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Please beat me up with good suggestions

I took photography many years ago. I served a tour with the United States Marine Corps and have worked in my current job for 25 years. I've recently gotten back into photography and really want to do studio stuff but am struggling. Seems some pics I do come out great. Others seem to blur. I don't get it. I am studying and studying the art.
I think my main problem is camera settings. So many photographers suggest varied settings.
Could you all take a look at my portfolio and tell me what I may be doing wrong and possibly what the best camera settings are that I should be using.

I am using strobe lights (2 45degrees on white screen + 1 light on model). I dont have a light meter (thinking about it). I have a Nikon D7000. I've been switching between a prime 105mm lens and a prime 50mm lens.

Thank You
Nikon D7000, Nikon lens\', and various studio equipment.
Posted: 12/11/2013, 16:26:27 PM
Without seeing the missed shots and your settings it's hard to diagnose what might be the issue. The blur can be caused by missing focus (wrong thing in focus), too shallow of a depth of field (part of the subject in focus and other parts out of focus) or too slow of shutter speeds if the subject has motion blur (from moving).
D700, 14-24mm, 24-70mm 2.8, 70-200mm VRII, 50mm 1.4, 105mm Macro
Posted: 12/11/2013, 17:54:55 PM
Lauriey....I see you do awesome work!
My dream would be to be half as good.
What camera settings do you use when shooting on a white background?
Nikon D7000, Nikon lens\', and various studio equipment.
Posted: 12/11/2013, 18:36:35 PM
Check your local education institutions for photography classes. Many offer night and weekend courses. Sometimes they're 2 or 3 evenings or may run for 8 weeks and longer. Time in the classroom has paid off for me., maybe for you too.
Nikon D800, D100, Canon G15
Posted: 12/11/2013, 20:20:25 PM
Your models seem to be underexposed IMHO. If you put your attemtion on stock bestsellers you will see that commonly models against white background are even a bit overexposed, in contrast to your images. So, perhaps you need more light that falls to faces.
7d + lenses: Canon EF-S 15-85mm/3.5-5.6 IS USM & EF 100mm/2.8 USM Mac...
Posted: 12/11/2013, 23:28:39 PM
Try overexposing the photos, the faces look dull, as mentioned by Igor above. You can try putting more light on the model's face...but if you are using the Aperture priority mode to shoot, try raising EV to +2/3 or +1, try and see what happens.

Light meter may be useful but in-camera metering can do all the things and give EXACTLY same results with 2-3 test shots, I have tried. So no real need to invest in light meters, just watch the histogram.
You may download comp images of model photos by top photographers and look at the histogram...try to see what they do.
55-250mm standard lenses. Dual tube macro flash and external speedlit...
Posted: 12/12/2013, 03:56:13 AM
You may be getting veiling flare on those model shots on the white background. Judging by the white hitting the back sides of the model it looks like she may be too close to the background, or the background lights are spilling forward too much. This could be entering the lens if you are also close and/or not using a hood to reduce that. I found it particularly bad with specific lenses of mine, while others weren't affected by light off the background...

See this link on veiling flare: http://diglloyd.com/articles/UnderstandingOptics/understanding-flare.html
ZD 50mm Macro f/2...
Edited: 12/12/2013, 08:52:55 AM
You guys are all awesome.

I will take each of your comments to heart and apply them in my work.

Nikon D7000, Nikon lens\', and various studio equipment.
Posted: 12/12/2013, 09:02:06 AM
Your models are mostly under exposed. I slightly over expose mine! It won't help if we tell you our camera settings as it depends on the strength and settings of your lights. My camera settings are usually about 1/180 and f11 ISO 100 It would be difficult to get photos unfocussed with those settings. Concentrate on focusing on the eye ball too! Maybe you could do with another light on your model so you can go to f11
Canon 5D MK II
Edited: 00/00/0000, 00:00:00 AM


Just checked out your photos....and see what you're saying. I am going to give it a try. I'll let you know how it works out for me.

Thank you for responding to my old post.

Just got some white flooring....will do some pics this weekend.

good luck with all that you do.
Nikon D7000, Nikon lens\', and various studio equipment.
Posted: 01/16/2014, 18:48:27 PM
Hi, my answer is a little late...but it will solve your problem.

The problem of your images are light, but not in a single way.

First of all, as many mentioned here, you have to solve the underexposure, which is pretty easy.

Second is...you need some description. Your lighting is too flat. Check for lighting techniques...like butterfly, Rembrant, split...they are extremely important when it comes to describe your model. A flat light, directly on the face will make your model look 2D. You need shadows and you need to have them where you want them to be.

Third problem is, your background is way too much exposed and it spills to the model, hence you lose contrast. Decrease the background light, increase and describe the model light. Creating a 255 white background during the shoot is awesome, but it's too hard with simple equipment. There comes the post-process, let the background be a little gray (like 240, instead of 255) and make it pure white during the post process.
f2.8 - Nikkor 50mm f1.4 - Nikkor 50mm f1.8 - Tamron 90mm f2....
Posted: 01/17/2014, 02:28:23 AM
Thank you Parkinsonsniper.....I will also work on moving those lights around. I had gotten a little too comfortable with the straight on light.
Gonna give all of this a try out tomorrow and get some new pics up.
Nikon D7000, Nikon lens\', and various studio equipment.
Posted: 01/17/2014, 22:18:43 PM