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  1. #1
    lft
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    questions on a shoot

    this week, I plan on going on my first shoot. I'm going to be in New York City doing portraits (headshots) outside with random people I might meet in the streets. My backdrop is going to be a yellow poster board, and I am using an OM-4. My question is what other equipment would I need in order to get the best quality and best tones? Also, which film would work best? I was thinking of using portra 160nc...also, would a direct flash benefit me?

  2. #2
    fotch's Avatar
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    I would think the flash would be to flat and not the best for portrait lighting, more for news type shots. If light is dim, some sort of camera support and lower shutter speed. Tripod would be best, maybe won't work for your street shooting.
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  3. #3

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    Hello lft,
    The first thing that caught my eye in your post is the idea of a "yellow poster board backdrop". Yellow is in my opinion the WORST color to try and get to look right in a photograph. It NEVER turns out to match in the print what it looks like to the eye, NEVER. It can go a yucky brown or orange.
    Your OM-4 should be fine. I would try and use a lens with a focal length somewhere between 85 and 135 mm, to improve perspective of the face.
    Portra 160nc film should be fine.
    I would NOT use direct flash as it would look like a drivers license photo or ID card photo. The background would have to be about 6 feet behind the subject to lose the shadows caused by direct flash. Off camera flash possibly, direct flash no.
    Hope this helps.
    Sam H.

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    hi lft

    are you going to have someone helping you ?
    if you can, i would have someone hold a white card as a bounce / fill ..
    the best thing you can do, when embarking on a street-venture like this
    is get a friend and do a set-up / dry run to see how things worked .. ( on the street, of course! )
    do a few different ways, flash that bounces on a card and then onto your subject,
    low shutter speed drag the flash, just use a reflector / card to work as a fill and no flash &C

    take notes on what you did and when you get your film back from the mini-lab recreate the best set-up
    for the real thing.

    i agree with sam h. don't use a direct flash

    have fun!
    john

  5. #5

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    I would agree that yellow isn't a preferred choice. Even if not directly reflecting on a face, I find it tends to make the subject look jaundiced in the final print, especially if it is a brighter shade of yellow.

    If you're shooting in the city, why not go for shooting against an older building with a stone facade. It provides an interesting textured background without being distracting. Just avoid getting the joints in unnopportune places (sticking up antennae-like from a head, etc)

  6. #6
    lft
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    so i like the idea of a textured wall better...it looks like its going to be an overcast day though, so what can I do to provide proper/good lighting?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lft View Post
    so i like the idea of a textured wall better...it looks like its going to be an overcast day though, so what can I do to provide proper/good lighting?
    Depends on what you mean by "proper/good lighting." You can use reflectors to fill shadows or to emphasize one side or the other, adding contrast. A black reflector placed close will take light away, adding contrast. If you're shooting B&W, you can adjust contrast by development or contrast grades in printing. Choosing your location, and thus where the light is coming from in that location, can control contrast.
    Fill flash can reduce contrast, or if placed off-camera, add to it.
    You really won't know the answer until you have chosen your location and observed the ambient light.
    Eddy McDonald
    www.fotoartes.com
    Eschew defenestration!



 

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