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Topic # 153474 28-Sep-2014 12:27
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At the time, I didn't take my speedlight so we just made do ...

I do mainly landscapes so it is spring now so with some friends we headed to the botanical garden.  The Internet tend to say move into the shadow to take the shot etc. but what happens if the person wants the shot right there with harsh sunlight ie - shadows of tree branches on the person's face?  Is there a workaround?  I also don't have a reflector to add/subtract the light.  One camera and one speedlight.

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  Reply # 1142927 28-Sep-2014 12:46
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use high speed sync on speedlight to use shutter speeds over 1/160th second

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  Reply # 1142929 28-Sep-2014 12:47
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If there's mixed light on a person there's not much you can do. Full shade is ok, but then the background will be very bright which looks funny to me, but the solution is to use the flash to brighten up the person - looks unnatural though. In general I would put the person in the sun, the sun behind them so they don't squint, make sure the background is similarly lit to the person (ie if it's in shadow it will just look black in the image), and use the flash on low as fill. For professional work I often use an off camera studio strobe in a small soft box.

Reflectors are great for blinding people, but not much else. I have one and used it once, but never again for shooting people.

HSS is fine for fill, but not as a main light. The speed it kicks in varies according to the camera - 1/200th for the 5D series, 1/250th for 7D/50D/60D, unsure about 1 series.




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  Reply # 1142994 28-Sep-2014 15:31
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Just a thought. 
If you are in to landscapes, then you might be familiar with HDR (High Dynamic Range) where three or more shots are taken at different exposures then blended with software to get the best of each exposure in to your final image. 
This is only suitable for a portrait if the camera has the feature built in, and the subject remains relatively still between the three or more exposures.

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  Reply # 1143058 28-Sep-2014 18:35
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nolanz: Just a thought. 
If you are in to landscapes, then you might be familiar with HDR (High Dynamic Range) where three or more shots are taken at different exposures then blended with software to get the best of each exposure in to your final image. 
This is only suitable for a portrait if the camera has the feature built in, and the subject remains relatively still between the three or more exposures.


Use a Nikon dslr at base ISO, shoot raw.
Nikon Capture NX (now obsolete) used "U-points" where you could drop a control point on a selected part of an image, then adjust brightness, contrast etc, on a variable radius circle, also allowing use of brush tool etc if some masking was required.  The program had a reputation for being "slow", which is partly true - but IMO made up for by the fact that raw edits can be done directly and quickly without use of layers, masks etc.  The core technology was sold to Google and is now available as "Nik Collection" of plugins for Photoshop, Lightroom etc.  It can be a tedious process to do things the hard way (Photoshop etc without Nik).
There will be at least 3 stops of "spare" shadow detail in base ISO raw files - which can be recovered (lightened etc) without introducing any significant visible grain, even from their crop sensor dslrs.  If you read various internet fora - there's a tendency for this advantage of Nikon's implementation of on-chip ADC to reduce read noise to be downplayed (ie - "if you expose correctly in the first place then you don't need it" -or "it's for extreme landscape post-processing only")  Well it isn't - it's ideal for the OP's situation.



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  Reply # 1143080 28-Sep-2014 19:21
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Thanks all guys - will keep in mind for impt shots - the ones before people just wanted to put on their FB, haha.  I think I will place a speedlight in my bag from now on could be useful with people.  Yep, I have used the first Capture NX version (trial) but not for a long time.  Thing is Lightroom is just so much more tidier than to edit in Capture NX and then somehow put it back into the collection. 

Esp the girls, they just wanted to stand or sit there alongside those beautiful flowers or that nice tree.  Changing positions wasn't an option ;-)

Just another newbie portraiture question.  Nikon has released a 20mm F1.8.  As well as their others.  For general portraiture of children and family shots - that's not being creative are these super fast apertures too narrow depth of field?

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  Reply # 1143083 28-Sep-2014 19:36
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Switch to spot meter and meter off the face.





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  Reply # 1143098 28-Sep-2014 19:59
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you need a ND filter and HSS and some diffuser. shoot ISO 400 if possible that helps the flash to be "stronger"

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  Reply # 1143113 28-Sep-2014 20:46
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rayonline: Thanks all guys - will keep in mind for impt shots - the ones before people just wanted to put on their FB, haha.  I think I will place a speedlight in my bag from now on could be useful with people.  Yep, I have used the first Capture NX version (trial) but not for a long time.  Thing is Lightroom is just so much more tidier than to edit in Capture NX and then somehow put it back into the collection. 

Esp the girls, they just wanted to stand or sit there alongside those beautiful flowers or that nice tree.  Changing positions wasn't an option ;-)

Just another newbie portraiture question.  Nikon has released a 20mm F1.8.  As well as their others.  For general portraiture of children and family shots - that's not being creative are these super fast apertures too narrow depth of field?


20mm f1.8 is much too wide on FX, and still too wide on DX, for "traditional" portraiture.  Depth of field - even though it's f1.8 is still quite deep at 20mm focal length.  The "normal" portrait focal length suggested is around 85mm, but this is not a rule.  20mm f 1.8 would be ideal for shooting (ultra - on FX) wide angle in poor light.  It's not a lens that interests me - because I find zoom essential in ultra-wide shooting.  (However, Samyang have announced a 12mm Fx format fisheye lens - and I will buy one of those just for the hell of it)

CaptureNX was "generally rejected" by the photo pro community who were stuck in the paradigm of Photoshop, layers. layer masks.  Even though the edit steps were more "natural" in NX - many found the interface too hard (strange but true).  Thus it was doomed - also remember that at the time, relatively few pros used Nikon cameras - it was their dark ages.  At the time I first used it, it was also painfully slow - I had a 12mp camera, and needed to upgrade to a dual core machine to get reasonable speed out of it.  Batch editing 1000 wedding shots would have been a painful curse.  These days a modest Core i7 machine handles 36mp raw files with ease.  If I was a lightroom user, I'd definitely get the Nik plugins.  For now I endure with NX - and curse Nikon a bit for abandoning/selling it.

If you have a CLS compatible speedlight and camera with flash which can be used in "commander mode", then play around with that.  Flash compensation can be set individually for on-camera (ie just to get a highlight in the eyes) and the other flash used off-camera, offset at an angle, perhaps with a diffuser, to provide some shadow on faces to avoid that stark "flash photo" look.

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  Reply # 1143124 28-Sep-2014 21:05
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The thing about photography is everyone has an opinion, but you never know who to believe. Suggest you read what people suggest then try it out yourself.

Re ISO, I think on Nikon base iso is 200. It's irrelevant. Choose your ISO to match the shutter and aperture you want. Outside you'll probably be 100-400.  You can easily brighten by 2-3 stops, but recovery is difficult - one stop max I find. Nikon software sucks, ACR (in Lightroom) is good. I use Bridge, personal preference.

Re metering, spot metering is one option, but I never used it myself. I shoot manual in high contract situations, aperture priority when things are changing rapidly. I optimise for processing though, easier to batch 200 images when your're shooting manual than in A when it varies the exposure so much.

Don't mistake narrow depth of field for being creative. You can use it to isolate your subject, sure, but you can get one eye in focus but nothing else. 20mm is 30mm if you're using a crop body, not a bad length, but I personally use zooms mostly : then Nikon 24-70 2.8 is super sharp.




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  Reply # 1143151 28-Sep-2014 21:32
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timmmay: 
Re ISO, I think on Nikon base iso is 200. It's irrelevant. Choose your ISO to match the shutter and aperture you want. Outside you'll probably be 100-400.  You can easily brighten by 2-3 stops, but recovery is difficult - one stop max I find. Nikon software sucks, ACR (in Lightroom) is good. I use Bridge, personal preference.


Here I'd disagree on every point.
Nikon base ISO varies from 50 to 200 depending on model.  It is relevant - as using a "Lo" setting below minimum actual "real" ISO reduces highlight dynamic range, using higher ISO than needed reduces shadow dynamic range in particular.  Depth of field is an aspect of composition - I'm an old fashioned type who uses aperture priority AE by default, seldom shutter priority AE except when needed, and never "auto ISO".  But not everyone's needs are the same.
Nikon's software is "quirky" but doesn't "suck" IMO.  There are some specific advantages, one being that "picture controls" are user editable, transferable between camera and software both ways, and the default view when opening a raw file, and is the default rendering of the embedded jpeg in the raw file when viewing on the camera screen.  The *.nef metadata includes lens correction data - automatically correcting distortion and CA. Sure this can be done in other ways - but not "automatically perfectly".  I also liked the file portability without sidecar files, afforded by the method of including reversible editing information in the *.nef metadata.  However, I can understand the frustration of slow processing - even if I shoot digital as if I was still paying for film.

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  Reply # 1143235 29-Sep-2014 08:14
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Different people have different opinions and points of view, and they depend on the types of photos they take, the volume, experience, etc. I've been a professional photographer for almost ten years (which I'm not doing much these days, by choice), but I was always high volume, sometimes 3000 images per day. Workflow is critical in situations like that. Aperture priority means the exposure varies on every frame depending on what's in it, which means instead of batch processing 10-50 images in 1 minute you process each image individually, taking 10-20 minutes. That makes a big difference. 

The only thing I use Nikon software for is to set the time on my camera. When I got my Nikons you had to pay extra for the software as far as I could tell, and it looked rubbish, so I didn't bother with it.




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  Reply # 1143271 29-Sep-2014 09:18
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The software (Capture NX) wasn't ever really "Nikon" - Nik was a separate US-based company - acquired by Google a couple of years ago.  Nikon continue with "Capture NX-D" of their own, but don't use the Nik "U-Point" technology under license from Google.  So now the Nikon software is truly rubbish - the best part of it is removed. 
Yes - I understand re Aperture priority AE (also auto white balance is an issue) - and processing multiple event photos, weddings etc.  As you say, needs vary.  I'm happy to spend time on post-processing - but making money isn't relevant - it's solely for pleasure.
I have done some commercial work, on request (I don't seek it).  Last time was for a gloss brochure, 4 x a4 pages, about 150,000 copies.  I sent drafts (about 1000x700 pix, heavily compressed jpegs) to the art dept for selection.  I should have followed up sooner - or watermarked the images as drafts - the morons had printed all 150,000 copies from them.  They looked rubbish to me - glad my name wasn't on them - but the client was very happy. I give up - experiences like that get to me - it takes any enjoyment or pride away.

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  Reply # 1143298 29-Sep-2014 09:32
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Some so call professionals have no idea about resolution. Some will want a 100MB TIFF (which is a ridiculous pointless specification). I had a photo in the paper years ago, they printed from a low res proof too.




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  Reply # 1143312 29-Sep-2014 09:54
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timmmay: Some so call professionals have no idea about resolution. Some will want a 100MB TIFF (which is a ridiculous pointless specification). I had a photo in the paper years ago, they printed from a low res proof too.


Yes.  That art dept had a "minimum specification" based on file size - in theory I'd have needed to convert and send 16 bit tiffs to meet it.  Then they ignore their own "rules" and print a4 size from 50kB jpegs.
Years ago I sent a 12x10 cibachrome print of a relative's kid to them as a gift.  They damned well submitted it into a photo competition without asking me (I avoid these) - under their own name - which it won.  That got printed and distributed widely, based on a scan or photo of the print. (I still have the negative - they never requested it LOL - but they did an okay job of the printing).  They won a camera and some stuff too - and I never saw that.  LOL.  Priceless.

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  Reply # 1147602 5-Oct-2014 14:39
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I'd avoid direct sunlight on the face, especially if not evenly lit. If not, all the best with trying to correct that with software.

Have you got someone who can hold up a large piece of cardboard or something to shade the person being photographed. Otherwise, like timmmay said, I'd put the sun behind them and use fill flash. You can experiment with the flash output strength so that it looks more natural.  Just my $0.02.

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