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Thread: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

  1. #1

    Default "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    Hi Seniors and Sempais
    I am re-doing the previously crappy yellow calla on cow grass image.
    Please be generous with constructive criticism. A caveat: I am not a pro shooter, and this is not really a deliberate product shoot.

    Please do not tell me "i suck". instead, tell me how i suck

    I am still a newbie! "Please many many teach" (transliterated)


    1. in what area is critique to be sought?

    a. Exposure
    b. Maybe, composition and placement
    c. Some PP was done to recover blown out highlights (still slightly blown out)

    2. what one hopes to achieve with the piece of work?
    To showcase the flower's beauty

    3. under what circumstance is the picture taken? (physical conditions/emotions)
    DIY strobist setup (bery budget) :

    BG: Mahjong paper taped on wall with a bench for the lower part of the paper to rest on. Blueish rattan basket (poor choice of color)
    Subject: Bouquet of flowers - please don't critique the flower arrangement

    Lighting:
    7-11 White umbrella mounted on flash bracket for shooting through with Yongnuo 460 Mk2 at 1/2 power
    BG isolation light / Yongnuo 465 at 1/8 power

    Camera setting
    Manual F8, 1/200, ISO 400 (at lower ISO, flash can't cycle fast enough)

    4. what the critique seeker personally thinks of the picture

    I think the flowers are pretty.
    Orientation of the flowers maybe slightly off.

    Are the oranges a bit too saturated from PP work?

    Thanks for all help
    宁愿遇见丢失幼崽的母熊,也不愿碰上做蠢事的愚人

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    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    the streak of blue at the right edge and the black patch at bottom right is a bit distracting.
    Last edited by d2xpeter; 20th January 2013 at 07:13 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    I rather u had put the flowers into a nice long vase than a dirty basket.

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    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    "dirty"? so as to contrast how beautiful the flowers are mah. LOL

    btw, think it would b good to rotate to hv more frontal and to hide the cut portion of the stalk, IMHO

  5. #5

    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    Quote Originally Posted by d2xpeter View Post
    "dirty"? so as to contrast how beautiful the flowers are mah. LOL

    btw, think it would b good to rotate to hv more frontal and to hide the cut portion of the stalk, IMHO
    oops my bad on the blue streak. its the wall peeping through. I did not crop as that corner was hidden under another window. my bad. no excuses!

    regarding seeing more of the front, I am obliged to capture the stalk as it is part of the distinctive branding and styling.
    it is really hard to get an angle which shows the handle and the flowers at same time
    宁愿遇见丢失幼崽的母熊,也不愿碰上做蠢事的愚人

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    Default

    I don't think it's any better than previously... But before I make my observations, could you list your thought process and explain choice of subject & props. Please provide as much information as detailed as possible. Also explain your choice of composition, background, lighting setup, etc.

    This is extremely important. I feel your answer also determines how seriously I frame my criticism this time.

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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    since you shooting hand bouquets on a regular basis, why don't consider get a presentable stand for that?
    Shoot to Live, Live to Shoot
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  8. #8

    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    i think this is a better attempt than your previous one. the background is cleaner but the viewer's eyes is led out the frame at left because of the flower basket.
    i would prefer using a smaller receptacle so that it is entirely within the frame, and allows for some empty space all around your subject.
    e.g.
    Last edited by zaren; 20th January 2013 at 11:25 PM.
    you can buy better gear but you can't buy a better eye

  9. #9

    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    Quote Originally Posted by foxtwo View Post
    I don't think it's any better than previously... But before I make my observations, could you list your thought process and explain choice of subject & props. Please provide as much information as detailed as possible. Also explain your choice of composition, background, lighting setup, etc.

    This is extremely important. I feel your answer also determines how seriously I frame my criticism this time.
    Senior Foxtwo, thanks for taking the time for your input.

    I did get rid of the cow grass and impromptu unplanned shooting, deliberately selecting and putting up a white background for less distraction.

    Subject is flowers as I shoot hand bouquet on frequent basis for Qc and verifying purpose before passing to client or secondary tier vendor.

    lighting setup. I chose to use a shoot through umbrella to diffuse the light more and make a nice and gentle light source compared to the previous attempt where the handheld flash was producing hard light.

    while you may justifiably feel that the attempt isn't much better, I do feel that this time around it isn't from lack of effort.

    do share with me how I may improve in areas I had fallen short. kindly do not suggest another subject matter to shoot other than flowers

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    since you shooting hand bouquets on a regular basis, why don't consider get a presentable stand for that?
    hi Uncle Ben. I have a very nice glass vase but don't know how to shoot glass under strobist condition such that the glass can see through. I will seriously consider learning how to shoot glass or otherwise invest in maybe a wine bottle holder. hopefully not to expensive as must watch P n L

    Quote Originally Posted by zaren View Post
    i think this is a better attempt than your previous one. the background is cleaner but the viewer's eyes is led out the frame at left because of the flower basket.
    i would prefer using a smaller receptacle so that it is entirely within the frame, and allows for some empty space all around your subject.
    e.g.
    Thanks Senior Zaren. I had been pondering how to crop the basket side as I do agree there is too much free space. but when I cropped the basket in the straight forward way without the cloned vertical, I ended up with unnaturally " open " basket. the cloned vertical is a stroke of ingenuity. thanks for inspiring. I will bear this technique in mind

    hopefully in future I will do things nice in- camera and not have to fix too much in post
    宁愿遇见丢失幼崽的母熊,也不愿碰上做蠢事的愚人

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    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    My opinions on this:

    1. The position of the bouquet is not ideal because you showed the ugliest part of it, the cut stalks.
    2. The basket is not the best choice.
    3. Even though you use a shoot through umbrella, you must have placed it pretty far away. That is why the shadows cast by the flowers have such defined edges. Move your umbrella close to your subject to soften the light. remember to reduce the power once you do that too to balance the flash exposure.
    4. The dark line on the right edge of the frame is unacceptable.

    Actually, for shooting in any studio environment, you need to take note of all the details. You are in total control of the scene and lighting, which gives you the ability to make sure everything is placed nicely. So please take some time to think how you want each element in the shot to show, and what not to show. Even if some things like edges can be left to be taken care of at post production, you should take care of them before presenting the final image to viewers.

    And, about shooting glassware in studio environment, it is not that hard. If you actually spent some time to search on how to do it, you could have found it easily. The easiest way is to use white cards and black cards. Here is a video on how to do it.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 21st January 2013 at 08:00 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    Compositionally, I'd try not to crop the basket off like in the image. It's quite abrupt and looks unnatural. I'd have the full basket in the shot and some negative space on the left.

    The shadows are an issue too. Since you're working with only one umbrella from camera left, your shadows are quite pronounced. It would be best to try again with the flash slightly above camera and pointing down (Beauty dish position) so that the shadows fall behind. Play around with the height until you get a slight shadow right under the basket. You can also add a reflector on one side to add some dimensionality to the image. It's gonna be all trial and error though as there's no modeling light to guide you.

    Lastly, in post, try to adjust the white point so that the background appears seamless white.

    Hope that helps!

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    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    Quote Originally Posted by san2001 View Post
    Compositionally, I'd try not to crop the basket off like in the image. It's quite abrupt and looks unnatural. I'd have the full basket in the shot and some negative space on the left.

    The shadows are an issue too. Since you're working with only one umbrella from camera left, your shadows are quite pronounced. It would be best to try again with the flash slightly above camera and pointing down (Beauty dish position) so that the shadows fall behind. Play around with the height until you get a slight shadow right under the basket. You can also add a reflector on one side to add some dimensionality to the image. It's gonna be all trial and error though as there's no modeling light to guide you.

    Lastly, in post, try to adjust the white point so that the background appears seamless white.

    Hope that helps!
    If you move the light to right above the camera, you lose most of the directionality of the light and the look changes entirely, and I am not sure if that is what TS intended the shot to be.

    Actually, even when working with one umbrella, shadows need not be pronounced. It all depends on how you place your umbrella.

    This is shot with one light with umbrella from camera left. And as you can see, the shadow is not pronounced.

    Last edited by daredevil123; 21st January 2013 at 10:26 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    I was referring to this sort of placement:



    Which is very common in the fashion world

    Which leads to results like this:



    Contrary to popular belief, one does not lose directionality with light positioning like this. As I mentioned, adding a reflector to the side helps add specularity if needed.

    I personally prefer not to work with only an umbrella if I am positioning it to the side and add a fill to the other side. But that's personal preference. Here's an example (White wall on the side acting as reflector for fill).



    I do agree with you though, the light needs to be brought closer to the flowers to make it less harsh.

    Up to TC to play around with all suggested setups and choose the one that fits his/ her needs the best, I guess...

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    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    Quote Originally Posted by san2001 View Post
    I was referring to this sort of placement:

    Which is very common in the fashion world

    Which leads to results like this:



    Contrary to popular belief, one does not lose directionality with light positioning like this. As I mentioned, adding a reflector to the side helps add specularity if needed.

    I personally prefer not to work with only an umbrella if I am positioning it to the side and add a fill to the other side. But that's personal preference. Here's an example (White wall on the side acting as reflector for fill).

    I do agree with you though, the light needs to be brought closer to the flowers to make it less harsh.

    Up to TC to play around with all suggested setups and choose the one that fits his/ her needs the best, I guess...
    That is not placement right above camera as you mentioned. That is placement of light high above camera. And in the fashion world it is called butterfly lighting.

    The 3rd example, though, is an example of this lighting technique not executed well, where the directionality is lost, there is just too much fill.

    But like I said, when TS set up the light to camera left, he intended for a certain kind of look. If you shift it to butterfly, it is another kind of look. And seriously butterfly works the best for human subjects, not the best for product.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 21st January 2013 at 11:04 AM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    I don't want to ruin this thread with semantics, but what I mentioned in the original post was clearly "Beauty dish placement". The image in the second post demonstrates exactly that and if it wasn't clear in the first post, I apologize.

    From my humble understanding of lighting, "Butterfly lighting" isn't just placing a beauty dish high up, it's about lighting the subject from high and low. Two light sources are involved, be it two lights or one light and one reflector.


    ...and in the 3rd example, overhead lighting isn't used. Rather, the light is to one side. A simple look at the catchlight would make it clear. There's enough directionality in the shot (Look under the jawline for shadows, for example or on the right cheek for a highlight), but it's more subtle as the light source is very close to the subject and the shot is overall, high key . Such low contrast lighting has its uses, be it in a simple driving license shot or a soft, product shot.

    I was just putting my 2 cents forward and it's entirely up to TS to accept/ reject those. Instead of continuously trying to argue semantics and so on, why don't you let him/ her make the call on what's suitable for this shot?
    Last edited by san2001; 21st January 2013 at 11:13 AM.

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    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    Quote Originally Posted by san2001 View Post
    I don't want to ruin this thread with semantics, but what I mentioned in the original post was clearly "Beauty dish placement". The image in the second post demonstrates exactly that and if it wasn't clear in the first post, I apologize.

    From my humble understanding of lighting, "Butterfly lighting" isn't just placing a beauty dish high up, it's about lighting the subject from high and low. Two light sources are involved, be it two lights or one light and one reflector.


    ...and in the 3rd example, overhead lighting isn't used. Rather, the light is to one side. A simple look at the catchlight would make it clear. There's enough directionality in the shot (Look under the jawline for shadows, for example or on the right cheek for a highlight), but it's more subtle and the shot is overall, high key as the light source is very close to the subject. Such low contrast lighting has its uses, be it in a simple driving license shot or a soft, product shot.

    I was just putting my 2 cents forward and it's entirely up to TS to accept/ reject those. Instead of continuously trying to argue semantics and so on, why don't you let him/ her make the call on what's suitable for this shot?
    "Beauty dish placement" is meaningless, because a beauty dish can be placed in any location. I have placed beauty dishes in Rembrandt position, even as hair lights before. There is no fixed way to place a beauty dish, because it is just simply a light modifier. You can choose to place it anywhere.

    Actually, if you are talking about having 2 lights, one high, one low, that is called clamshell lighting. Butterfly means center placement higher up - just one light. It is called butterfly, because of the butterfly shaped shadow under the nose. You can definitely add another light at the bottom to fill a little, but that does not mean butterfly has to be 2 lights.

    As for the 3rd example, you are free to feel how good that work is. But to me, it isn't executed well and a very poor example of a portrait and lighting setup. Sorry. If you would like to put that picture up as a separate critique, I am sure many kind folks here, including myself, will be more than happy to advice you on what you can do better there.

    well, I don't like to argue too about semantics. But I have to correct you here because it is important to understand what the terms mean and how to say it properly. Especially so when advice is being given here. I have a responsibility to make sure readers here learn the right things, and this include the right terms and the right ideas. How else can we try to advise people, or tell people what we want to do in a studio, if we cannot even get the terms right? In the end, as photographers, especially ones giving advice, we need to watch what we say carefully, to make sure our terms are accurate. So readers can learn the right things, and get the right idea we are putting forward.

    And even as I "argue" here, you are given a chance to learn, and correct the misconceptions you might have (in definition, terms or concepts). But whether you want to accept it is up to you too.

    BTW, I am not one here telling TS what to do. Just helping him do what he wants better. I think you mistaken me for someone else who is telling TS what lighting setup he should be using... you know, the one that is asking him to use "beauty dish placement"...
    Last edited by daredevil123; 21st January 2013 at 11:32 AM.

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    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    FYI, "Butterfly lighting" is referring to the shadows resemble a butterfly shape under the nose, in order to see such shadow, the photographer need to place the key light high up.

    not placing two lights at both side like a butterfly wings, or placing the lights one high and one low,


    btw, for placing one light high up and one light lower is also call clam lighting.





    anyway, such lighting setting not suitable for TS, her only have one hotshoe flash and want to do it fast, do it good, please don't confuse her with all the terms and set up.
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    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    I have placed beauty dishes in Rembrandt position, even as hair lights before.
    One could get a horse to pull a car and that's certainly possible technically, but that's not the norm. Every pro that I have conversed with, even ones with 30+ years in the field, refers to that one particular placement when they say "Beauty dish placement" as it is what that modifier was originally designed for.

    Actually, if you are talking about having 2 lights, one high, one low, that is called clamshell lighting.
    Again, arguing semantics. In this case, a Tomayto-Tomahto situation.

    How to Achieve Perfect Butterfly Lighting One of the several tutorials that utilize over-under lighting and call it "Butterfly". I'm sure there will be other tutorials that call it "Clamshell". Neither is wrong.



    If you ask ten working pros about lighting advise, they will give 10 different opinions. Doesn't mean that any of them is right or wrong. If it's me that gets that advise, I'll work through all of those suggestions and choose what works best for me, not dissect the semantics that they present.

    And even as I "argue" here, you are given a chance to learn, and correct the misconceptions you might have
    Oh I do make the most of these chances, provided genuine advise is given. I have very little to learn from a never ending cycle of semantics based arguments. Sorry.

    Good day!

    Quote Originally Posted by catchlights View Post
    FYI, "[COLOR=#333333]

    anyway, such lighting setting not suitable for TS, her only have one hotshoe flash and want to do it fast, do it good, please don't confuse her with all the terms and set up.
    At no point have I suggested to use two light sources. I simply mentioned that he/ she tries out an overhead lighting placement to avoid the angular shadows. In my experience, a speedlight, even with the wide diffuser attached and shot through an umbrella still throws a rather harsh spread vs big strobes. Therefore, it might help if those harsh shadows are behind the subject.

    It's just one harmless suggestion. I don't understand why certain folks have to be at my throat for suggesting something different, to be honest.
    Last edited by san2001; 21st January 2013 at 11:43 AM.

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    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    Quote Originally Posted by san2001 View Post
    One could get a horse to pull a car and that's certainly possible technically, but that's not the norm. Every pro that I have conversed with, even ones with 30+ years in the field, refers to that one particular placement when they say "Beauty dish placement" as it is what that modifier was originally designed for.



    Again, arguing semantics. In this case, a Tomayto-Tomahto situation.

    How to Achieve Perfect Butterfly Lighting One of the several tutorials that utilize over-under lighting and call it "Butterfly". I'm sure there will be other tutorials that call it "Clamshell". Neither is wrong.

    If you ask ten working pros about lighting advise, they will give 10 different opinions. Doesn't mean that any of them is right or wrong. If it's me that gets that advise, I'll work through all of those suggestions and choose what works best for me, not dissect the semantics that they present.



    Oh I do make the most of these chances, provided genuine advise is given. I have very little to learn from a never ending cycle of semantics based arguments. Sorry.

    Good day!
    Well, it will be interesting to know which photographers you have been conversing with. Because the ones I converse with, industry leading ones, never put forth that thinking: That butterfly have to be 2 lights, that beauty dish has to be placed straight on above the head. You can also ask Catchlights here, a industry leading professional. He has been in the business for 30+ or at least close to 30 years as well I believe. ANd is a certified Master photographer by a very prestigious association in the UK.

    There are terms that are set in stone. no matter what you and I think or say, can never change.

    But of course, you are free to believe what you choose to believe. I have to come out to say what I believe to be true in light of what you have said. Have a good day.

    Semantics are important. Why so? because photographers have to work in a team. If you have your own ideas about terms and lighting, how are you going to communicate with your grips, assistants or even clients? If you have no desire or patience to learn the right terms in the industry, how are you going to work in the industry?
    Last edited by daredevil123; 21st January 2013 at 11:43 AM.

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    Default Re: "Strobist" newbie re-do - Bouquet of Flowers

    Quote Originally Posted by san2001 View Post
    It's just one harmless suggestion. I don't understand why certain folks have to be at my throat for suggesting something different, to be honest.
    No one are going for your throat. People are just telling you what you are saying is incorrect. That's all.

    If you cannot stand to be corrected, maybe you should avoid trying to give inaccurate advice.

    Ok. I think the OT has gone far enough. Let's get back on topic.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 21st January 2013 at 11:46 AM.

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