How To Prevent Shadows In Portraits


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Robert

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Jun 25, 2004
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#1
Hi

I have a subject with a white/beige background (a wall). The subject stands infront of the wall.

When I take a photo with the flash, there is also a shadow of the portrait on the wall in the final photo.

How do I prevent this?

TIA

Robert
 

Electrin

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#2
I normally use two flashes (non-studio setup), one to illuminate the subject and another to bounce off the ceiling, catching the shadows from behind. It also helps if the subject sits a little further from the wall.

Just a bounce flash will also help reduce the shadows.
 

Robert

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Jun 25, 2004
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#3
Thanks for the quick reply.

If I bounced the light off the ceiling, will there be a time-lag? I mean will the shutter close first before the flash illuminates the background, considering the light now has a longer path? (does it make logical sense)
 

funksoulava

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#4
Robert said:
Thanks for the quick reply.

If I bounced the light off the ceiling, will there be a time-lag? I mean will the shutter close first before the flash illuminates the background, considering the light now has a longer path? (does it make logical sense)
"The speed of light in vacuum is exactly 299,792,458 m/s (metres per second)" *quoted from http://www.what-is-the-speed-of-light.com/index.html*

If your camera's shutter is faster than that, and the distance of your subject to the back of the wall is further than 299,792,458 meters, your flash won't be able to illuminate the background within one second.
 

karwing

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#5
Robert said:
Hi

I have a subject with a white/beige background (a wall). The subject stands infront of the wall.

When I take a photo with the flash, there is also a shadow of the portrait on the wall in the final photo.

How do I prevent this?

TIA

Robert
can try to move the subject away from the wall, then the shadow will be less obvious.
 

ortega

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Nov 2, 2004
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#6
Robert said:
Thanks for the quick reply.

If I bounced the light off the ceiling, will there be a time-lag? I mean will the shutter close first before the flash illuminates the background, considering the light now has a longer path? (does it make logical sense)
In lay man's terms "NO"
the speed of light is way faster than that of your exposure, try it.
Also move the subject away from the wall and increase your exposure
to get more ambient light.
 

Stoned

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#7
Alternatively, you could use ambient light or use tungsten lighting. Position the lighting set-up in such a way that the shadows do not fall in the frame, while ensuring the subject is lit-up the way you desire it/him/her to be. It may be necessary to use twin lighting set ups.
The advantage of this is that you can see the shadows(if any) before you squeeze the shutter.
Of course, your subject also gets very hot.
 

catchlights

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#8
Not sure how much effort you want to put into this kind of situation, but a quick solution is use ceiling bounce, get the subject away from the wall (about 1 to 2m). You get nice soft lighting on the subject and the ugly shadow disappear. (Only works if the ceiling is white and not more that 4m height, with you flash is powerful, able to do a ceiling bounce)
 

yqt

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#9
be sure to check the flash sync speed on your camera. If you set your camera speed higher than the sync speed you will get partial flash on your photo because your shutter have already start to close before your flash starts to fire. A camera speed of 1/60 or 1/125 should be good enough. On some camera the sync speed is as high as 1/500.
 

student

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Jul 26, 2004
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#10
If you understand the concept of the zone system, anything exceeding zone 8, printed in the normal way, will produce a totally white background.

You don't need bounce etc.

Just blast the background with sufficient light. Make sure your model face is in say zone 6, and the background in zone 8 and you get a perfect white background!

I do this all the time!
 

Witness

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#11
bouncing light off the ceiling will cause shadows under the eyes.. like said use another light source to illuminate the backgrd..
 

catchlights

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#12
I presume Robert just using a camera and shoot direct flash, for a subject standing in front of a white wall, he want to know how to get rid the shadow cast by the subject, so I tell he a simple solution, as long you are not to close to the subject, ceiling bounce will not cause the raccoon eyes effect.

If he don’t mind do a two lights setup or explorer the zone system, other poster do provide value information.
 

Robert

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Jun 25, 2004
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#13
Thanks for the replies everyone.

It's very interesting to read the different replies and methods to overcome this.

Basically, I use the internal flash to point-&-shoot and this creates a shadow on the wall. Sometimes I take photos of friends at parties etc and do a quick snap, but there is a shadow on the wall.

I will experiment with the various options given.

Thanks !!!!!
 

Witness

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#14
some tissue over the flash will soften it....
perhaps u wanna make a bounce card too.....

hope this helps...
 

melnjes

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Aug 12, 2003
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#15
With a single flash unit, bounce off ceiling to prevent shadows at the back. and use bounce card at the same time so that we get some direct light to prevent raccoon eyes
 

Shodan99

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Nov 5, 2004
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#16
A little OT: Say if I want to take candid (street photography) potraits in outdoor conditions, can I use fill in flash in low light conditions. example: subject under the shade? :think:
 

catchlights

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#17
Robert said:
Thanks for the replies everyone.

It's very interesting to read the different replies and methods to overcome this.

Basically, I use the internal flash to point-&-shoot and this creates a shadow on the wall. Sometimes I take photos of friends at parties etc and do a quick snap, but there is a shadow on the wall.

I will experiment with the various options given.

Thanks !!!!!
Hmm, internal flash, don't thinks you can use the method I mention earlier.

If you are say about the ugly shadow on the side cast by the subject when you shoot vertical, what you can do is shoot all in horizontal with larger file and crop to vertical in photoshop.
Hope this help
 

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