Image Review for Child Portrait
So these are our first exposure shots. Alright, you can see that little bit of wind going through there, which is exactly what it is that I want. Just that movement in the hair and that movement in the dress. And then when we go forward, there was one of her laughing. Yeah. There it is. Aw, there was another one of her laughing when she was standing up. It was one of the last ones. Or did I not get it? Anyway, there's one of her laughing with a big smile, sitting down, and I just love that expression on her face because she looks like she's having an absolute ball. So yeah, in terms of looking at that image now, I know I'm gonna move that clamp, I'm going to move the bar up here and tidy up around there and then enlarge those balloons so they're almost touching. And I can already pre-visualize it and I'm really happy with how that turned out. That's exciting.
Wondering if there's a way we can see the setting on this again. Nora, would you--
Oh yeah, yeah.
So I, perfect, ...
I shot this at 2.8. And what I, I was still at ISO because my lighting conditions in here have not changed. And I was a third of a stop over-exposed when I'm looking at my meter. So when you frame up your image, when you're down and in your position and you push the trigger halfway to get your focal point, your meter is then going to adjust. So I'm looking at what my meter is telling me. It's taking in all the information that's in that frame and it's telling me where, at the moment, that that information is sitting, where it thinks I should take it. But it's always gonna try and bring me back to that middle point and space in a white metered. But on a brighter setup like this, I need to push that exposure just a little bit. I could take it a full stop over-exposed, but because I've got balloons up here and I've got a light coming in, and it's, this is going to be the brightest part of the image because it's the closest, brightest object to the light source, I don't want to potentially over-expose that. We've got a white dress and we've got a white stool. We have got a lot of darker elements in the image, as well. So when you look at your background, in the top right corner there, it's quite dark. Her hair is quite dark. And so those elements are going to confuse the camera, in terms of where it thinks my exposure should be. And that's why I know that, because of those brighter elements in the image, being in the foreground, I need to slightly over-expose to bring that exposure up so that I can get that perfect exposure in camera. But when it comes to getting that perfect exposure, you can't do it from looking at a thumbnail on the back of your camera. You have to have your histogram up. And then you've got to understand that the histogram is just a recording of all the information that's in that file. So it's gonna show you the highlights, it's gonna show you the mid-tones, and it's gonna show you the shadows. So I'm constantly looking at, am I potentially over-exposing those highlights, how much room have I got to go? And then I'm looking at those shadows, do I have enough detail in those shadows? And if I don't, that's where I've got to bring in a reflector. So understanding how your camera works and how it records the information that you are framing up is really, really important in terms of getting it right in camera. Because if you're not getting it right in camera, you're gonna then be playing with files in Photoshop or Lightroom or Camera RAW, and trying to adjust those exposures. And if you're using a higher ISO, you know, anywhere from 1200 up, and some cameras are incredible at high ISOs, but some aren't, but if you're under-exposing a photograph and then you're trying to bring up that detail in post-production, you are going to run into a lot of problems in terms of noise and banding. So you wanna make sure that you get that exposure right. And the only way to do that is to have the histogram up and be looking at that information and how your camera is recording it and telling your camera what to do. But the reason I shot it at 2. is because I want that beautiful depth of field. I want that focal plane to be very narrow and I want the background to be nice and soft and blurry. So that's why I'm shooting it there. And I'm focusing on her face, I'm moving that focal point, and I'm, got down low enough so that I'm on that same plane as her. So yeah.
I notice that you have some reflections in the balloon. Is that something you'd be concerned about when you're actually shooting, or would you just worry about that in post-production?
Yeah, I'd probably just tone those down. And in here, because we've got multiple light sources, it's a little hard for me to completely control, but in my studio, I would definitely take into consideration all of those different little highlights and try and eliminate whatever it was causing those. But yeah, here it's a little different because we're filming and I'd be dark if we didn't have any lights on at the moment, so it's, it's all part of the environment that I suppose you're in. But it is controlling that light and directing it where you want it to be. So whether you wanna add more light, you wanna reflect light, you wanna, you know, sort of take away light, subtract light, in terms of blocking it or using darker reflectors and things like that to pull it away, it's all part of that final look that you're going for, that mood and style that you're trying to create. But yeah, with this I, like that'll take me a couple of minutes to kind of remove in post-production, but you really would wanna try and eliminate those in capture, if you can. So yeah.
So a couple questions about the post that you're planning to do with this. Kathy Cook says, will you add, since we didn't get the dry ice to really work as your vision was, will you think about adding or try adding that in post?
So, not for this image. Because I'm trying to capture single-capture images, because I love entering competitions, it's a part of me that just keeps my creativity alive, it pushes me to create new images and to get it right in camera, I'll probably just soften down those clouds on the bottom and have a little bit of fun with those. But if I wasn't gonna enter this into a competition, I may go out and shoot some clouds, you know, and screen them over the top of this. Another way to add clouds in post is, if you do have a smoke machine or something like that, or you are somewhere with smoke, if you photograph that smoke on a black background, then you can overlay it and add that as a screen layer onto your image and it'll add some beautiful smoke in that foreground. But yeah, for me, with that end result potentially being an award entry, I wanna try and keep it as a single capture. So in post, I'll probably just use a little bit of blur to soften down that foreground underneath her.
We have a couple people asking about lighting. And so one is, is this a dimable light? Maybe you can talk a little bit more about what lighting were used here. And then the second half of this is, could you do this with, say, just a speed light?
Yeah, so you could definitely do this with any light source. It's knowing what those light sources are capable and then it's understanding your camera and knowing how your camera's gonna record that light. So if you are using different lighting techniques, that's fine. Just make sure you're aware of what those lights are capable of. So for this particular setup, I wanted it to be very bright and airy and light. So I needed a large amount of light to come in. I'm using an LED continuous daylight balanced light and I've got it on its strongest setting. So obviously, the closer I bring that light, you know, the brighter I'm going to make my subject so I'd have to change my exposure. And, obviously, it's gonna get a little bit more contrasty in there. So I wanna pull it back as far as I can and diffuse it with this large soft box so that that light really spreads. When it comes to lighting, you know, there are so many different ways to light things. And in my studio, like I showed earlier, I have so much available natural light. And I have to block it out most days because there's too much for what I'm working with. So often what I'm trying to do is just replicate, you know, that sort of being outside in a giant soft box. When you've got the sun in the sky and things like that, like for this, this is all I'm trying to do, is replicate a big, giant soft box of light just going everywhere and being diffused beautifully. But yeah, this is an LED daylight balanced continuous light. There are so many of them available out there, different brands, and when it comes to buying the right light for you, my best advice is to talk to people who know lights best. Go to trade shows, talk to people who sell them. You know, asking if you can hire them so you can try before you buy to see whether it's the right light for you. Because it can be a large investment and you wanna make sure that it's the perfect light for your studio, your space, and what you're trying to create with that light, as well.
If you were in your studio, would you have kept the ISO at 640, or was that just unique to this space?
Yeah, no, actually, I often shoot at 640. In my studio, it doesn't necessarily change much, the lighting there, because it's so diffused. I have very large, thick glass panes and in between two of those glass panes is a frosting. And it diffuses the light so beautifully, but after about, I think it's about 10:30 in the morning, the sun then starts to go above my building. So I don't have any direct light or anything coming in, so it's just a wall of really soft light coming in. And I just find that if I've got my ISO at 640, it's where I'm comfortable shooting at, in terms of the aperture and in terms of the shutter speed that I need to make sure that my photos are nice and sharp. But when it comes to ISO, like if I didn't have all of these additional lights on in here, it would be very dark. We've got a very dark floor, so it's gonna subtract light. I'd probably have to bump up my ISO because I think I was only at about 125th of a second, in terms of shutter speed. I will come down to a 60th of a second, hand held, but you do have to be so careful because if you want to nail that focus, you want a much faster shutter speed. So I'm happy around that place there and where my capabilities are. But it's all about practice, practice, practice and getting it right for you, in terms of what you're comfortable with. I know a lot of people aren't comfortable at shooting at 2.8, but it's, you know, it's a personal preference and yeah, I used to be quite concerned about getting my focus in camera and then I had a lot of students come to me, saying, I just can't get my focus, I can't get my focus, and what I found was, when they were taking their shot, is that the were focus recomposing at a very very, you know, small focal plane. At, say, either 1.8 or 2.8, and sometimes at 1.2. But I had to explain that that focal plane is so small that even that slight movement of focus recomposing can take you off your focal point. So that's why I always get my camera and I get my composition right, I then toggle my focal points to put that focus point exactly where I want it to focus. And then I take that shot. So I'm, my camera's not moving in my hand. So that's another thing to kinda consider, as well.