Beginner Help with night portraits

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Tilly
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#1
Hey everyone

So I’m trying my hand at some night portraits but I’m struggling a little, here 2 shots one edited one not. I’m not happy about the noise. Iv been shooting with a 35mm 1.8

Edited one
https://flic.kr/p/2bgFFuv

None edited
https://flic.kr/p/2ab5xAA

As you can see my iso is crazy high

Also I have a question
If I shoot in 1.8 will I still get all of my model in focus? I know I could have tried this however this is me reflecting back once home

Thanks for any help
 
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Phil
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#3
Well I wouldn’t care about the noise, they’re simply not sharp. The guy isn’t in focus.

At 3.2 you cant get his foot and his face in focus. And except for very rare occasions we focus on the eyes. Yes I’d have shot at 1.4 and not cared that his foot and the scooter were OoF.
 
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Phil
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#4
Just to add... if its sharp and interesting, no one will care about the noise. Asit is, only you care about the noise, everyone else will say it’s blurred.
 
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Tilly
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#6
Just to add... if its sharp and interesting, no one will care about the noise. Asit is, only you care about the noise, everyone else will say it’s blurred.
Sorry I should have added that was my intention in the first place to get only his foot in focus.. my lens only goes to 1.8
 
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Phil
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#7
Sorry I should have added that was my intention in the first place to get only his foot in focus.. my lens only goes to 1.8
Ok, it might have been your intention, but it doesn’t (ok rarely) work.

People react to peoples faces, more importantly, even if a ‘face’ is in focus and the eyes aren’t, it makes an image uncomfortable.

In answer to your questions - what noise?

And yes you could use 1.8

Edit... put another way, if only the shoe is in focus, it’s not a portrait, it’s a picture of a shoe.

And if you want it to be ‘a picture of a shoe’ then a shallower DoF to knock out the face even more would be the technique to use.
 
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Ian
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#8
Echoing what's been said already, noise isn't an issue for me either, it's the fact that the face is OOF.

The only way to modify your depth of field by keeping the same aperture is with focal length (which you can't change on a prime) and distance (which will change the image because... you're in a different place...). You can see how much DoF you've got looking at the gravel. If you want both in focus and a similar frame of view, you'd need to take many steps back and use a longer focal length, or sacrifice aperture. Even then I think the shoe would be distracting because it's right there front & centre. Anyway, I digress. Noise isn't a problem for me. Blurry face is. ISO 6400 on today's cameras is very definitely acceptable.
 
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Toni
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#9
I'm not a social photographer, so I've assumed the foot was the point of focus because you're trying to say something.

As the guys say, noise isn't an issue, and can be part of the effect in an arty shot. Just assume if you use a lens with a large aperture wide open then depth of field will be wafer thin and therefore you need to focus on the most vital part of the image - that way the image appears in focus even when much of it is blurry.

85mm f1.7 on FX:
GospelBell--5
by Toni Ertl, on Flickr
 
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Storm Trooper
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#10
I'm no expert but some off camera flash could be very helpful. Have a look through the talk lighting and studio section for info.

Also posting pics rather than links will get more responses, just copy the BBCode from flickr and paste directly into your post.

Untitled
by tilly gibbs, on Flickr
 
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#11
Yes that’s what I thought.. so what can I do to get less noise and get all of him in focus if I wanted to.. I get that only his foot is and that was my intention
That’s difficult, to get less noise (even thou it’s only really you that sees it, most dark photos have noise, but the main content draws the eyes elsewhere) you need to lower the iso, but as your shutter is all ready quite low, you maybe able to drop this again, or you have to open the aperture up, F1.8 or something.

You would need to move away from the subject to open the DOF up, I couldn’t tell you if it’s possibke with that lens.

To loose noise you have to get more light in the sensor, so you can lower the iso, either with a slower shutter, or larger Aperture.
 
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Tilly
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#12
That’s difficult, to get less noise (even thou it’s only really you that sees it, most dark photos have noise, but the main content draws the eyes elsewhere) you need to lower the iso, but as your shutter is all ready quite low, you maybe able to drop this again, or you have to open the aperture up, F1.8 or something.

You would need to move away from the subject to open the DOF up, I couldn’t tell you if it’s possibke with that lens.

To loose noise you have to get more light in the sensor, so you can lower the iso, either with a slower shutter, or larger Aperture.

I will all of theses a try this and take my tripod along also so if I do have to slow the shutter I can reduce camera shake.
 
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Tilly
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#13
Ok, it might have been your intention, but it doesn’t (ok rarely) work.

People react to peoples faces, more importantly, even if a ‘face’ is in focus and the eyes aren’t, it makes an image uncomfortable.

In answer to your questions - what noise?

And yes you could use 1.8

Edit... put another way, if only the shoe is in focus, it’s not a portrait, it’s a picture of a shoe.

And if you want it to be ‘a picture of a shoe’ then a shallower DoF to knock out the face even more would be the technique to use.
I’m happy with the picture however thank you for your feedback, I wanted to play around with different focus points and compositions, I do obviously have shots of his face this was just an example
 
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#14
Yes the shoe was the main focus, and overall what I was trying to accomplish I have I just didn’t feel it was overly clean and sharp (foot being the focus) so I was wondering what I could do but to improve these kinds shoots?

I do have shots of his face that I will post later
 
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#15
DSC_5152.jpg

Here’s another one like it but as you can see I had lots of other light around me.. again I think the shot works well and I was happy with it
 

TheBigYin

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Mark
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#16
if this thread is slightly hard to follow, then it's because the OP cross-posted the same question to a number of forum areas and they've all been merged into one.

OP, in future, please don't spam the forum with the same question - put it in one location, and if you don't get any answers, report the thread and ask if it'd be better placed somewhere else, and we'll move it for you.
 
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Phil
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#17
View attachment 134820

Here’s another one like it but as you can see I had lots of other light around me.. again I think the shot works well and I was happy with it
Much better*
So, in this one the shoe is the ‘obvious’ focus point, because of the composition, lighting and because the face is more OoF...

Which is what I said above. Interesting experiment to hone your composition and lighting skills though, because you’ve aimed for something ‘different ‘ you’ve found how easy it is to fail. If you’d have been shooting to emphasise the face, it’d have been more difficult to pinpoint composition and lighting errors that detract from the ‘subject’, because faces are so automatically appealing to us. The brighter light on the guys face draws our attention, but then slaps us back because it’s OoF, but the thing that’s in focus is the shoe, which is darker (hidden in the shadows).

*i still wouldn’t describe it as a ‘portrait’, but I’m not sure how I would describe it; but I like it.
 
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Phil
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#18
just to emphasise the importance of the above, in the first image posted, you had to tell us that the shoe was the point of focus, which seemed odd (it was barely noticeable) whereas the image of the girl works and the intent is obvious.

Unfortunately for the photographer, our intent often overrides what we actually produced, so we know what we were shooting, but feel frustrated when others don’t ‘get it’.

But it’s always our fault, we have to learn to see our own images objectively, or get help with editing from others. ‘Editing’ is as important a skill as the photography itself, picking what is worthy of showing isn’t easy, but the better you get at it, the more you avoid shooting stuff that doesn’t make the grade.

Don’t confuse editing with post processing. And don’t fall into the hole of believing that PP can make up for what went wrong at the shooting stage.
 
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Tilly
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#19
if this thread is slightly hard to follow, then it's because the OP cross-posted the same question to a number of forum areas and they've all been merged into one.

OP, in future, please don't spam the forum with the same question - put it in one location, and if you don't get any answers, report the thread and ask if it'd be better placed somewhere else, and we'll move it for you.
Oh sorry I didn’t realise that happen
 
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Soeren
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#20
Yes the shoe was the main focus, and overall what I was trying to accomplish I have I just didn’t feel it was overly clean and sharp (foot being the focus) so I was wondering what I could do but to improve these kinds shoots?

I do have shots of his face that I will post later
But whats so interesting bout his shoe? Your composition and distance renders his face adequately sharp that the viewer will be drawn to it. moving in closer getting rid of most of the uninteresting foreground and focussing on something that wll tell the story e.g. the wheel or other part of the scooter placed in the same plane as his foot rendering him more oof would probably result in a more interesting photo. On the second pic maybe you should have payed a bit more attention to the placement of the lights behind her head.
 
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Tilly
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#21
Much better*
So, in this one the shoe is the ‘obvious’ focus point, because of the composition, lighting and because the face is more OoF...

Which is what I said above. Interesting experiment to hone your composition and lighting skills though, because you’ve aimed for something ‘different ‘ you’ve found how easy it is to fail. If you’d have been shooting to emphasise the face, it’d have been more difficult to pinpoint composition and lighting errors that detract from the ‘subject’, because faces are so automatically appealing to us. The brighter light on the guys face draws our attention, but then slaps us back because it’s OoF, but the thing that’s in focus is the shoe, which is darker (hidden in the shadows).

*i still wouldn’t describe it as a ‘portrait’, but I’m not sure how I would describe it; but I like it.
Okay I understand what you are saying now that your drawn to his face due to his face being in the light yet my aim(not obvious) is his foot.. thank you for this feedback I feel it will help me on my photography road
 
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Tilly
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#22
But whats so interesting bout his shoe? Your composition and distance renders his face adequately sharp that the viewer will be drawn to it. moving in closer getting rid of most of the uninteresting foreground and focussing on something that wll tell the story e.g. the wheel or other part of the scooter placed in the same plane as his foot rendering him more oof would probably result in a more interesting photo. On the second pic maybe you should have payed a bit more attention to the placement of the lights behind her head.
I’m into my sneakers and the sneaker is a classic..
 
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Jim
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#25
View attachment 134820

Here’s another one like it but as you can see I had lots of other light around me.. again I think the shot works well and I was happy with it

I like this one, for me i'd remove the two obvious white blobs top left (they are quite distracting) and possibly the white reflection on your glasses. In terms of the rest, I personally think it is OK, maybe it could be a bit more low key in the areas around you, but for me it's nothing major.
 
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Tilly
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#26
I like this one, for me i'd remove the two obvious white blobs top left (they are quite distracting) and possibly the white reflection on your glasses. In terms of the rest, I personally think it is OK, maybe it could be a bit more low key in the areas around you, but for me it's nothing major.
Yes I see the error of my ways with the white lights being distracting.. this was my first every shoot of people and in a public place but it’s all part of my learning iv only been taking pictures for about a year
 
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