this now, am not above touching out extra highlights. I often will add or change them so that they make more sense, especially if one's missing on the shadowed side.

Mostly I use a 2x3 gridded softbox, and that's certainly the most useful, but sometimes an umbrella, or even one small gridded reflector. I go through lighting phases, and for a while now I've been using a very high key light, which started when I had several subjects in a row with glasses, and liked the resulting mood. The more I work with the reflector the more I like it. I've learned that just as with fill lights, there are several ways to use reflectors, and I'm starting to think about expanding my reflector collection. Using a reflector helps me not overlight, and I think the results are more natural.

For focus, I have active people settle into a comfortable old oak office chair with arms so they don't move around. For the calmer ones I have a small adjustable-height table that they can lean against, and that keeps them from wobbling around. I have only 300WS strobes now, but have been considering getting one big one so I can stop down a bit. I'm going to try a bare reflector, closer, first to see if I can pick up a couple of stops that way.

The biggest problem I have is with composition. I don't feel comfortable composing upside down. My personal style of framing depends heavily on balance, and I can't sense that well in such darkness and wrong way up, worse with 8x10. On 8x10 I find myself rarely filling the frame, to the extent that I'm considering falling back to 5x7 all the time. In 35mm I never crop, so I'm irritated by my inability to do this in 8x10. To compose, I have to flip the image in my mind and look at it subjectively in my imagination, which is not my style, intentionally considering things such as is the subject looking into the picture or out. These are things I would naturally sense when right side up. I suppose I will get better at it with practice.

This is done with a gridded soft box, feathered towards the reflector so strongly that the subject asked if I knew that the light wasn't pointed at him:


https://farm2.staticflickr.com/1468/26177694432_1b986a78bd_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/FTewxb)

Larry N (https://flic.kr/p/FTewxb)
by Michael Darnton (https://www.flickr.com/photos/michaeldarnton/), on Flickr

Peter De Smidt
8-Apr-2016, 06:39
Thanks for the write-up, Michael.

I have a fairly small space to photograph in, and I prefer to use light modifiers with grids. I have a 28" Fotodiox dish reflector with grid that I use a lot for the key light. I have a bigger Octobox, which is a great source, but I don't have a grid for it, or I'd use it more. For hair lights, I've been using 11.5" reflectors with 20* grids.

jnanian
8-Apr-2016, 06:42
i trained with a lady who was doing it since the 20s / 30s. all lf ( 5x7 by the time i was there )
it was all about knowing your gear, and being good with barn doors. she had simple lights
first they were continuous lights until she couldn't get bulbs anymore ( no internet back then )
then she went to the vacuum cleaner looking photogenics. her modeling lights didn't track but that is OK
she had a key and fill ( and hair /background lights for that 3-d effect ). that's all she used, whether it was a
pr/newspaper promotion social advancement portrait, a head to toe with the american flag of the governor, or a full on
rembrandt lit karsh-esque portrait. sometimes too much just gets in the way of the portrait and simple is good.
I've been thinking of putting my strobes ( 2 300WS monoblocks that i use with soft boxes) in storage and ...just using L lights i have
they are just barn doors and a flood light, the original lowel lights ( and available light )
continuous really lets you see what you are doing so much better than trcking strobes. you understand the lights better, see if you use barn doors or
a soft box/louvers/honeycombs what they do, better, and when you move a light 2x the distance away how it effects what you are doing.
while it is nice to have a stable of assistants feeding you loaded film holders, and moving lights around and directing everything
sometimes just simple lights you set up and a camera you know like the back of your hand, and 5-10 film holders you pre-loaded with film is all you need.
nothing's worse than fumbling around, being nervous.

i agree it does feel like cheating when you use a graflex slr. it makes it a lot easer not to have to hope the person didn't move
by the time you loaded the film, or stopped the lens down or ? and bag mags make it easy to just cycle through a lot of stuff before having to reload.
i think they made a 8x10 version, didn't they maybe a mythic 1 or 3 of them?
or maybe i am thinking of the TLRs made by peter gowland...

Peter De Smidt
8-Apr-2016, 07:14
Tungsten light are great to use. Hurrell especially liked that his subjects didn't know when he was taking the pictures. The downside, though, is heat, which can also be a safety issue. Eventually, I'll look at some of the focusing LED spots...

Noah A
8-Apr-2016, 07:24
I've been doing quite a bit of studio (or portable makeshift studio) work on 4x5. I think the key is practice. Having an assistant to work with is great, but often that's not in the budget, and it's not really necessary most of the time.

I find it helps to explain to the subject how everything works, for example in the past I've had people move after I pulled the dark slide because they thought that was the photo. So by explaining the process they're more likely to stay still. Also, at lest for the first few photos, I quickly re-check the focus and composition after I take the photo.

I normally shoot at f/22 with a 210mm lens on Portra 160 or FP4, both of which I shoot at 100.

This is probably obvious, but I've found that it's important to be somewhat fast so you can shoot as soon as possible after you get the focus nailed down, since people tend to move slightly. I recently came up with the idea to place a small piece of gaffer's tape on the shutter to limit the aperture lever to whatever setting I'm using. That way I can stop down the lens very quickly without looking.

I tend to prefer small-to-medium, directional light sources. I often use a profoto beauty dish as a key light, but more recently I've been playing around with strip banks too. And I often use a harder source, like a profoto magnum reflector, as a fill placed close to the camera lens. It gives a great catchlight and since the power is relatively low, it doesn't make it's own shadows. Occasionally I'll use a 7-foot parabolic reflector as a fill, placed directly in line behind the camera. It's more forgiving and does a nice job of generally opening up the shadows. It can light up the background a bit, which can be nice But I don't like the catchlight as much, and even as a fill it needs a decent amount of power.

Don't forget bellows factor if you're shooting close.


Some cool videos for inspiration. For the second one, the actual shoots start around the 10 minute mark.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZTGXhWjAf4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4mL1gIW_gg

Peter De Smidt
8-Apr-2016, 13:23
Here's the Speedotron 8" Fresnel 8 feet from the backgroud.

Narrow:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/gitna7k751pqkoy/Fresnel_Narrow.jpg?raw=1

Wide:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/0jrck3z7dcqvg63/Fresnel_Wide.jpg?raw=1

AtlantaTerry
8-Apr-2016, 15:12
A tracking modeling light is one that changes brightness when the strobe settings are changed. My 4803 pack has no provision for changing the level of the modeling lights. They're always full on or off, no matter how many watt-seconds will be used during the flash. My 805 packs allow me to manually turn down each modeling light according to the power that the flash will be for that head. Fancier lights do this automatically. The advantage of tracking lights is that you can set them by eye, taking only a reading for the key plus fill. If the modeling lights don't dim in sync with the strobe settings, then you have to take reading of each light, and the image might not look like it does on the back of the camera.

Actually one does not need "fancier lights" for tracking. Any Alien Bee strobe from Paul Buff, Inc. will do it. I own seven.

$225 Alien Bee 400: https://www.paulcbuff.com/b400.php

All of the Bees: https://www.paulcbuff.com/alienbees.php

Sorry, swmcl, but I do not know what is available in Oz.

Noah A
8-Apr-2016, 18:18
They're also called proportional modeling lights, and I agree that they're very handy. My key light is often at full power, but it's nice to see the effect of th e other lights. Especially since the days of polaroid proofing are over for the most part.

I thought this was a pretty standard feature these days on most studio strobes.

Peter De Smidt
8-Apr-2016, 19:16
It probably is standard. My Speedotron units are likely 20 years old or more. They're heavy, bulky, and basic....but they're also super heavy duty, very reliable, fast recycling, high output, inexpensive used, and there's a ton of reasonably priced accessories for them, and they can be easily repaired. I like them. When I worked at the Kohler Company photo studio, they had Speedo packs that were at least 30 years old still giving reliable daily use.

mdarnton
8-Apr-2016, 21:18
This thread got me to grazing Ebay and Craigslist to see how cheaply I could pick up one single 1200 or 2400WS light, to get me down to f/22 or 32, but thinking about it, it seems like there must be a special place in hell for people who fire those things off four feet away from their portrait subjects. Is is not as bad as I think, or am I right about that? I know I don't much like shooting self-portraits with my little 300WS things.

Peter De Smidt
8-Apr-2016, 21:27
Well, as an assistant, I've had these things get set off in my face from a foot away. That's no fun. I'm thinking of you, Jeff L.! The key is to have a lot of lights on so that people's pupil's are small when the flashes are fired. The bright 250watt modeling lights on high help. This is how it was done for decades. As long as the sitter isn't especially sensitive, it should be ok. When I come down to Chicago next, I can bring a pack and head so that you can see for yourself. I can tell what a speedo pack is set at by sound. At full power they (4803 packs) make a whaaaamp!

In your softbox, you might only need a 102 head with a 805 pack. I'll test mine with a 48" Fotodiox Octobox tomorrow.

mdarnton
8-Apr-2016, 21:35
Thanks. I'll be interested in that.

swmcl
9-Apr-2016, 13:49
Cheers to those who responded to me,

Terry, Oz has the same mains voltages as Europe pretty much. So I've imported kit from the UK.

My kit has some Bowens 1500ws and 1000ws. Neither have tracking but variable modelling lights. At present, I don't have anywhere to shoot so I used the back porch the other day. Results are being posted back to me this week.

swmcl
9-Apr-2016, 14:12
Personally, as I don't have an acceptable digital camera, I am waiting for something to crop up so I can use it when doing a shoot. I think that I'll be able to measure each light separately with the flashmeter and set them up without the subject present (usually my impatient kids) then use the digital camera for fine tuning. The digital camera is a very distinct advantage here I would think.

I've got a feeling that one would arrange a studio and be shooting a similar light set-up most of the time. For example, taking shots of various family members or paying customers would be the same, or very similar, each time. There is the full body - vs - head and shoulders variation that would be the greatest difference I guess.

Steve

mdarnton
9-Apr-2016, 14:22
I think you may find that a digital camera initially will not tell you what you need to know--they have a way of working somewhat different than film. I find that if I use what looks good in the digital camera I underexpose, consistently. That's my experience, anyway. However, for years I didn't use a meter at all, and now that I have one, I hardly ever use it. After you get a feel for how they work, the nice thing about strobes is that they do the same thing every time, especially in a studio.

The photographer I worked for in high school had tied a length of string on each of his lights and would set the lights to various knots on the string, which represented specific exposures and lighting ratios. It was fast, and reliable.

richardman
9-Apr-2016, 16:40
I am now using a pair of Acute 2 at 1200Ws, but I used to use Acute E 600Ws. I like to use a giant softbox, so F11 is the most I ever use and I typically use F8. Of course, usually I take at least half body portraits. Anyway, I can't imagine taking studio portraits at F22!!

swmcl
11-Apr-2016, 02:31
What I can't stand is the silly percentage figure of flash -vs- ambient on the Sekonic. That and the battery drain for such a new device (L-758DR).

I've just got my photos back today. My kids are the Scottish complexion. My daughter in particular being a redhead with freckles looks pretty awful with Astia. YUK ! It seems that Astia photographs several skin layers deep or something. Every vein, every freckle and the red lips !

Portraits with slide film just doesn't work. I've got to remind myself of that !

Tobias Key
11-Apr-2016, 03:01
I am now using a pair of Acute 2 at 1200Ws, but I used to use Acute E 600Ws. I like to use a giant softbox, so F11 is the most I ever use and I typically use F8. Of course, usually I take at least half body portraits. Anyway, I can't imagine taking studio portraits at F22!!

If you shoot with a 210mm lens at 6ft you get 6" depth of field at F11 or 1ft at F22, it's not really a huge visual difference, it just gives you a bit more slack.

SergeiR
11-Apr-2016, 07:33
Buff's even cheaper AlienBees, too!

What you pay is what you get, in case of lights.
(I have immense gripes against quality of light with PCB's light products. Love power packs though)

MAubrey
11-Apr-2016, 07:42
What you pay is what you get, in case of lights.
(I have immense gripes against quality of light with PCB's light products. Love power packs though)

Yeah. I'm with you. If I had the extra $3000, I'd definitely have a couple 1000w/s Profoto D1's instead of my x3200's, but such is life. The inconsistent color balance shot to shot can be a huge problem. I'll probably never shoot color film with them. It's less of an issue with B&W and a non-issue with digital (where color temperature isn't recorded in RAW and can be changed with no IQ loss).

SergeiR
11-Apr-2016, 07:53
Yeah. I'm with you. If I had the extra $3000, I'd definitely have a couple 1000w/s Profoto D1's instead of my x3200's, but such is life. The inconsistent color balance shot to shot can be a huge problem. I'll probably never shoot color film with them. It's less of an issue with B&W and a non-issue with digital (where color temperature isn't recorded in RAW and can be changed with no IQ loss).

Actually there is IQ loss in digital. I had so many shots ruined with dMF by PCB stuff when i was renting studios and too lazy to bring my own lights - its not even funny. That was why i went hunting for used EL heads (and got them for price of ABs, btw, from studio in LA) :)).

--

Richard - its very odd that you can't get to f22 on iso100 with 1200w/s head and simple soft box. But then W/S output is weird measure, unfortunately.

SergeiR
11-Apr-2016, 07:58
What I can't stand is the silly percentage figure of flash -vs- ambient on the Sekonic. That and the battery drain for such a new device (L-758DR).

I've just got my photos back today. My kids are the Scottish complexion. My daughter in particular being a redhead with freckles looks pretty awful with Astia. YUK ! It seems that Astia photographs several skin layers deep or something. Every vein, every freckle and the red lips !

Portraits with slide film just doesn't work. I've got to remind myself of that !


Hm. I have may be older 758DR, but it typically eats one battery per year or may be half year, if i keep using them to trigger PW.
Never used ratio feature though. I always do it by hand (well. by head.. but still ;)).

Astia.. eh?

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8470/8418101445_04b92b2c6e_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/dPSYh6)Newborn (https://flic.kr/p/dPSYh6) by Sergei Rodionov (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sergeistudio/), on Flickr

I actually like it most of all the Fuji's chromes..

Btw if i remember right - this one is with PCB light

SergeiR
11-Apr-2016, 08:00
And this one is outdoors with EL Rangers.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8429/7613339580_d616b19798_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/cALmBw)Wonderland: teapot (https://flic.kr/p/cALmBw) by Sergei Rodionov (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sergeistudio/), on Flickr


Astia as well

MAubrey
11-Apr-2016, 10:43
Actually there is IQ loss in digital. I had so many shots ruined with dMF by PCB stuff when i was renting studios and too lazy to bring my own lights - its not even funny. That was why i went hunting for used EL heads (and got them for price of ABs, btw, from studio in LA) :)).
Well, I can only speak for my own experiences. I'm thankful to not have experienced such a thing in my own shooting.

SergeiR
14-Apr-2016, 09:18
Sorry.. Didn't mean to jump about it on you and sound all high and mighty :) Its just one of my pressure points...

Here is example Where it shows wrong WB, restored WB, correct WB (built with WB card).

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4139/4862485353_e548ff4fea_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/8pFvun)Sample5: wrong, restored, correct (https://flic.kr/p/8pFvun) by Sergei Rodionov (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sergeistudio/), on Flickr

Now, back to actual LF portraiture.

As far as lighting help

- good meter, good lights are the best things
- decent lighting book or video. Dean K is great, but there are also whole bunch of video tutorials by Monte Zucker and some other prominent folks (and it also will walk through posing a bit).

next best thing is to have enough patience to use inanimate objects to figure out things before you got live breathing subject. In that regard no matter what kind of portraiture we talking about - LF or even digital.

And then , if you truly into dorking with light - some cinematography lighting books, to figure out how to mimic some situations by lighting.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8042/7990599436_3a7f0bf9aa_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/db6UPN)These mornings (https://flic.kr/p/db6UPN) by Sergei Rodionov (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sergeistudio/), on Flickr

seezee
14-Apr-2016, 10:48
Sergei, could you spare a few words on choosing locations and props? Do your models typically work with a stylist or costumer?

SergeiR
14-Apr-2016, 14:12
Sergei, could you spare a few words on choosing locations and props? Do your models typically work with a stylist or costumer?

Oy.. thats a huuuuge topic to cover.

In short - its 50/50 - I do have quite large collection of dresses that been donated by people (including photographers, btw) to me or i bought. Same goes for props. Of course if shoot commissions for magazine then typically there is stylist present and props might be provided too.
When I am shooting at home studio it typically would be me and my wife throwing stuff together and playing with concepts. Sometime we would come up with something and just build it. I am extremely lucky that way, plus she is great MUA ;)

Generally speaking as with anything else - it just takes time. Like it takes time to find right people to work with.

I am VERY shy person in real life so its extremely hard for me to just walk to someone and go "hey, can i use your bar for a shoot?", so locations are tough for me, but i do get by , other people helping me quite a bit :)

E.g

Shot above is basically studio shot with 2 flashes (one to fill in shadows and another bare one to create illusion of light through balcony door),
- couch was found in back alley by other photographer, who brought it in,
- cage was found by someone visiting studio
- doors on the right were scavenged,
- model is wearing chemise i got on eBay for 20$ (i got 3, they are AWESOME to do shoots with), her daughter actually wears bit of drapery, and there is another material bit just layered. She did her own makeup and hair style.
- "wood" on the floor is your typical laminate thrown on the cement flooring for the shoot, panel were pieced together and built ;)

seezee
14-Apr-2016, 15:19
Shot above is basically studio shot with 2 flashes (one to fill in shadows and another bare one to create illusion of light through balcony door),
- couch was found in back alley by other photographer, who brought it in,
- cage was found by someone visiting studio
- doors on the right were scavenged,
- model is wearing chemise i got on eBay for 20$ (i got 3, they are AWESOME to do shoots with), her daughter actually wears bit of drapery, and there is another material bit just layered. She did her own makeup and hair style.
- "wood" on the floor is your typical laminate thrown on the cement flooring for the shoot, panel were pieced together and built ;)

I'd have never guessed that this was not a practical location. Kudos, sir.

Kevin J. Kolosky
11-Jun-2016, 21:41
This is kind of old fashioned, but back when I was shooting portraits I used one main fill light off the back corner between the wall and ceiling, and I also used to string my other main and kicker lights. Made things a lot easier and quicker.

billie williams
12-Jun-2016, 08:35
Oy.. thats a huuuuge topic to cover.

In short - its 50/50 - I do have quite large collection of dresses that been donated by people (including photographers, btw) to me or i bought. Same goes for props. Of course if shoot commissions for magazine then typically there is stylist present and props might be provided too.
When I am shooting at home studio it typically would be me and my wife throwing stuff together and playing with concepts. Sometime we would come up with something and just build it. I am extremely lucky that way, plus she is great MUA ;)

Generally speaking as with anything else - it just takes time. Like it takes time to find right people to work with.

I am VERY shy person in real life so its extremely hard for me to just walk to someone and go "hey, can i use your bar for a shoot?", so locations are tough for me, but i do get by , other people helping me quite a bit :)

E.g

Shot above is basically studio shot with 2 flashes (one to fill in shadows and another bare one to create illusion of light through balcony door),
- couch was found in back alley by other photographer, who brought it in,
- cage was found by someone visiting studio
- doors on the right were scavenged,
- model is wearing chemise i got on eBay for 20$ (i got 3, they are AWESOME to do shoots with), her daughter actually wears bit of drapery, and there is another material bit just layered. She did her own makeup and hair style.
- "wood" on the floor is your typical laminate thrown on the cement flooring for the shoot, panel were pieced together and built ;)

Thank you for breaking that down, Sergei.

Rory_5244
12-Jun-2016, 18:31
I can't believe I'm chiming in here being the clueless portraiture 'noob', but a p&s digital camera recording black and white jpegs really helps me with lighting correctly. I use continuous tungsten lighting only, however.

AtlantaTerry
12-Jun-2016, 18:56
Sometimes it feels like cheating, but a single lens reflex camera like a Graflex makes portraits much easier, and "f/3.0 Petzval lens with razor-thin DOF" is no problem.

Of course with a Graflex you are limited to 4x5 or 5x7.

Not quite. There are 3x4" RB Graflex cameras. As I understand it, if you want to use a Kodak Aero-Ektar 178mm f2.5 lens, you need one of these smaller Graflexes. This is because the mirror is larger in the 4x5" and 5x7" bodies which means the rear of the lens can not get close enough to the film to focus at infinity.

For a lot more information on the subject, check out John Minnick's website: http://johnminnicks.com/

Also this thread: http://www.apug.org/forum/index.php?threads/converting-graflex-rb-super-3-1-4-x-4-1-4-to-4-x-5.100070/

EdSawyer
13-Jun-2016, 05:53
even with the 3x4 RB and an aero ektar, you won't get infinity without shortening the mirror, rebuilding mirror box, etc.

SergeiR
13-Jun-2016, 07:14
I can't believe I'm chiming in here being the clueless portraiture 'noob', but a p&s digital camera recording black and white jpegs really helps me with lighting correctly. I use continuous tungsten lighting only, however.

That is also way to go, instead of polaroids because eye , film , digital - all see light slightly differently.

However. Be warned that digital will see shadows differently from film, seeing as digital will always try to extract details, even when they not there, where film just goes "oh , screw you..." .

Peter De Smidt
13-Jun-2016, 16:10
That's a great characterization, Sergei!

SergeiR
14-Jun-2016, 08:35
That's a great characterization, Sergei!
;) thanks