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Old Jul 25, 2007, 9:53 PM   #1
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Hello Everyone!

I desperately need you professional opinion with my project.

First off, I know nothing about photography, so I need some basic suggestions on were to begin:sad:

I am a hairdresser & I am competing in a challenge/project. Part of that challenge is to photograph my work step by step throughout that challenge & do a photo shoot of my finished work at the end.

Now here comes the kicker - my work is done on a mannequin which I have to make looking as live as possible. I can use my hair and make-up skills, BUT if I can't take great pictures of my work, obviously it will not look good & all my hard work will go down the drain.

I have been reading and reading your posts & there is a wealth of information here, but I would like to hear your opinions on what would be the best set up & were would I begin as far as taking the best pictures I possibly can.

I have a Sony DSC-F707 Digital Still Camera with 5.0 mega pixels - AND THAT IS IT!

Here is an example of the trial shot of the before. I did it outside because I thought that since I don't know anything about lighting, I will just use natural resources
(warning it's a little creepy:-))
http://s155.photobucket.com/albums/s...t=DSC03325.jpg

So if you guys can suggest a better lighting & what I should get?
And photographing hair - do I want to use a flash or not?
Lighting? Soft box? Light-box?
Or umbrella...?

What do you think I need to make her look as alive as possible and less, well plastic. I don't know were to begin:?:

Any of your help or suggestions are GREATLY appreciated. Thank you in advance.
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Old Jul 26, 2007, 1:51 PM   #2
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I'm not an expert at this kind of photography, but in your situtation here's what I think I'd do. First, to make her look less plastic you'd probably have to use some makeup to make her less shiny. Secondly, I would light her indoors with more controlled lighting. You don't need to get professional lights, just use some lamps that all have bulbs with the same color temperature. I would arrange the lamps in a 3-point style, probably one bright one (or just very close) to the front and off to the side a bit, one dim one for the other side, and one very bright one to backlight the mannequin.

You don't need to be very scientific about the layout, just play around and take photos until you get something you think looks interesting. Just remember, a contrasty image looks nice, but the camera will always increase the visible contrast significantly, so if you use just one light on the side and it looks nice and contrasty to your eyes, you'll probably need to use a fill light so it'll look the same on a photo.

Finally, use a tripod, and when you take the photo, use a remote or the timer (to avoid camera shake). You probably won't have very bright lighting so you'll want to use slower shutter speeds, and since your subject doesn't move around very much this setup should be practical enough.
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Old Jul 26, 2007, 3:42 PM   #3
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Thank You so much for all of your suggestions! :idea:

So if I would use regular lamps, would you recommend to diffuse the light at all?

And you have mentioned a remote control for the camera, I was just thinking that. My camera doesn't have one & it would really help -so is it something I can buy separately?

And I have just ordered a tripod
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Old Jul 26, 2007, 7:37 PM   #4
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I might diffuse the fill light, but unless you're shooting in a well darkened studio environment you'll likely get diffuse light as well as direct light and just placing the lamp farther away would be enough.

I don't know if a remote is available for your camera or not, you should probably check the manual or search online. If you can't get one or don't want to pay for it, using a timer gets the same results.

One thing I forgot to mention is that you'll probably want some kind of backdrop. Pure white would be nice if you can get it illuminated evenly, otherwise some kind of dark dropcloth or drapery would do nicely.
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Old Jul 27, 2007, 6:01 PM   #5
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Thanks for all your help!

One more question - photographing hair & using other sources of lighting do I need to use a flash or not?
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Old Jul 27, 2007, 10:27 PM   #6
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Flash is just another source of light: might help, but you cannot see what it is doing untill you look at the results. Wouldn't recomend it. As Corpsy noted: a tripod will serve you MUCH better.

Do some reading on portriat lighting: that is what you are doing.

You probably want to reduce the reflections from the manikin's skin. Nice in the eyes and lips, but not from the skin. Under the nose, left shoulder, edges of the mouth, under the eyes, ...

Move the manikin further away from the background so it goes out of focus. Experiment with the manikin not facing straight into the camera
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Old Jul 27, 2007, 10:32 PM   #7
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Very helpfull info THANK YOU so much
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