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First Shot at indoor portrait

First Shot at indoor portrait

mark jones

Indoor house lighting used.


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Not bad for a first try, especially with indoor light, though it looks like you had some flash involved. Regarding the model; nice smile, but try to get them to look into the camera, or look profound; she looks like she was distracted the moment you tripped the shutter. Next time, stear clear of the busy background; simple=better. Always, always try to get the flash off camera; get it above, and try to bounce it into or off from something; also consider a reflector of some sort; it will leave less burn marks. Finally, many women seem to not enjoy sideways pictures involving their arms. This angle seems to make them (the arms) look bigger than they are. Different pose angles can be used to minimize, which seems to be what everyone wants.


Good luck, and burn lots of film.


Responding, because not too many people here take the time to respond.

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I agree with what Rich said, at least the parts I understood. My first thoughts were that the model has a nice smile, the background was very distracting and too similar in color to what the model is wearing. I can't be more helpful than that, because I am just learning myself. But I know how it is to post something and get no response at all.


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Yeah, I dont like the way the eyes arent looking at the camera. In my experience, the only type of portrait that consistently works well with the eyes not directly at the camera are full body portraits of bodybuilders, with their eyes looking at a point about a foot above the camera. I wouldnt advise you to try making "profound" portraits until youve had a bit of experience with B&W photography. It simply works much better for that sort of stuff.


I can see that you chose the curtain as an attractive background (flowers, etc.). As Rich said though, simple=better. Especially in this case, because the subjects attire does not contrast strongly with the background, so you dont want a distracting background. If you do decide to include a background as part of the composition (flowers in this instance), use a smaller aperture to increase the depth of field so you get it all in focus.


It looks like the model is sitting, which would explain why she is leaning forward slightly. This looks a bit stiff, but would not do so if we could clearly see that she is sitting. So maybe include more of her or get her to straighten up a bit (which might feel unnatural, but will look better in the photo).


My advice is to not use flash at all, because direct flash flattens everything and leaves highlights all over the show, and bounced flash is featureless and dead, not to mention unpredictable unless you are vastly experienced (I shoot a good bit, but wouldnt care to have to guess where the shadows will fall when bouncing flash). Window lighting or interior bulbs with black and white film is the way to go if you have no dedicated photographic lighting.


Portraiture is one of the most difficult disciplines of photography, and one that takes considerable practice before getting even half-decent results. Keep at it and the rewards will be great!


PS. When shooting vertical, keep the shutter release side of the camera down, and squeeze the release with your thumb when handholding -- this is easier to hold without shake than the awkward elbow in the air method you used here.

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