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Author Topic: Reverse Engineer this please  (Read 5720 times)

CJRodgers

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Reverse Engineer this please
« on: July 31, 2012, 10:36:40 AM »
Hi guys, Im having trouble taking my portraits to a level im happy about. Could someone explain to me how these were done, the first link being my faveourite. Has he used flash? If so would he have used an ND filter for shallow DOF?

http://www.redbubble.com/people/mufcaholic/works/9006838-ksenia-3?c=57577-people
http://www.redbubble.com/people/mufcaholic/works/9003301-ksenia-1?c=57577-people
http://www.redbubble.com/people/mufcaholic/works/9029090-ksenia-8?c=57577-people

Also if you look through his 'Strangers' Collection here im impressed with most of the light. Quite soft. I cant avoid worse shadows and hot spots when i try. Maybe im not post processing enough?

http://www.redbubble.com/people/mufcaholic/works/9029090-ksenia-8?c=57577-people

Some thoughts on this would be excellent.

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Reverse Engineer this please
« on: July 31, 2012, 10:36:40 AM »

RLPhoto

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2012, 10:44:34 AM »
It looks like just proper exposure with post-processing done. Dodge and burn.

The first one might be flash but I cant see the eyes enough to tell.

CJRodgers

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2012, 11:02:41 AM »
Do you know any good dodge and burn tutorials? I understand the theory behind it but I dont know exactly what parts of the photo need it and what opacity the brush etc should be.

Kernuak

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2012, 03:02:48 PM »
I'm not a portrait expert, but it looks like there has been some modification of light, either flash or a reflector. It also looks like he has overdone it a little on the last one, as part of her face looks blown. The first two could be lit by the sun, but, I would expect the background to also be lit by the sun too if that was the case, which is why I think it has to be flash or a reflector. While there could be some dodging and burning, there are always limits, not that any imperfections would be seen at the Redbubble display resolution and possibly would be hidden in most prints. I would still expect some shadows though. Knowing alot of the styles on RB, there is likely to be use of flash and probably quite a bit of PP/manipulation.
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wickidwombat

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2012, 08:45:43 PM »
There is a good dodge and burn tutorial at www.photoshopessentials.com loks like he is using a diffuser panel and natural light to me
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kurnitb

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2012, 03:38:51 AM »
Hi there mate,
I think he uses a softbox camera right as you could see a square reflection in her eye while underexposing the background a little bit. Regarding the ND, I would suspect so as it is pretty shallow DoF.

Regarding the quality of light, the larger your light source the better it is (gradation from light to shadow) and that's why people use huge softboxes, umbrellas etc.

Regarding techniques for lighting you could look into Joe McNally, David Hobby and Zack Arias for great tutorials.

Hope it helps.



briansquibb

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2012, 04:43:06 AM »
Hi there mate,
I think he uses a softbox camera right as you could see a square reflection in her eye while underexposing the background a little bit. Regarding the ND, I would suspect so as it is pretty shallow DoF.

Regarding the quality of light, the larger your light source the better it is (gradation from light to shadow) and that's why people use huge softboxes, umbrellas etc.

Regarding techniques for lighting you could look into Joe McNally, David Hobby and Zack Arias for great tutorials.

Hope it helps.

Definitely first one is flashed

Try Sym Arena for a good grounding on Canon Flash

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2012, 04:43:06 AM »

ereka

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2012, 07:12:07 AM »
Hi guys, Im having trouble taking my portraits to a level im happy about. Could someone explain to me how these were done, the first link being my faveourite. Has he used flash? If so would he have used an ND filter for shallow DOF?
Also if you look through his 'Strangers' Collection here im impressed with most of the light. Quite soft. I cant avoid worse shadows and hot spots when i try. Maybe im not post processing enough?
Some thoughts on this would be excellent.

Maybe I'm stating the obvious, but is there any reason you can't just ask Mat?

dr croubie

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2012, 07:19:13 AM »
I'd suggest reading this thread at TDP, from someone I'd call a Guru of lighting, they look similar to the first image you posted.
(go to page 11, if the link doesn't take you straight there).

It's better when Sean explains it, but in short:
Lens wide-open blurs the background better, but means you'll probably need an ND filter to get a sensible shutter speed (hence Sean loving his new Vari-ND).
Meter the lighting for the background at -1 or -2EV.
Set the model up with lights/strobes/flashes whatever to be perfectly exposed.
Getting a gorgeous model always helps.
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CJRodgers

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2012, 11:44:02 AM »
Thanks for all the replies. Really helpful. I did ask Matt but he never got back to me. I think he must be quite busy.


7enderbender

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2012, 12:51:58 PM »
I personally would try something like this with flash and high speed sync if conditions are too bright for shallow DOF. It's pretty easy actually. You just use manual exposure with wide aperture and fast shutter speed until the background is to your liking (a little underexposed in this case) and then add flash with HS sync to correctly expose the model.

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sb

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2012, 01:22:38 PM »
Hi CJRodgers, even though it looks like it, I don't think flash was used at all. The light was just beautifully diffused through the clouds. For example, here is one of my pictures which has somewhat similar look (I could probably find better examples, but I didn't have much time to look) - no flash, just clouds and a little bit of post processing:


NotABunny

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2012, 01:57:57 PM »
http://matrobinsonphoto.blogspot.ro/2012/06/dont-smile-xenia-photoshoot.html#more

I armed my very helpful sister with my big silver reflector and I had my orange flash (which I didn't really want to use, and mainly avoided)


He also lists his gear at http://www.redbubble.com/people/mufcaholic

- Canon Speedlite 430EX II
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« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 02:01:45 PM by NotABunny »

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2012, 01:57:57 PM »

DavidB

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2012, 02:36:24 PM »
The last 2 are taken toward sunset, when the sun is considerably less harsh than mid-day sun.  You can tell by the sun flares, to the top left of her head in the second one and in the far top right corner of the last one.  The 1st one might have been as well, but can't immediately tell.  Taking pictures at this time of day by itself will result in spectacular light with little other light sources needed (e.g. flash, soft box, reflector).  Adding in another light source definitelly helps (especially as you get closer to dusk), but not necessarily always needed.

It also looks like there is a large vignette applied to every picture in PP.  By itself the 50mm 1.8 has a lot of natural vignette when shot wide open, so this could be contributing, however there is definitelly a PP vignette applied.  Either way, the vignette is helping to dim the background around the edges and draw your eyes into the subject.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 02:47:36 PM by DavidB »

matrobinsonphoto

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2012, 06:40:59 PM »
Sorry, read most of these posts but not all... They are in fact my photos though and it has been a very interesting read seeing people's guessed at what I did! Only noticed this due to a sudden influx of views on my blog - so thanks for that!

Anyways... I'll enlighten you all:
1) Is natural light and (I don't think) any reflector either. The sun was over my shoulder but behind thin cloud so was essentially a sky wide softbox... really nothing more complicated and other than basic sharpening, few curves and vignette I didn't really do much to this one. Sorry to those of you who thought this one was flashed, certainly wasn't!

2) This was with sun behind her through thin cloud and reflector off to my left, just to add a touch more light but hardly any, as the sun wasn't out.

3) Was the same, but a lot more PP work.

Some general notes, also, are that no ND was used, just very low ISO... and don't believe I even had my flash with me for those ones...

All of the strangers shots, which can be seen in full here: (Don't worry about logging in)
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.217692531582977.61336.152850401400524&type=3
These were all natural light, no modifications but with carefully chosen buildings, shadows and walls wherever possible... obviously this is quite variable though... general single rule was to never take it in direct sunlight.

Anyway, ereka was write:

Hi guys, Im having trouble taking my portraits to a level im happy about. Could someone explain to me how these were done, the first link being my faveourite. Has he used flash? If so would he have used an ND filter for shallow DOF?
Also if you look through his 'Strangers' Collection here im impressed with most of the light. Quite soft. I cant avoid worse shadows and hot spots when i try. Maybe im not post processing enough?
Some thoughts on this would be excellent.

Maybe I'm stating the obvious, but is there any reason you can't just ask Mat?

Why did you not just ask? Would have been much easier! Thanks for looking though
Mat

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Re: Reverse Engineer this please
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2012, 06:40:59 PM »