Any advice on taking indoor artificially lit portraits on film? ***Results now linked in thread***

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Nige
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#1
My local photo society has some models coming in next week and I'd like to shoot them on film. I'll probably be taking the following kit:
  1. Yashica Mat 124 G
  2. Close-up lens #1 for the Yashica
  3. Sekonic L-208 light meter
  4. 120 Format HP5+ and Portra 400
  5. Nikon F80
  6. Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-S
  7. Sigma 105mm f/2.8
  8. 135 format Kodak Tmax P3200
  9. Tripod
  10. Shutter release cable
I might take the speedlight I have for my DSLR too - I've not tested it yet, but it should hopefully work on the F80.

I have no knowledge of lighting in these situations (the session will be in the room we use for club meetings, so will be lit with artificial light). My plan will be to use the Yashica on a tripod as I think focusing will be much more reliable that way, especially if the light is dim. The Nikon I will probably shoot handheld as the P3200 should allow me good shutter speeds, especially with the fast apertures I can use on the lenses I'll be taking.

Some other members will be bringing screens and lights, so I may have more options on the evening, but I'd appreciate any tips and advice anyone can offer, or any useful videos or websites.

Thanks.
 
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excalibur2

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#2
Well the basic setup for a model e.g. female is:- the main light appx 45 degrees (facing her) and the secondary light appx half the power at appx 45 degrees the other side (also facing her).
If possible a small light to light up the hair from above and a small light for the back ground. A rule of the thumb is to get the shadow under the nose just about right and not to short or long.
 

simon ess

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#3
I always use radio triggers - Yongnuo RF-600TX and RF-602RX - For Nikon with the F80. Speedlights on stands with umbrellas and / or softbox.

I set flash power with my Sekonic flashmaster.
 
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#4
I always use radio triggers - Yongnuo RF-600TX and RF-602RX - For Nikon with the F80. Speedlights on stands with umbrellas and / or softbox.

I set flash power with my Sekonic flashmaster.
This is just a one-off thing I think, so I'm unlikely to be getting hold of any additional kit. I quite like the idea of getting some portraits, but not that much that I want to spend any money on it (says the Yorkshireman :) ). I'm probably more likely to be winging it with what kit I've got to hand and hoping for the best I can achieve with that. That said, if someone at the club has a spot meter and other gear I can have a go with, I might try it out.

I'm more on the wavelength of Jane Bown / Om-1 / 50mm @ f/2.8 and natural light (or unnatural light in my case), rather than a studio set up. :)
 
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Soeren
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#5
Well lightstand and umbrella (or softbox) can always come in handy so it won't be a total waste of money but there will probably be some sort of studio setup anyway so....
 
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#6
If you're using fixed/continuous lighting, you should be able to meter with your Sekonic from the model's face. I'd generally say that using a standard lens like the Yashicamat is going to mean at least half-length portraits as you don't want to get too close to the model for a headshot, since this can be intimidating for them. Consequently, I can't see a use for your close-up lens, unless you're going tight on hands or even fingers?

The 105mm on the F80 is more promising for headsshots, but be aware of where your focus point is, since the eyes are generally what must be in focus. If your focus point is central, you can end up with too much space above the model's head and not enough neck and upper body.

But whatever, have fun!
 
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FishyFish
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#7
If you're using fixed/continuous lighting, you should be able to meter with your Sekonic from the model's face. I'd generally say that using a standard lens like the Yashicamat is going to mean at least half-length portraits as you don't want to get too close to the model for a headshot, since this can be intimidating for them. Consequently, I can't see a use for your close-up lens, unless you're going tight on hands or even fingers?

The 105mm on the F80 is more promising for headsshots, but be aware of where your focus point is, since the eyes are generally what must be in focus. If your focus point is central, you can end up with too much space above the model's head and not enough neck and upper body.

But whatever, have fun!
The Close-up #1 lens is not bad for portraits - a person's head won't fill the frame - but you do have to get quite close. The close-up #2 lens is the one that lets you get really close. I have a portrait of my dad that I took with this that I really like (although he doesn't!), but the DOF is pretty shallow - eyes in sharp focus, but tip of nose isn't at all.

That said, I probably will stick to half-length shots for ease.

I shall show my results here (assuming any level of success). :)
 
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#8
Might be worth asking in advance whether there is going to be any flash studio lights, since you'd then need to plug the cord into the Yashicamat to get the lighting to fire. Now I seem to recall some webchat about the flash lever on the Yashicamat causing problems, so that might be worth looking for?
I think I only ever used my first Yashicamat once for daylight portraits, and only one of them was in decent focus. :facepalm:

karen 1.jpg
 

excalibur2

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#9
The RB67 with 180mm is excellent for head and shoulders (or more) and I always used a diffusing filter on my lens, as well as the obvious, as with some modes who had curly black hair it could come out like wire if sharpening was used when scanning or in Photoshop:eek:

On this shot I played with sharpening and :eek:


With diffusing filter and no sharpening this looks about right to me : -
 
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FishyFish
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#10
Well, we had the model-shoot the other night and it went quite well. I didn't bother with the Yashica Mat in the end as there wasn't really time to get it set up, so shot everything with Tmax P3200 handheld on the F80 with the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 (and a few with my Nikkor 50mm f/1.8). I'm quite pleased with my results for a first go.

Anyway, I've posted them here if anyone wants to see.
 

excalibur2

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#11
Well, we had the model-shoot the other night and it went quite well. I didn't bother with the Yashica Mat in the end as there wasn't really time to get it set up, so shot everything with Tmax P3200 handheld on the F80 with the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 (and a few with my Nikkor 50mm f/1.8). I'm quite pleased with my results for a first go.

Anyway, I've posted them here if anyone wants to see.
VG but IMO some shots would be better with a slower film esp for the females (well assuming you were using fairly powerful flash units).
 
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FishyFish
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#12
VG but IMO some shots would be better with a slower film esp for the females (well assuming you were using fairly powerful flash units).
Thanks Brian. Yes, I agree that a finer grained film would've been more flattering on the female models. I really like the grainy look on the two blokes though.

We only got a few minutes with each model to ensure everyone there got a chance to take shots, so there was no time to be selecting different cameras loaded with different films. I think I might've gotten some decent photos with the Yashica Mat, but had no time.

The lights were all static, no flashes.
 
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