Step 10: A Credible Result

This photo was made in a large basement. I had no helpers, so I took numerous exposures to insure I had a good one. (It would have all been easier with a helper.) I used the camera's self-timer and tried to make a natural expression. The camera was about seven feet from me. That meant I used the zoom feature to gain a bit of a telephoto effect. That minimized the distance differential between my ears and the camera and my nose and the camera. My face appears properly proportioned.

I used one light placed a bit higher and slightly to one side for good shadow definition on my face. There are some catchlights in my eyes. I licked my lips shortly before the exposure to make a catchlight on them, too. I set the camera to shoot in black and white because the people who needed a head and shoulders shot of me wanted to print it in black and white.

Contrary to the bad photo in step 1, I made the camera lens the same height as my eyes.

The background was a plastered wall with visible blemishes. It was about a dozen feet behind me. Although it was white, the inverse square law caused it to be no lighter than my skin tones. The background should always be a bit darker than the subject's skin tones.

If I wanted to improve on this photo, I could have used a hair light. That would have been a relatively low wattage light bulb, say 60 watts, hung about four feet above my head. It would have been about one foot back from my nose and just to my left a few inches from the center of my head. It would probably have a dark paper cone around it pointing downward to keep stray light from going in all directions. It would have produced a pleasing highlight on crests in my hair and a little glint on parts of my left ear.

If I wanted to further improve the photo, I could also have used a background light. In that case, I would have wanted the background to be a bit darker than it was. A background light would be placed behind me and near to the wall. It would shine on the wall at a slight upward angle and would have given me a bit of a halo effect around my head. But, background lights can be tricky in my experience.

In the bad photo shown in step 1 there were shadows from my head showing on the background. The distance between myself and the background in this photo allows all shadows to fall harmlessly onto the floor and out of sight.

In the end, I have a usable photo of myself better than many I have seen in newspapers and elsewhere.

<p>Very nice.</p>
Thank you for looking and for commenting.
Thanks, that was interesting. &quot;The inverse square law of light disbursement&quot; sounds very scary indeed, but you explained very clearly that it's actually a daft name for a very simple principle - and useful to know.
Thank you for looking. I hope you are able to make use of this sooner or later. I am glad the inverse square law made sense to you. It is really quite useful in practice as a general principle. With modern digital cameras, it is easy to take a few test shots while manipulating things like light placement in order to get the effect you want. And, there is nothing like experience born of much practice.
Nice photo!<br><br>New cameras has the &quot;face detection&quot; feature. It helps because it make the focus and the exposure evaluation on the detected face (or the face most near the center of the frame, if several faces are detected). And there's the &quot;portrait&quot; scenery option to make... portraits. And there's the &quot;smile detection&quot; feature that takes a picture everytime it detects someone smiling (doesn't work with people with moustaches - I can assure).<br><br>Have you any experience with these new camera's settings?
Thank you. My wife has a fairly new camera with facial recognition. All in all, it is a more user friendly camera than mine, and mine is only a year or so older than hers. Hers is not completely fool-proof, though. I was taking a close-up with the macro setting and still had to be careful so the camera focused on the object rather than on something in the background.
Such a handsome dude ;0) :p Been wondering how you're doin'
Lyn, Thanks. See my comment to Rimar about the really young ones and the really old ones being the only females who ever thought I was cute. Things are going well. Our German friends enjoyed their visit and are back home. I have been getting more miles on my bicycle lately, which is a good thing. Summer is ending too quickly. How are you?
Phil, you're almost cute. ;) Good instructable, thanks.
Thanks, Rimar. The only women who ever thought I was cute were the really, really young ones or the really, really old ones. The women between those two extremes who I wanted to think I was cute never did. We have probably all had that experience. It may be not many will be interested in this Instructable, but later they will be surprised how many times they need a current photo of themselves for some publication.

About This Instructable




Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
More by Phil B:Easy Monitor for NordicTrack Skier Uses for Spent K-Cups Make a Conduit Bender 
Add instructable to: