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  1. #21
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cramej View Post
    Why bother with the Zone system on color neg? Just use an incident meter on the shadow side or spot meter in camera and you're set. I shoot backlit subjects often and neither method has failed me.

    Personally, it is too dark. She is the same tone as the background and she doesn't stand out from it.
    +1, no you don't need to shoot it at I.S.O. 100, you need to get the exposure right, in situations like this I use incidental metering in The Duplex Method, that is take one reading pointing the dome at the Sun and noting the reading , then take a second reading pointing the dome from the subject to the camera in the normal way then average out the two readings, this method works in any light.
    Last edited by benjiboy; 08-25-2012 at 05:39 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour View Post
    Aren't you by chance using a Pentax 67?
    Suggest a back-to-basics metering strategy:
    Spot meter face (1: in this image the face is a critical fail as it is improperly illuminated), left arm (illumination side) (2) right arm (3), front of dress (4) forward bottom left grass (5), then average all. No spotting of spectrals in background or bright grass.

    A flash should not be needed but can be usefully employed with spot metering and baseline-averaged fill-in flash with the softbox you spoke of.
    I do agree that the shot can probably be done nicely with just reflectors providing the fill but that depends on how dark the shooter wants the background to fall.

    In terms of getting back to basics, I think one thing we tend to forget is that cameras can only do one exposure setting at a time. The camera and film don't average anything.

    It seems to me that 10speeduk is doing exactly the right things to control the contrast in the scene, it is just a matter of fine tuning, i.e. adding a bit more more light on the subject and picking the right exposure peg.

    My opinion is that as far as exposure goes for any portrait, the placement of the face trumps everything else when the shutter drops. The only question that matters to me is "where do I want the face to fall on the film?" (in which zone?)

    Because of my opinion/choice, the only value I see in taking various spot readings is to verify that my face reading makes sence, not in finding an average to set the camera to. For reflective readings, sure, verification using other spots is a reasonable practice, but the face reading is all that really matters to me in the end. A single incident meter reading (or gray card reading) accomplishes the same goal and eliminates all the guess work.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

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  3. #23
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    So I haven't read this thread in detail so apologies if I repeat stuff:
    - we can't tell if it's under-exposed because this seems to be a negative scan and there's endless room for interpretation there*
    - there's detail in the dark shadows, so the exposure seems to be perhaps sufficient
    - this is Portra 160, you can nuke it until it glows (+3 stops) and it will scan or print fine; don't be afraid to use more photons
    - I too question the choice of hair for metering
    - since she's light-skinned, spot-metering to put her face at Zone VI (+1 stop over metered exposure) will look about right**
    - to me, a backlit portrait will deliberately blow the hair highlights and use of fill would reduce the backlight drama IMHO

    * it could be beautifully exposed according to all the guidance in this thread and the scan operator could make it look like you've posted
    ** I think this will result in about 2 stops more exposure than you used according to the hair

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10speeduk View Post
    Thanks all for your info. I guess 160 iso for this film is fine. And yes, she in shade so she should be dark. The main error here is how i composed the shot with not enough difference in tone between my subject and the background. Exposing for longer would not change this relationship. So yet portrait falls down on not having enough light on the subject. I now have two reflectors, which will be an option for next time and i have a leaf shutter lens on the way so maybe a softbox also!

    Thanks again all for the insights. am not sure i would have cracked it on my own.
    The issue isn't whether she is too dark or not, it's that your camera's meter has failed in the most normal way, the subject takes up about 10% of the frame, the background due to the lighting is very bright, so the meter sees that brightness and selects an exposure where the subject is too dark. Changing the ISO to get more exposure would make it overall brighter, but not fix the ratio between subject and background.

    If your camera has spot metering capability, then spot meter on the face, if not, then there are four possible solutions.... Solution one, modified zone system exposure, you want the face in zone V, as the face is the most important part of a portrait, focus on eyes. Second is move the camera in close, so only the face is in the frame, take a meter reading on the face, see what the exposure is, then move back and frame, setting the camera manually. Third is a separate light meter, so you can meter on just the face. Fourth is a reflector or fill flash to get more light on the face. The last one is actually the ideal, it doesn't blow out the background, because it reduces the brightness differential.
    Paul Schmidt
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  5. #25
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    F/1.4 - A little bit of PS work, and it brins it out. I still think her right arm looks awkward in that pose, but just me... She has a very angular body, and having her arms in that position really accentuates that..
    Lovely looking girl, lovely tones, and your post work seems to have brought her out a fair bit more..
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  6. #26
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    I would have just placed an incident light meter in front of the model, pointed toward the camera, using a reflector to bounce sun light on her. The incident metering will place the skin tone just right and make the backlit hair "shine" which I suppose is the intended effect (not entirely reached, which makes me think the exposure is actually a bit too scarce for the shot). The dynamic range of the negative colour film would hopefully retain the detail on the vegetation behind, which should be around 2.5 EV above the shade and well inside the negative film comfort zone.

    Personally I would place the model hands differently so as to avoid the risk of blowing the highlights on the hands. If the hair have to "shine" in contre-jour, they should be the only part directly hit by sunlight.
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
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  7. #27

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    Is it just me, or is there also a slight green cast to the overall photo? The tonality seems to be lacking, how do you process these? I could be totally mistaken but just an observation that as well as other parameters the processing should be looked at too

  8. #28
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    There could be some greenish cast visible on the model complexion. I think this is due to the reflection from the grass. The contribution of the fill light should be increased in order to address the problem IMHO.

    The green cast can obviously be also due to some scanning or post-processing problem. With slide film one might observe the slide and see if the cast is there. With negative film the answer is not obvious.
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
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  9. #29
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    Another source of green can also be a gold reflector.

    I have no idea why.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

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