Critique Lili - [Stranger 206] OCF

blakester

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#1
I have been on something of a roll getting out to shoot my 100 strangers project with off camera flash (OCF).
Today I managed to get around Cambridge making a few portraits.

I noticed Lili and her striking red hair wandering along browsing in shops with her friend. A little bemused at first, Lili happily agreed to have my make her portrait.
Lili (full name Liliana) is from Romania but now living in Cambridge.
"Hopefully by February I will be working as a primary school teacher in the UK."
Thank you Lili and good luck!


As has been with my previous OCF portraits, I post them here welcoming comments and critique as I am on a learning curve with this round.

What would I have done differently?

I should have perhaps used a reflector for the camera left hand side of Lili's face.

I know I said I wouldn't kill the ambient on any future portraits but I like that it (the ambient light) is a little under than perhaps is ideal because I feel it adds a little drama to Lili's portrait.

Comments and critique are most welcome.



Lili - [Stranger #206]
by Iain Blake, on Flickr
 

sirch

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#2
That is brilliant IMHO, I can't stop looking at it, compelling, engaging, enhanced by the lines in the background but with excellent separation between the subject and background. I wouldn't change a thing
 
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#4
. I wouldn't change a thing
I would. :)

I'd certainly have gone for short lighting, and got the light in closer too, the small light source isn't doing the subject justice.

The upside is that you've captured a wonderful expression and the composition is your usual brilliant standard.
 
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blakester

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I would. :)

I'd certainly have gone for short lighting, and got the light in closer too, the small light source isn't doing the subject justice.

The upside is that you've captured a wonderful expression and the composition is your usual brilliant standard.
Thanks Phil.
As I understand it, short lighting would be having the right hand side of Lili's face lit instead of how it is lit, is that correct?
I have Lili smiling in another shot but felt this one the more 'compelling' expression.
 
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Thanks Phil.
As I understand it, short lighting would be having the right hand side of Lili's face lit instead of how it is lit, is that correct?
I have Lili smiling in another shot but felt this one the more 'compelling' expression.
Yes, short lighting is lighting the furthest side of the face, creating the cheek shadow on the nearer cheek. Getting the light closer would soften the shadows.
 
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blakester

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Yes, short lighting is lighting the furthest side of the face, creating the cheek shadow on the nearer cheek. Getting the light closer would soften the shadows.
Got you, thanks.
Food for thought, I'm taking all this in and will certainly use it in future portraits.
 

sirch

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#8
I have to say I think that would make it less dramatic, one of the compelling elements of Iain's stranger shots for me is the way he captures unique characters but each to their own.
 
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blakester

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I have to say I think that would make it less dramatic, one of the compelling elements of Iain's stranger shots for me is the way he captures unique characters but each to their own.
Thanks Chris, I do find it very interesting other people's interpretation of my portraits and as you say, to each their own!
 
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Although I look at all your images because of the very high standard you maintain, I now only comment on the outstanding ones. Out of all of them from both series 1 and 2 this image, for reasons which others have already commented on, has to be one of the top 10.
 
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blakester

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#12
I like it as it is, it's more dramatic than your usual style and looks to suit the subject.
Thanks Mark, I'm still trying to define a style with this round of OCF portraits, early days eh?

Although I look at all your images because of the very high standard you maintain, I now only comment on the outstanding ones. Out of all of them from both series 1 and 2 this image, for reasons which others have already commented on, has to be one of the top 10.
Thanks Christopher, such kind comments.
I do particularly like Lili's portrait for it being that little bit different from my previous portraits.
 
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#13
Hi Lain.
You had a fab outing yesterday for sure :) The last one I commented on I mentioned I couldnt really tell the flash was used. I know this is sometimes the intension. Having said that I was left a little confused as I was thinking the images wouldnt be any different than the other ambiant light portraits you have been creating. Then again I guess that is a whole skill on it's own (use flash so as it is not seen).
For me though the image here is amazeballs. You can see the flash at it's best. I don't think I will ever get tired of seeing this classic street portrait backgrouind with it's vanishing point and bokeh. Coupled with a great subject lovely colours and tones to boot.


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Gaz
 
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I have to say I think that would make it less dramatic, one of the compelling elements of Iain's stranger shots for me is the way he captures unique characters but each to their own.
I agree.. the light isn't the most flattering but it's very dramatic - and I'm guessing this is closer to what you were originally after. The bright patch of sky is but a minor distraction.
 
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blakester

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#15
Hi Lain.
You had a fab outing yesterday for sure :) The last one I commented on I mentioned I couldnt really tell the flash was used. I know this is sometimes the intension. Having said that I was left a little confused as I was thinking the images wouldnt be any different than the other ambiant light portraits you have been creating. Then again I guess that is a whole skill on it's own (use flash so as it is not seen).
For me though the image here is amazeballs. You can see the flash at it's best. I don't think I will ever get tired of seeing this classic street portrait backgrouind with it's vanishing point and bokeh. Coupled with a great subject lovely colours and tones to boot.


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Gaz
Thanks Gary,
My intention with these portraits is indeed the subtle use of flash. I completely agree about them being very similar to my previous rounds ambient light portraits.
Bearing in mind that most/all of those were made with the use of a reflector, the flash is now a substitute for the reflector. I'm probably giving myself too much work with this substitution in that ultimately the same result could be achieved by a simpler route but it's something I wish to learn how to do to push myself and photography on.

Thanks again.
 
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blakester

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#16
I agree.. the light isn't the most flattering but it's very dramatic - and I'm guessing this is closer to what you were originally after. The bright patch of sky is but a minor distraction.
Thanks Simon,
I wish I'd used a reflector too, just to balance the shadow a little but didn't.
I'm enjoying this round of portraits, it's making me think and hopefully develop.
I agree about the bright sky too, something else I overlooked....
 
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