First attempt at portraits

robclarke

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I have had a first go at portraits with a large format camera. Not perfect but it is a start. Linhof master technika 4x5, Schneider 210 f5.6 wide open, Ilford HP5 processed in Ilfotec HC 1:31:
img304 by biotecbob, on Flickr

img305 by biotecbob, on Flickr
 

Alan9940

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Rob, I'm not a portrait guy so, please, take my opinions with a healthy dose of salt. ;)

I really like the first one, but I'd personally prefer just a bit more "breathing room" between the top of her head and the edge of the frame. Not much mind you...just a wee bit more.

In the second image, the crop along the top of her head IMO looks more like a mistake than something planned. If you're going to crop in on body parts, it should look like you meant it that way; like you did in the first image. Cropping below the knees as in the second image is generally to be avoided.

Anyway, as I said I don't do portraits so others may find fault with what I've said here. I mean my opinions as constructive only.
 

robclarke

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Hi Alan,

I think I did crop a bit off the top on the first so there might be room on the negative for what you suggest.

You are right, that was a mistake on the second. I have tried to further crop it to make it work but I don't think I have been successful.

Thanks for your comments.
 

KenS

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Rob, (from past experience of having to make annual 'portraits' for 75+ scientific staff), might I also suggest that rather than having a 'full frontal' of the subject have your subject face 'about' a 30 to 45 degree angle from the camera lens... but with the face turned directly in towards the lens. you should request that the model NOT lean backwards... but lean 'a little' towards the camera. (elbows usually IN.. but not "tight').

The 'main' light to the 'front of the face and if possible a white 'reflector' close enough to provide some reflected fill from the side almost (but not always) opposite the main light. You might also consider having a lower wattage 'hair-light' (up... sort of higher... and from the rear...) almost 'opposite' from the main light to 'skim' the back of the head (using 'barn doors' to limit the spread'... and not shine right into the lens) thus provide a more 'three-dimensional' image of you subject.

I would also prefer you leave a bit more 'empty space' above your subjects head for a 'portrait'... so... be willing to crop a bit 'tighter' on the lower. You should not need knees unless it is a 'full-body-seated-in-a=chair

Hands, if included, should have the fingers (in most occasions) be slightly 'curled' (very loose 'fist) but there will be occasions (especially with female subjects) where hands can be placed slightly 'overlapping' with palms 'down' on the 'lap'

From what-its-worth-but-your-mileage-might-vary Ken
 

Stephen Batey

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You didn't ask for comments and I assumed that the post was just a demoonstration - after all, you explicitly said that they weren't perfect ;). However, since I don't think anyone else has mentioned it, the first thing that struck me was that something had already struck your model - to judge from the black eye in the first photo.
 

Mathieu Bauwens

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I do prefer the first one, the movement of the camera is too heavy to my taste in the second one.
I quite like the frontality of your portrait and the contrast in your lighting design.
 

martin henson

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I think its a great start and the tones are really good, the second is all about experimentation and shows what can be done with camera movements, I also think that that not enough members post images on this forum as it can be a great help in learning as with the images in this post.

Regards
Martin
 

robclarke

Member
Registered User
Rob, (from past experience of having to make annual 'portraits' for 75+ scientific staff), might I also suggest that rather than having a 'full frontal' of the subject have your subject face 'about' a 30 to 45 degree angle from the camera lens... but with the face turned directly in towards the lens. you should request that the model NOT lean backwards... but lean 'a little' towards the camera. (elbows usually IN.. but not "tight').

The 'main' light to the 'front of the face and if possible a white 'reflector' close enough to provide some reflected fill from the side almost (but not always) opposite the main light. You might also consider having a lower wattage 'hair-light' (up... sort of higher... and from the rear...) almost 'opposite' from the main light to 'skim' the back of the head (using 'barn doors' to limit the spread'... and not shine right into the lens) thus provide a more 'three-dimensional' image of you subject.

I would also prefer you leave a bit more 'empty space' above your subjects head for a 'portrait'... so... be willing to crop a bit 'tighter' on the lower. You should not need knees unless it is a 'full-body-seated-in-a=chair

Hands, if included, should have the fingers (in most occasions) be slightly 'curled' (very loose 'fist) but there will be occasions (especially with female subjects) where hands can be placed slightly 'overlapping' with palms 'down' on the 'lap'

From what-its-worth-but-your-mileage-might-vary Ken
Thanks Ken and everyone else, that is some very helpful feedback and I will take it on board for next time. This was done using natural window light. I think next time I will turn the subject more to the light as you say. I think I might also get a bit closer for a tighter crop but leave some space above the head. Indeed, I don't think I would use as much tilt as I used in the experimental shot.
 
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