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  1. #1

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    How to meter a portrait

    Hello,

    I get quite confused while metering a portrait shot. On all other shots like still life or landscape I find shadows easy to find, but on a person I find it hard to find shadows, any tips?

    Cheers

    Raffay

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raffay View Post
    Hello,

    I get quite confused while metering a portrait shot. On all other shots like still life or landscape I find shadows easy to find, but on a person I find it hard to find shadows, any tips?

    Cheers

    Raffay
    Use an incident lightmeter if you have one.

  3. #3

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    What Keith said.

  4. #4
    AgX
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    Or just take a reading at +1 for white skin (reflective or incident metering).

  5. #5

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    Take a reflected reading from the face, the usual adaptions have to be made after an assessment of the subjects skin type has been made:

    Open up one stop for Caucasian Skin, as the reading for Asian/Middle Eastern Skin and close down one stop for Black skin, there are a couple of minor changes you can introduce, for very white skin (Nordic types) open an additional 1/2 stop (open 1.5 stops in total) and for very Black skin close down by a further 1/2 stop (close down 1.5 stops in total).
    Last edited by Ed Bray; 11-19-2013 at 12:41 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6

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    Since you are from Pakistan, this interested me so I googled and read a bit.
    It seems for slightly darker Indian skin +.5 stop or for darker African skin +0

    PS Ed's probably more right.
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

    Regards
    Bill

  7. #7
    cliveh's Avatar
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    It's impossible to answer a question like this without seeing the model and knowing what you want the picture to look like.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  8. #8
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I do much as Ed does, on a portrait decide where you want to place the skin tones.

    A point not mentioned with portraits is depending on the lighting you often need to check the balance between highlights and shadows using a reflective meter ansd adjust the lighting to get the effect you require.

    Ian

  9. #9
    ROL
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    It's impossible to answer a question like this without seeing the model and knowing what you want the picture to look like.
    I'm going to piggyback off this comment as it touches on visualization, a concept I find that cannot be brought up often enough in monochrome photography. BTW, I find all the above comments workable and likely quicker in some instances. They are simply not the way I work.

    I treat portrait, studio, etc. all as landscape, if narrower in execution. While it may seem more complex at first, using your spot meter to identify luminances you want to present in your final print, will give you power over light as no incident metering will. Meter your shadows and highlights the same as you might when shooting landscape, placing where and to what value they will be. Deepest shadows may be on background, a dark article of clothing, under the chin, or in the hair, all dependent on your subject and lighting. Highlights may be placed in same manner. The only difficulty becomes in properly registering skin tone, if that is your goal. That will vary upon race and season, as previously mentioned. Guess what? By using your spot meter and translating your decisions to the final print, you get to decide, dare I say "artistically", how your subject is presented.

  10. #10
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raffay View Post
    Hello,

    I get quite confused while metering a portrait shot. On all other shots like still life or landscape I find shadows easy to find, but on a person I find it hard to find shadows, any tips?

    Cheers

    Raffay
    KISS
    I just use an incident meter in front of the face towards the camera.Don't turn it into a science or your sitter gets bored.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

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