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Old Aug 29, 2010, 6:33 AM   #1
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Default Advice on taking senior portrait

Hi All,
I've been asked by a good friend to take some portrait images of their son for his senior photos. I asked why since his school certainly offers that service through a professional photographer. They said that they wanted to have photographs of their son in a more natural setting, such as a beach instead of the inside of a high school gym. That, and the fact that Brendan is a bit shy. Since I know Brendan, they thought he would be more comfortable and it would be easier for him to look natural.

So, I accepted. Now, having done that, I'm busy looking through everything I've got on the subject and the realization came to me that
this is great forum with lots of talent out there.

So, with that thought in mind, I'm asking for any suggestions and tips
on what lens or lenses would be best in this situation. Keep in mind, that the photographs will be taken on a beach, sometime in the late afternoon/early evening.

My equipment inventory is: E-30, 50-200mm ED lens, 40-150 3.5-5.6, 12-60mm ,70-300mm.
I also have Rokkor 50mm 1.4, OMZ 135mm 3.5, OMZ 50mm 1.8 manual focus lenses.

My current thinking is that I would use the E-30 with the 50-200mm 2.8 ED for most of the images as I'd like get close ups of Brendan without 'getting in his face'. Also, the 50-200mm will allow me to work better in lower light.
The 12-60mm, while a great lens, I think will capture too much of the background.

The other lens I was thinking of using is the 50mm 1.4 Rokkor. Largely because it is faster and may provide some better out-of-focus background.

Oh, I do have an FL-36 flash but, I'm not sure if I'll use that. I also was thinking that since I don't have any light reflectors, I might just make one using cardboard and wrapping aluminum foil.

Your suggestions would be much appreciated.

Zig
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Old Aug 29, 2010, 10:03 AM   #2
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Personally I think your having a lot of excellent results out of that Rokkor. I would avoid flash unless you absolutely need it in full sun for fill. I like using reflectors but that may require an assistant. Foil covered windshield sun blockers are collapsible and and make excellent reflectors for about $10. Keep it simple and hope for an afternoon with some diffuse light.

BTW I just picked up a Rokkor MC 50mm 1.4 on ebay and I am waiting on my adapter.
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Old Aug 29, 2010, 10:45 AM   #3
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The E30 and 50-200, without question, is your best option and I would have the 12-60 available if you need the extra coverage up close for a full body shot. That's what I used shooting the two senior sets I did and it worked perfectly. I would not even mess with the 50mm lens because it's then up to you to fix any variable manually and you'll be too busy working with the model to have to think much about your settings. I just put my camera in program mode...didn't even mess with the aperture setting...a fully integrated camera/lens/flash combination that comminicates with each other works beautifully.

The flash is easier to use than you think and you do want something to give some catchlights in his eyes and the cameras' metering system will balance the flash and ambient light perfectly if you just turn on a couple of settings...turn on FP Flash on the flash itself just in case the shutter speeds need to be above 1/250 and, on the body, set the slow sync mode so the camera will go to slower shutter speeds instead of stopping somewhere around 1/60 second like it typically will do with a flash turned on.

Outdoors, there's not even a need to use a bounce attachment, just point the head straight ahead as normal and it works like a charm. The one thing I did try to avoid was direct sunlight on the faces as it does tend to not look very good.

The 50-200 gives you tons of options in terms of compressing the background as much or little as you want...







You will probably want the 12-60 if you decide to do any full-body shots like this..


Last edited by Greg Chappell; Aug 29, 2010 at 11:15 AM.
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Old Aug 29, 2010, 11:43 AM   #4
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Sounds like it will be fun, I love location shooting, much better than studio

Although the Rokkor can give good results, the focus inconsistency you report could mean you lose those great shots. I would do a mix of 50-200 and 12-60 so you have some tighter, shallow dof style shots as well as those where you have more of the environment in.

With lighting, natural before reflected and reflected before flash, so if possible stick to what you have. Use trees and other objects to subtract light from areas to create better face shape/shadow where possible rather than too much harsh direct sun. Go for a couple hours before sunset to get the best light then as it gets to the sunset hour introduce flash for some cool results balancing with the background. If you can get the flash off camera then that will work better.

With those who are not comfortable, simple poses are best, folded arms, hands in pockets, leaning against something etc. Also pick up on his interests and see if you can incorporate those into the shoot. One good thing, with a guy you can get away with lighting in more different ways and still have a good result.

If going to the beach then you can have great fun, OK so this is a bit older than a senior but you get the idea re lighting, one flash on remote triggered to right, everything on manual.
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Old Aug 29, 2010, 11:46 AM   #5
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See what happens when the power goes out, I post my reply and someone posted another good one LOL.

Greg, your model was much prettier than my wife's cousin

Zig, also, have fun with the shoot, if you are relaxed he is more likely to be.
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Old Aug 29, 2010, 1:18 PM   #6
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Great shots from Greg and Mark.
Greg you certainly have a strategy that works well. Nice relaxed posing too.
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Old Aug 29, 2010, 2:24 PM   #7
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Hi Greg, Mark and Paul,

Thanks for your insights and suggestions as well as the samples. I agree that is not the best time to pull out the 50mm Rokkor 1.4. It will stay in the closet on the shelf.

Greg, thanks for the flash advice (slow syncing, etc.) and the use of program mode. Never thought of using it. I've become so accustomed to using manual that I almost never use anything else. I'm go to play around with that as well as the flash and suggested settings today and tomorrow. Brendan is coming over on Tuesday.


Mark,
The image sample of a man vs female subject with subsequent tips on the different aspects of photographing a guy are much appreciated.

And yes, Mark- Greg's subjects are a good deal easier on the eyes than your wife's cousin. AND, no offense intended

One more question; would you shoot in RAW or jpeg?

Zig
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Old Aug 29, 2010, 4:04 PM   #8
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You are welcome. I now shoot everything important in RAW + jpg when doing a wedding or portrait session (don't bother for landscapes and fun stuff etc), I don't always use the RAW but it's good to have and helpful when doing a series to match colour. I also always use the flash white balance setting for outdoor work no matter if using flash or not, it gives a nice traditional look to the shots. Obviously with RAW you can choose what you like after the fact.

Here is a great link for understanding a male v female pose (and other helpful posing ideas)..... females are easier to pose, harder to light, males need a masculine pose so you have to be careful with the head.

http://photocamel.com/forum/tutorial...rtraiture.html
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Old Aug 29, 2010, 8:36 PM   #9
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Hey Zig

Can't really add much to what the guys have already stated - I'd take the 50-200, 12-60 and the 50mm 1.4. and thats all you should really need. From personal experience, I'd guess that the 50-200 is going to the main lens for a shoot like this and with the 12-60 you can do the full length shots too. Take the flash too.. you never know when you need to have a wee bit of fill even though you have the 50mm F1.4.

Cheers

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Old Aug 29, 2010, 10:21 PM   #10
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I have to bow to all of your knowlege her. But I really do like the examples. Nice stuff! I'll keep the ideas for use later.

I especially like your 2nd there Greg, the blouse 'filtered' like that finishes the photo.

Don't feel bad Mark, your wife's cousin has a winning smile...
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