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B&W portraits question - Photography

Question for you all I recently did some black and white portraits of some relatives at their homes. In short, the end results were very disappointing. Does anyone have any golden rules, or guidelines they could offer with respect to taking FLATTERING black and white portraits. The pictures I took were of an elderly relative, and they turned out to show every single mark, wrinkle, and blemish on her face. The subject was sat next to a window, with side on lighting, ad I used a slow Ilford Pan f 50 film on a 28-135mm lens. I guess I would ...

  1. #1

    Default B&W portraits question

    Question for you all

    I recently did some black and white portraits of some relatives at their
    homes. In short, the end results were very disappointing. Does anyone have
    any golden rules, or guidelines they could offer with respect to taking
    FLATTERING black and white portraits.

    The pictures I took were of an elderly relative, and they turned out to show
    every single mark, wrinkle, and blemish on her face. The subject was sat
    next to a window, with side on lighting, ad I used a slow Ilford Pan f 50
    film on a 28-135mm lens.

    I guess I would like to know, if there are any rules you can apply to help
    make more flattering portraits, without getting that horrible haze effect
    filter, which I fail to understand why it is still used today.

    Suggestions welcome..


    SomePerson Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: B&W portraits question

    > I recently did some black and white portraits of some relatives at their 

    There's nothing wrong with soft focus if done properly. But you've got
    to cut the sharpness somehow. And B&W requires far better technique
    than color when it comes to lighting and exposure.
    Randall Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: B&W portraits question

    Hi Someperson

    Your issues are all right there . . .
    "The subject was sat next to a window, with side on lighting",

    Side lighting will show every bit of "character" or dimension on a three
    dimensional object. If you position your subject so that they're facing the
    light source, light will fill rather that accentuate the lines. You can
    make a homemade reflector from aluminum foil or shiny white fabric by
    covering a 2x3 foot foamboard and bounce additional light from below to help
    with shadows.

    "ad I used a slow Ilford Pan f 50
    film on a 28-135mm lens."

    Also the beautiful but slow Pan50 (my ultimate favorite before digital) does
    capture every! pore on skin. I use to do my own darkroom work and would use
    a diffuser in the enlarging process as opposed to a filter on the cameral
    lens - I had a plastic gizmo like an aperture lens that would diffuse detail
    (holding over the enlarger lens), or use an old movie trick, a piece of very
    sheer black fabric (a scarf or stocking) in the same way. I only used the
    diffusion for a portion of printing time (not more that 50%) and you can
    control the amount. Once I started scanning negatives, all this was done in
    Photoshop with various blurs and 3rd party filters.

    You also could try the faster film and the grain will soften some of the
    detail, and a long focal length with not much depth of field and focus on
    their eyes???? And as a test, position the subject and then YOU walk around
    them and take pictures from every angle to see just what light does and what
    is most/least flattering . . .



    "SomePerson" <com> wrote in message
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    slf Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: B&W portraits question

    "Photoshop" can do magic!


    Lunaray Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: B&W portraits question

    Thanks for all your help everyone.




    "Lunaray" <com> wrote in message
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    SomePerson Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: B&W portraits question

    I alway go for just what you got, all the detail that I can get. THEN, if I
    need to I can go into photoshop and soften etc. You cannot add detail, but
    you can always soften.
    "SomePerson" <com> wrote in message
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    JW Guest

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