Passport Photos: Take 2!

Passport Mark 2 copyWell, I didn’t like the first photos we took, so I shot some more.

Here’s a sample from the second take.  We brought the boys to a white wall that was right near a large window with diffuse light (my classroom at school), and spent about 10 minutes trying to get decent smiles out of them.  It was actually pretty fun and Holly did a great job getting them to smile, but there were some technical problems with the photos.

The main thing that was wrong with the photos that I didIMG_2747 NOT want to fix in CS2 was the unevenly lit back-ground.  Passport photos do not allow this type of uneven background.  And whereas the lighting is very soft next to a big window like this, it does not evenly light the background.  Plus if I want to do a photo like this, I want to learn how to do it right.  A big window is not the way to go, especially if the sun is on that of the building.

The second thing wrong with the photos was that I did  NOT nail the exposure in the camera.  I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to getting the exposure nailed down correctly when actually taking the photos, so when I set up the camera for shooting a white background IMG_2759I set the exposure bias to +1 stop.  This is my standard camera setting when shooting in snow.  This caused the flesh tones to be unnatural: cute, but unnatural.  Bummer.

What I want to try next is just use a single remote flash behind the subject to give the background an evenly uniform white exposure.  I’m going to set the exposure to just a bias or +2/3 stop, then I’ll check the histogram to make sure everything is within proper exposure bounds.

I actually thought that these photos would be good enough for the magistrate, so we went down to the courthouse, and had John look at them.  He said we needed an evenly lit white/off-white background.  Bummer.