Monday, August 30, 2010

Portrait Experiments

Portraits-4, originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.

I just decided one day to experiment with my 'O Ring flash attachment in combination with the f/1.4 50mm prime lens with a fish eye attachment on the front. My idea was to get the "Lie to Me" TV series show's portrait shots effect. You know the ones on the wall of the Lightman Group's office. They had white light and the face was very illuminated.

So... The general idea was (based on memory now):
1. O Ring attachment strapped onto my 430ex Flash gun on the camera
2. Fish eye attachment on the prime lens brings the lens to an approximate 40mm mark
3. f/1.4 becomes unusable with this attachment. I set AV to f/2.0 (f/2.2 is better on controlling the "blurness")
4. EV -1
5. Flash set to +0.5 (... I think... or at 0... this is to compensate for the flash going through mirrors and getting absorbed)

This set up is overall quite effective for close up portraits. Not sure if it'll work as well for half body or full body. I don't think so, unless there was a softbox to boost light. Also depends if done in studio or using natural light through window.

Another brainwave was to use my iPad's studio light settings... I got an app the emulates a softbox :-P Will post if I successfully pull if off with iPad as the side-light source...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Conference Event Photography

ProcessDays 2010-44, originally uploaded by Mervin Chiang.
My biggest nemesis. Taking indoor events are my greatest struggle. I did ProcessDays 2010 this year as a back up photographer and I was somewhat happy with myself. However, the colors were still off and in some cases the lights weren't as good as well.

This shot was my favourite. I borrowed the pro photographer's light box on the left and I used an "assistant" holding a diffused flash on the top right and I fired of the shot remotely. I later used lightroom to make it B&W.

A few lessons learnt during and after the event (thanks Chi!):
1. I like to use AV set to -2 when flash is diffused and bounced off a card at an angle forward. This is for places where ceilings are too high.
2. Chi suggested to bounce off walls. Seemed to be better on the shadows made. Will try next time.
3. Learnt something about the light boxes too. The pro photographer was using a grid looking attachment on the front. Apparently with that it makes a punchier portrait.
4. Multiple colors in the venue does crazy things to the white balance :(
5. Set drive mode to high and always take at least 3 to avoid blinking and funny gestures of the people.

I'll keep trying...