Exercise 1 – First Attempt
What: The main brief of this exercise was to take a set of portraits covering different views of a subject. They ran from full length of the person, Three quarter length, head and shoulders and tight in on the face.
Where: Inside the house, during the day evening using internal house lighting
When: During the evening.
How: We moved a table and a couple bits of furniture to create a area which had no distractions. We then put a chair in place and using the overhead lights took the sequence of photographs.
I wanted to use both a prime lens and telephoto as I knew that the each type of lens would bring its own qualities to the images. I started with a 50mm prime lens sitting on a tripod and before the shooting I worked out how far and close I had to move to obtain the required shots. I also worked out the minimum and maximum lengths I would need using two telephoto lenses so that I could work from approximately 18mms up to 300mm without moving the tripod.
This exercise went well on the basis that my inital ideas of using both prime and telephoto lenses created different qualities of image due to the mimumum aperture available to me on both lenses. What I had not anticipated was the quality of the light and that I had to end up shooting at the highest ISO that the camera could handle. This produced very grainey images which were okay for the full length and three quarter length photographs, but the full face and head and shoulders photographs looked dusty and the gain ended up with the model looking like she had dusted her face with power and flour.
The overhead lighting also resulted in the face of the model becoming dark around her eyes and cheeks. Even when she moved her head up the overhead lighting still produced too much shadow around her face and her eyes. I had tried using an on camera flash but the final images still were too dusty and I was not happy with the final results.
Nikon D80, focal length 34.0mm (35mm equivalent 51mm), aperture f4.0, speed 1/10 second, ISO 3200, Tungsten white balance, matrix metering, tripod mounted camera, 18-70mm lens, No flash.
While this is not too bad, I was not happy with the quality of the image, the feet being blurred and the face and feet being isolated from the rest of the model by a large shape of black and grey.
Full Length Version 2
Nikon D80, focal length 50.0mm (35mm equivalent 75mm), aperture f1.7, speed 1/60 second, ISO 3200, Tungsten white balance, matrix metering, tripod mounted camera, 50mm lens, No flash.
This is a better quality image as there is better depth of field created by the aperture and the quicker shutter speed, but again the head, arms and feet are isolated as they are buried in the black shape.
Three Quarter Length
Nikon D80, focal length 50.0mm (35mm equivalent 75mm), aperture f1.8, speed 1/60 second, ISO 3200, Tungsten white balance, matrix metering, tripod mounted camera, 50mm lens, No flash.
While this is a clearer shot of the subject, she is still isolated from the rest of the frame by her mode of dress. The poor quality of the lighting shows here as it has cast her eyes into shade making the under area and top of her cheek as the focal point of the image.
Nikon D80, focal length 50.0mm (35mm equivalent 75mm), aperture f1.8, speed 1/90 second, ISO 3200, Tungsten white balance, matrix metering, tripod mounted camera, 50mm lens, No flash.
Again here in the close-up, the overhead lighting has cast her eyes into shadow and it is making her appear as if he has large bags under her eyes. It also casts the corners of her mouth into shade and makes her chin look larger than it actually is. The tungsten light has also had the quality of making her skin has a slight blue cast which clashes with her natural colour.
I really failed to prepare the area properly, nor did I analyse the quality of the light. I was hoping that the high ISO quality would be better than it was for portraiture. The overhead lighting was never going to be the best but I was not quite prepared for the shadows it created nor for the blue cast it created against the subjects natural colours.
I did learn that there is quite a bit of difference in the final quality of the portrait which depends on the aperture of the lens. In some cases the prime lens depth of field was almost too thing resulting in the subjects features being isolated from the rest of their face.
I was so unhappy with the way that I approached this exercise and I was very self critical that the quality of the images were so poor, that I sat down after looking over the images of the computer screen I decided to reshoot the exercise again.