I know you’re supposed to flatter your subjects and make them look nice in their portraits – but where’s the fun in that? Today’s post if a bit of a follow up from the previous one, since I’m using almost the same setup.

First of all I have to tell you that the whole family has been sick this weekend so this might be the only post this week, since I didn’t really have any energy to get new material for more posts. Actually we’re still sick, so if this comes off as a bit more delirious than usual, that will be my excuse. Secondly: as you might imagine, my wife isn’t too happy about these pictures, so please let her know in the comments that she still looks gorgeous, even though the photographer did his best to make the portraits as unflattering as possible.

Like I mentioned, the setup was almost the same as the one used in the previous post (though of course the results there were a lot more flattering). LP160 from camera right, YN560 from camera left, YN560 behind white bed sheet for background, LP160 in small softbox from above and slightly to the front and finally a SB-400, hand held under the lens for fill light. All lights are bare except for the key light in softbox, though since it’s a fairly small softbox the light still comes off as pretty hard.

Unflattering portraitI think the end result is pretty close to what I had in mind and it makes for a cool effect. However, as usual there is always room for improvement. First of all I think the fill could be handled better, specifically with a ring flash. Since I was using a wide angle lens to make things even more unflattering, I had to get very close, which meant that the lens kind of blocked the fill light. With a ring flash the fill would be able to come from everywhere. It’s on my future to buy list but with a rather low priority. The key light could also be improved by getting it more centered. You can see that the left side of her face (right side in the picture) is brighter and that’s because the key light is on a stand that’s leaned on a chair, so it doesn’t come in from straight above. I would have liked to try the key light bare as well, making it even harsher and more controlled.

One thing that could have been fun to try as well would have been to ditch the fill light and put it under the subject instead, lighting her from every direction, just like I did in some product shots before. Another thing I would have liked is a subject with more wrinkles to really give this light some texture to play with. So why didn’t I try these things? I think you already know the answer to that: time (waiting for the wrinkles especially would require a lot of this commodity) and an unwilling model. I got less than ten shots out of the whole thing so I should be happy I got anything I could use at all.

Anyways, it’s time for me to go back to coughing in the phone at work, hope you liked the shots.

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