Tuesday, May 19, 2015


This week I am completing my10 commandments.

Learn Short Lighting - One of the most useful lighting patterns in portrait photography.
 07.)  Don’t just arbitrarily use the lowest ISO on your camera.   What ISO do you use in the studio? I use the lowest ISO necessary to get f11.0 from my weakest light. In my studio my hair light is on a lighting pack split three ways: two are on the background and one is my hair light.  So, to get f11.0 on my hair light I needed to use ISO 200 with it on maximum power.

08.)  Pick an f-stop with a purpose. When doing portraits in the studio my go-to f-stop is f11.0.  Why preselect an f-stop and why f11.0?
    A.) You should preselect an f-stop, especially for portraits, to be more efficient during the session.  You don’t want to re-set your lights with the client waiting around for YOU! Your time would be better spent say if you wanted to change backgrounds, which may require some fine tuning, but not a complete re-setup of the lights.  It’s no benefit to the client to change f-stop, but it may be of great benefit to change backgrounds for you (sales!) and to give your client more choices to choose from.
    B.) I use f11.0 for portraits because it gives me the most versatility in most sessions.  It’s mostly about depth-of field.

    C.) Besides depth-of-field another advantage to using f11.0 and your fastest shutter sync speed, is that you can have your studio very well lit with either natural or any kind of artificial lights of any color temperature and walls painted ANY color, NONE of these ambient anomalies will be seen by your camera.

Example 1: When doing GROUPS in the studio, I’m usually forced to use my lens at 50mm @ f11.0 at a distance of 14 feet so that my depth-of-field is: 23.8 feet.  Plenty for ANY group.

Example 2: If I’m doing a family with a baby, f11.0 will take care of them as a group plus without changing anything I can do close-ups of the baby with better depth-of-field; for example: moving in close to 2 feet with my 105mm lens @ f11.0, my depth-of-field is only 3/4 of an inch! There’s no reason to use a wider aperture than f11.0 and risk a lower yield of good images due to a lack of depth-of-field.

09.)  Use high angles to slim your subject.  If your client is heavy use a background that is a muslin sweep (e.g.. 20 ft long) to create a floor.  This floor will become part of your background when you photograph them from the high angle you’ll need to use to reduce their mass and help get rid of the double chin.  Use a step stool or ladder, if you have to, and have them bring their face up to you.

10.) You MUST address subject anomalies.
    A.) Your subject has one eye that’s much smaller than the other:  Turn the subject so the SMALL eye is closer to the camera.
    B.) Turning the subject’s in a 2/3rds view of the face will also solve the problem when your subject has large protruding ears, or to slim a round face.
    C.) Your subject has a big nose:  Bring subject’s nose to the camera and use as much telephoto lens as you can.
    D.) Your subject has a large tummy:  Lean them forward so their face is closer to the camera than their tummy.
    E.) Don’t photograph individuals with their body flat to the camera—especially women!  This makes them broader and appear larger than they actually are and Please don’t have women ,or men for that matter, raise both their arms around the shoulders of people on each side of them! This accentuates the bust line on women and pulls their clothes in a strange way.

'Til next week....

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA M.Photog., CR, CPP
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com

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