View Full Version : I think I'm getting close - any thoughts?

03-03-2008, 07:38 PM
Well, I'm going to go out on a limb here again, and ask for some cc for cert. purposes. I've been reading many of the different threads, and see that I'm not the only one in the "flat lighting" situation. So, I guess I'll continue to ask for opinions, a few images at a time.

I realize that these two images don't follow the rule of thirds, but the mom really likes both of them because his eyes are what really captures you, though his smile helps too.

Anyway, based on previous posts, I'm looking for acknowledgment that this is an improvement - lighting wise. (Or not, if that is the case). I was using a large softbox as my main light, off to my left, and a small umbrella right next to me to my right, set two stops lower than my main. (I just got my large diffuser today, so haven't used it yet). I had mom turn just enough to allow the fill light over her shoulder some, but to still keep some differential there.

Do you think either of these would pass muster for certification?

03-03-2008, 07:45 PM
I was using a large softbox as my main light, off to my left


I would have never guess that based on the nose shadow in the b/w image. How far away is the soft box? And how big is it?

IMO, You should have much "softer" light on these with a large soft box.

While you do have a light ratio, to me the light seems a little low, as noticed by the catch lights in the eyes.

Thank you for posting, you'll get there, keep at it!

03-03-2008, 08:04 PM

Thanks for the input. The softbox is a 3'x4' Softbox that I did have close to the floor because that's where I had been shooting most of the shots from. I forgot to move it up for the ones where mom and dad held him. The softbox was probably about 5ft. from the subjects (I'm guessing that at the moment). Should I pull it back more, or does it need to be a little closer, but angled more to feather the light better?

03-03-2008, 08:12 PM
Just curious, is it a Larson soft box?

If you bring the light in closer to your subject the shadows will appear "softer" as the light will be as big as it can be in relation to your subject. Softer shadows will be less noticeable. I personally might use a lower ratio on a baby to have less contrast... but you do have nice expression in the images and I am sure the parents were excited about them.

03-03-2008, 08:44 PM
Thanks again Don! I appreciate the help. And no the softbox isn't a Larson - I believe it's a Photoflex. Does that make a difference?

And just so I am understanding you correctly, when you say use a lower ration, should I be only about 1 stop different on a baby, closer to a flat lighting ratio. Does that mean that if I decide to shoot just babies, then my "flat lighting" will work?:D Just kidding!

Oh, and I just read your PPMag article - that really helps, I'm going to try setting up like that tomorrow and see how things go. I think I've had my softbox on too much of an angle. I see that you put it completely horizontal, I always seem to put mine more at a 45 degree angle. Anyway, it was a great article and very useful.


03-03-2008, 09:43 PM
Each soft box has it's own lighting characteristics. Personally I use Larson and really like them, others use other brands and love them too.... It's like Canon/Nikon. You use what works best for you and fits your style.

I wouldn't recommend "flat light" for a baby portrait (as in a 1:1 lighting ratio). I would be more like a 2:1 ratio. I am guessing you are more in the 4 or 5:1 ratio. My calibrated eye is having difficulty with exactly what you have there but it is very contrasty! But again, if you like that much contrast and your clients pay you then that's what I would use too!

One reason "flat light" works on clients is because they buy on emotion. When you post an image in this forum we comment on technical. No (mere mortal) client is going to say to you "Wow! What expression you captured in my little Suzie!!! I love them, I want to buy them ALLLLLL, but I am not going to spend a dime with you because your lighting ratio at 4.5:1 is not to my liking....

But here we say... What were you thinking???? Flat light, sorry. Read Don's article!!! Take more classes, buy more equipment...etc.. :eek: :eek: :D :D