View Full Version : Lighting question

Bill Kumpf
14-Apr-2018, 12:23
I am working with both reflector fill and flash fill. My granddaughter likes them both I think the flash is too much. Also she thought the pole gave balance to the burnt out sky. I don't know.

Shot with a D5200.

Comments please. What do you think?

Ted R
14-Apr-2018, 12:28
My personal preference is for the first image, in which the lighting seems natural.

14-Apr-2018, 12:54
I think a little less flash on the right photo would have been better, and we wouldn't notice so much that it is flash. On the left one, I wonder where the reflector is--I think this one could have used a little closer fill to brighten it up a bit, especially her eyes. So basically in my opinion the best versions would have been right between these. If I were your daughter, probably not so aware of the technical shortcoming of too much fill, I'd prefer the right one..

Bill Kumpf
14-Apr-2018, 13:13
Does the pole bother you?

14-Apr-2018, 13:36
Nope. The pole sort of makes sense. I would probably be bothered if it were narrower than her head, but here it's just a background. What bothers me more is that the space next to it, to the right, appears to be exactly the same width, and then the dark area to the far right is exactly the same width, again, so banding becomes a visual element. I'd probably crop some from both sides to break that up but be careful not to create another equal-size band on the left, instead. (Just giving you more things to worry about. :-)

14-Apr-2018, 13:38
Use the sky as a light background and the pole as a dark background, as you did in the first image. Position the key light (flash) to camera right. Take care to avoid light spilling onto the post (dark background). Position the reflector to camera left. The pole is fine in the first image. Not my preference in the second image.

In hopefully simpler terms, reverse the lighting from what you have in the first image.

14-Apr-2018, 13:51
Try using the fill at 1 stop lower than ambient, just to fill the dark "holes" and give them a neutral color balance...

Will look more natural than "over-lighting" the face, and produces nice "catchlights" in the eyes with a single head...

Steve K

14-Apr-2018, 13:53
Nothing a little analog or digital dodge and feather couldn't fix.

Christopher Barrett
15-Apr-2018, 05:03
The first one feels underexposed, but I do prefer the lighting in it to the other. The flash feels too obvious. Try bringing it over to the right at a 45 deg angle. Your key light is the ambient which is coming from the left, so your fill should come from the right to soften the shadows, at maybe 1/2 or 3/4 the strength of the ambient (so lower the power too). I don't mind the pole on the closeup but do find it distracting in the wider shot.


Peter Lewin
16-Apr-2018, 04:57
Personally I think the question is whether you are trying to satisfy other photographers, or to make a portrait of your granddaughter. I think the right-hand "over flash filled" picture is a very nice portrait of a young woman, and only a photographer would react to the amount of fill flash. The first image is simply too dark to fully appreciate the subject. Technically I agree that you could power down the fill flash a bit, but I suspect if you show the images to your family, as opposed to photographers, the majority will choose the second image and won't even comment on the lighting.

Bill Kumpf
16-Apr-2018, 07:13
I was the only one in the family that was concern about the lighting. My grandkids are starting to graduate from High School and I want to do 4x5 portraits. I need the lighting right before I start burning sheet film.

Thanks for the comments.

19-Apr-2018, 04:11
Does the pole bother you?


19-Apr-2018, 06:52
more reflector in the first and less flash in the second

pole is okay for the headshot..but kinda bugs for the full shot as it breaks up the scene

20-Apr-2018, 03:35
I really don't know what I am doing with portrait work, but one time I was inspired to give it a try with a reflector only. My goal was to break some rules and shoot into the sun and use the reflected sunlight back on the faces. I used a long lens for shallow depth of field. I hope you don't mind if I post a few examples. This might give you an idea for using your reflector. I am quite inspired by the LF portrait thread but have never attempted portrait with 4x5. I hear you about wanting to get it right before burning that film.