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Most amateur photographers soon learned that in addition to simple snapshots of friends and relatives, portraits of characters can be made.
For many, however, this usually means traditional, formal studio pictures.
Fortunately, many serious camera enthusiasts have found that they can simulate the indoor conditions used by professionals, simply make a modest investment in the equipment and do some self-training on how to use the lights properly.
The first thing you might mention is that you don\'t need lights at all to equal or exceed the results of many professional studio portraits --
If you are working outdoors, especially when you are shooting in a bright shade, the subject does not have to squint because of the soft, flattering light.
With a clear enough background, and perhaps a homemade mirror, it\'s easy to shoot colors or black and white in the shade where the scene is comfortable and light enough.
However, most photographers choose to take portraits indoors when there may be no sun, or they choose to take advantage of the outdoor and indoor mixed lighting.
This means mastering the use of floodlights, which can intimidate serious amateurs who think the device is hard to handle.
This is not the case for those familiar with the way light affects the body, especially the human face.
With a little practice, you can almost get excellent results in your own home portrait studio under the control of your own lights, there you can make personal touches on portraits that others think are made by professionals.
Device you will use 35mm (or larger)
A single-lens reflection camera that provides a swap lens.
Instantload cameras and other cameras with fixed lenses usually have a lens of at least a bit wide angle type, which tends to distort people\'s faces when you are close enough to a real portrait.
Even if you can focus on less than 3 feet of the subject, this lens will make the nose look too big and the head looks out of proportion to the body.
Therefore, it is better to shoot at a focal length of 85mm or longer on a 35mm camera;
The 135mm lens is a lovely focal length for a camera in 2x2 or 6x7 cm format.
Advertising a \"normal\" lens, such as a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera, if you carefully keep it at a considerable distance from the subject, it will be used for portraits.
But the long focal length lens allows you to work closer to people than the normal focal length lens, so when you want to include only one face on a slide or print, you don\'t seem to crowd them.
While advertising sounds silly, even using a 35mm camera indoors or outdoors, it\'s good practice to shoot a portrait with a camera mounted on a tripod.
For floodlights, you may use an exposure of 1/30 or 1/60 per second, sometimes slower, so the handheld camera does not guarantee clarity.
Even better, from the tripod, you can compose exactly, move around and adjust the lights, and then go back to the same image without delay.
Of course, you may want to avoid a tripod when you take a photo for an active child, but if you are ready for both, the choice is yours.
As for the choice of lighting methods, you will learn the best under floodlights, because you can study their effects on the face before you actually shoot.
This is impossible in flash.
Unless you place a floodlight next to each flash, and most Portrait settings require several flash units.
Therefore, consider buying a floodlight instead of a second electronic flash in a medium or larger size.
The cheapest home studio uses a reflector floodlight bubble in a lamp socket with a clip attached.
The required hardware, wire, can be purchased in hardware, department store, where you can also find the wood handle that can be installed on the socket, this way you can manipulate the hot light pole without touching the hot socket or bulb.
The cost of two or three clampon reflector/floodlight combinations with bulbs will be well below $40.
The camera store also has ready-made aluminum reflector with a diameter of 10 inch and larger, with clips and wires.
Sometimes it is more economical to buy these products in kits that include brackets and boxes.
This reflector is made for two photoelectric bulbs.
Buy The 3200 K type as they do not change color for longer duration.
More expensive than ordinary floods, but also brighter and more compact are quartz lamps of all sizes.
If you are going to use the reflector on a regular basis to fill in the shadows of the lovely soft portrait lighting, or if you want to cover the group or the whole room, then, quartz lamps offer the advantage of allowing smaller f/stop or faster shutter speeds than less powerful photoelectric bulbs.
For any of the above, you will need a telescopic lamp holder that is usually made of aluminum;
Although they are not expensive, they can last a lifetime.
Otherwise, you will have to connect your lights to a chair, table, shelf and other nearby objects that are not very convenient.
The set-up door is usually a plain light-colored wall and can be used for portrait background.
Move enough furniture to one side to make room for chairs or bar stools your subjects can sit on, and stretch out at least 4 feet or more feet from the wall. Advertisement(
If you like an environmental portrait that shows a person\'s surroundings, it\'s a different lighting work, it\'s best to practice with daylight in the first place, and then add one or two floodlights.
The at-home studio method highlighted in this article picks out a person without background interference, so there is no attempt to indicate the setting. )
For those with limited artificial lighting equipment, or for those who wish to have a neat change on more formal lighting, it is better to place your object near a window or glass door, preferablybright shadow)
Instead of letting your theme be illuminated by the strong; direct sun.
When your model turns his or her face in different directions to spread the light evenly, or you choose to use higher contrast, this gives you a variety of potential single-sided lighting.
In this case, it will benefit you to use a floodlight or reflector to illuminate the shaded face of the face, however, don\'t try it alone because the window light is very intense and dramatic.
The art and skill of arranging lighting portrait lighting grows as experience grows.
Start with a light aimed at the top or side and move it to another location to see how the face changes with the direction of the light.
This effect is called modeling and you will notice that moving the light a few inches to one side will affect the look and feel of any portrait theme.
Next, add the second lamp called \"fill\" as it works to illuminate (or fill in)
Shadows created by the first or \"main\" lights: manipulate fill lights and main lights for a period of time before taking any photos;
Then shoot your favorite effects, even if you don\'t think the lighting is ideal.
Try to remember how you arrange the lights so you can repeat your most successful results.
Small charts making light positions with approximate light subject measurements may be helpful for future reference.
At first you can pass by with two lights, but the third one located below the model is an asset as it illuminates the background wall.
In order for you to prefer to separate the nanny\'s head from the background, adjust the contrast of the third lamp.
When the background light is backlight the babysitter\'s hair at the same time, try to locate the background light to illuminate the wall.
This is tricky because the light will shine into the lens, so use the lens cover on the camera to ensure safety.
If you just want to light up the background, a normal 150 watt bulb in an adjustable light or socket will do the job.
The key to successful portrait lighting is soft shadows, unless you are pursuing drama similar to stage lighting.
Soft, subtle light is produced by spreading light in front of the floodlight with a plastic or screen diffuser or by using a reflector.
Ask at the camera store about the diffuser for certain sizes and branded equipment.
It is possible that the umbrella reflector is more versatile, which is usually used to diffuse light and avoid targeting bare light at objects.
The larger the reflection surface, the softer and more dispersed the lighting will be.
The effect of properly reflected flood lights is almost the same as the lighting of the reflected flash, so good technology can be applied to two types of equipment.
When using an umbrella, it is usually a good idea to fill the shadow, place another reflector on the other side to capture the light of the main umbrella and soften the shadow without throwing anything of your own.
Use a mirror/flood bulb at the back of the subject to contrast with the wall in the living room.
Through experiments, you will find many effective lighting arrangements to please yourself and the people you shoot.
Overall, here are some guidelines on the work of the home studio: place the main light higher than the subject\'s head, start from one side, and then make a difference.
A man\'s face is usually more tolerable than a woman\'s.
Fill light should be weaker than the main light to avoid shadow conflicts or flat lighting without features.
As a test, place the main shadow and fill shadow at about the same distance as the subject, and then check the unpleasant staggered shadows that usually occur.
It is usually a good practice to put the fill light as close as possible to the lens, as its shadows will not be obvious.
As a substitute for an umbrella, use a 30x40-inch white poster board.
Let someone hold it, or attach the board to the back of the chair or a similar stand so that it can still be manipulated.
The poster board is cheap compared to the umbrella, although the umbrella is easier to fix and adjust when caught on the lamp holder.
Aim the two floodlights at an umbrella for more lighting;
So you can shoot at a smaller aperture, or a faster shutter speed, or both.
This problem has also been solved using a fairly powerful electronic flash;
The fast light freezes the action, but it should be strong enough to shoot at f/5.
6 or f/8 with a semi-telephoto lens.
Any movie can be adapted into a portrait, but a faster lotion can give you more freedom when choosing f/stop.
As a result, the Cape type ektach Rome (ASA 160)
Koda Rome, bidongsdon (ASA 40)
, The color print\'s Kodacolor 400 works well with floods or flashes.
Black and white films such as Kodak plus-x and trix are more convenient than slow films.
I use the plus-x a lot and develop it in microdolx, a useful combination either indoors or outdoors.
The background outside of focus will not compete with the faces you shoot.
Please pay attention to f/stop related to depth of field to ensure the background is not clear.
Don\'t get frustrated with lighting technology too soon.
As you become more experienced, subtle, smooth lighting, good camera angles and pleasant expressions will be combined.
Learning from your mistakes, you will soon feel like a challenge equivalent to an at-home portrait studio that can be easily set up when needed.
■ A version of this file was printed on page D40 of The New York edition on February 11, 1979, with the title: camera.