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Quan Tran Sep 6, 2005 8:54 AM

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I took this shot of my sister-in-law weeks ago. This is the first time I tried out portraiture. So it would be greatly appreciated if you guys could show me if there is any room for improvement in this photo. :?

Thanks in advance andkind regards,


Walter C Sep 6, 2005 9:34 AM


It's a nice first attempt. I like the pose and the setting. The sunglasses are a distraction for me. Also, you might try using fill flash to lighten the shadows.

limeyg Sep 6, 2005 4:46 PM

Quan I agree that the sunglasses are a little distracting but for me I find the
colours in the background tend to pull ones eyes away from the subject.
Maybe a little filling to give the background a more even tone would do it for me.
Nice pose though

[email protected] Sep 6, 2005 8:49 PM

I like the shot as is (nice looking lady!)

You could open the aperture a little wider to blur the background, and get a little closer.

Also, just a little fill flash might work too.

Keep up the good work!


KENNETHD Sep 6, 2005 9:12 PM

Well, Quan...I'm gonna go with the flow. I think a little flash might have upped the appeal. Lacks (I know I'm always saying this lately. Maybe I'm an early macular degeneration or something) the vibrant color saturation to me. But I do find the subject and pose very appealing. Nice shot...Best regards,


Quan Tran Sep 6, 2005 9:34 PM

Hello folks,

That is very kind of you having given me valuable advice! I really appreciate it. One thing I just wonder that in this shot I used fill flash Canon Speedlite 580EX with my 20D but why therewere still shadows on her face and neck. Should I have used flash compensation or it is because I shot this in high noon in the park and did not use the reflector?

kind regards,


[email protected] Sep 6, 2005 9:38 PM

I usually shoot flash manual when I'm doing fill.

Not sure what your shutter speed was, or how far away from your subject, but you could have tried 1/16 or 1/8th power (one or two stops worth) and see what results you get.

A reflector can work real nice too, but always more hassle.

-- Terry

ThomasATC Sep 6, 2005 11:55 PM

Hi Quan,

Very nice photo of a very pretty lady. Great first effort. Keep in mind that Direct noontime sunlight is very difficult to work with. Especially if no open shade is available. But great photos can be taken this time of day.

Fill flash is one option, I also have 20D with EX580, but that isn't my favorite method. Tweaking flashoutput and flash position relative to the camera can take considerablepractice under tough conditions. If you can return to the same location again, you may want to try the following.

In your portrait there is a patch of shade in the grass behind your subject . This may sound strange, but place your subject in the shaded grass and position her so no direct sunlight is hitting her face. Then expose for her face and you will be amazed at the even soft pleasing affect. The eyes will come to life minus the harsh shadows. She won't have to squint or wear her sunglasses.Try a close up shot in direct sunlight vs the shade under a tree and you will be suprized at the difference. If desiredyou can add light from a reflector placed close to the subject. Once in the shade, experiment moving her about facing different directions paying close attention to the light hitting her face and the changing background behind her. I hope this helps.


Quan Tran Sep 7, 2005 12:08 AM

To Terry and Thomas:

I was about5 or6 meters away from her. This was becaused I used the Tamron lens 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro. Yeah, maybe this distance was too far for the fill flash. You know, I've just got the flash 580EX and don't know much about how to tweak or use it in manual mode. I think I took this one usingAv. Here is the exif info:

Model - Canon EOS 20D
ExposureTime - 1/250 seconds
FNumber - 5.60
ExposureProgram - Aperture priority
ISOSpeedRatings - 100
DateTimeOriginal - 2005:08:27 11:52:09
ShutterSpeedValue - 1/250 seconds
ApertureValue - F 5.60
ExposureBiasValue - -0.67
MeteringMode - Average
Flash - Flash fired, compulsory flash mode
FocalLength - 90 mm
WhiteBalance - Auto

Do you guys know any links to the good instructions/tips to play with the Canon Speedlites 580EX. I just want some examples to experiment since the manual itself is very short as always like other products' user guides of Canon.

Thanks a lot and regards,


Hards80 Sep 7, 2005 1:24 AM

listen to thomas's advice on finding open shade, you will be very impressed with the improvements in your outdoor portraits by doing them in this manner..

and see if you can get your sisnlaw back out to shoot.. she is very beautiful and photogenic..

belibeli Sep 9, 2005 7:35 PM

Just one more advice. You can try to shot later.Close to at noon is not the best time to make portrait. Closer to sunset you can get beatiful light.

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