First shoot with single lighting for portraits

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by laura_dunn, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. This was my first shoot using a single strobe and umbrella set up.
    The umbrella was up and to the left of the subject, lighting through
    the umbrella, rather than bouncing. There is also a small window,
    about 6 feet to the right of the backdrop set-up, on the same wall.

    Wondering what I could have done to improve these shots- as far as
    lighting. The black backdrop is my favorite, she liked the one with
    red the best. Is the light too harsh? Is there enough light? Tear
    me apart, I have a LOT to learn.
  2. You could use a white card under the subjects face to slightly open some of the darker shadow areas. Otherwise, very good first shoot.
  3. Not a bad first try. More fill from below would help as would a lighter exposure. A softer (larger) light source would be something to try as well as a seperate background light and maybe a hair/seperation light. I like the one with the red background too. I think the lighting and exposure is best on that shot.

    BTW if you make your image 5" at the longest dimension, at 72-100 PPI and use a caption, the photo will appear in your posting rather than as a link.
  4. You need more contrast in the midtones.
    I made another layer, adjusted the contrast in 16bit with levels, painted the t-shirt back to more of a midtone (as it was) using an auto mask, and blended the line of her undergarment with the clone tool at about 75%.
    Adjusted skintone with the Reds in Selective Color by reducing cyan and increasing magenta and yellow.
    Selected her eyes with the lasso tool, made them another Layer and increased contrast in her eyes with levels. Used auto mask and painted all back to normal except her eyes (made the whites brighter and the iris darker).
    Flattened layer, used clone tool at 30% flow and opacity and smoothed under her eyes... t
  5. here's the original... t
  6. Thanks Tom, that looks great! I need to learn a lot more about photoshop.

    Thanks to everyone for feedback, I'm looking forward to improving and posting again!
  7. Wecome to
    Your light is nice. Be sure to use RAW file capture, layers for all corrections, 16 bit mode for all tonal and color corrections, and keep the light as close as possible to keep the shadows under her eyes (wow) and lips (ditto) from being too deep/dark. You might like a Softliter, as it sets up like an umbrella, but the center rod unscrews, which lets you place it really close, like a soft box. They're pretty affordable... t
  8. You actually do good work already. You just need some fine tuning (don't we all).
    Check out the tutorials on DVD from I like them because you can work along, stopping and starting with the instructor and play them over and over again for the same $125. Way better than a seminar or a book... t

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