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Old Jan 30, 2010, 10:01 AM   #1
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Default Photographing a Model. Your advice?

A friend of my wife has asked me to take photos of here very photogenic 17/y/o Daughter. I have agreed to do so. It will be my first time doing this type photography. Appropriate releases will be obtained.


The shoot will be done over a couple of days and will all be done outside in one of the local parks, at the beach and in our downtown historic area.
Here is my current line up of lens and my question.
DA 17-70 f/4, DA 55-300 f/4-5.6, Tamron 28-200 f/3.5 - 5.6 and a Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro.
I currently have no lighting equipment so all will be done in existing/natural light.

If you were doing this shoot, which of the above lens would be your primary lens for the shoot.

Any help and advice will be appreciated.
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Old Jan 30, 2010, 10:12 AM   #2
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tamron 90mm macro would be my first choice. It gives you the wider 2.8 so you can get a nicer bokem effect.
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Old Jan 30, 2010, 12:33 PM   #3
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You may wish to use a shoe mounted flash to eliminate shadows. Even better if you can get an off camera cord and to angle the light as needed. Also, if you can get a difuser for your flash (either a Sto-fen or even a cut out half gallon milk container), you will be able to spread out your light and also soften in). Share some of your work when it is done!
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Old Jan 30, 2010, 12:59 PM   #4
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if you are able to get the flash off camera, you could add a decently large piece of whiteboard that can work as a makeshift reflector, fill back in some of the other side shadows.
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Old Jan 30, 2010, 2:59 PM   #5
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Hi Eddie,

I'm not much of a people shooter, so take whatever I say with that in mind. I do like to shoot a lot of candids though.

As far as the lens goes, all of your lenses would have at least some ranges that would give you "proper" portrait perspective of between 50-90mm in actual focal length. Any shorter, and you might notice overemphasis of facial features (nose in particular), and longer will tend to flatten the facial features, which is sometimes desirable. This is not an effect of the FL itself, but rather the distance from the subject, or "perspective". Keep this in mind, but rules are always meant to be broken. I've seen quite a few outstanding shots of people where the photographer threw all the "rules" out the door. Another aspect of perspective is to try some shots shooting from different heights, from lying down on the ground to standing on a stepstool and shooting down.

Be very conscious of two things -- lighting angle and background. A 45 angle to the subject will give you more dimension to the face. Since you don't have an external flash, you might be able to make a reflector from some foil or posterboad from the other side (also at about 45) to add some fill. Try to schedule the shoots to include some time in the "golden hours" right after dawn and right before sundown. The latter is usually preferred since a lot of people look puffy early in the morning. The lighting should be warm and flattering, so don't get obsessive about correcting WB. Concerning the backgrounds, really be conscious that BG objects don't look like they're "growing" out of your subject.

I'd also try to shoot wide open, or close to it if possible, and be very careful to try to focus on the eyes, or if shooting at an angle, at the closest eye. Widest apertures are usually best because they tend to shoot softer, and many of my friends don't take too kindly to brutally sharp (which I tend to prefer -- so what do they know) You'll also get max DOF control, and be able to isolate your subject better. Subject isolation isn't always the only thing to consider. Sometimes an in-focus BG adds context to the shot -- so smaller apertures and/or wider FLs are appropriate, as might be the case at the historic area shoot.

Take a lot of shots -- much more than you'd normally take -- and let the young lady choose which ones she wants -- The shots I normally like the best are much more likely than not the ones that my subjects likes the least -- almost a guarantee in my shooting. . .

Scott
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Old Jan 30, 2010, 6:44 PM   #6
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All great suggestions. Another thing is pick a good time during the day. If you know its going to be really sunny and bright try to shoot either early morning or mid to late afternoon so the sun doesn't wash you out. It can also play havoc with your model b/c she'll be squinting a lot. If this is happening reposition her or have her close her eyes and open them right before you take the shot.

All in all, pick shots that show her personality. Be directing but also let her be herself. I like to joke around with models b/c it takes some of the pressure off you both and also brings out that special look each one has. Take many shots so you can have a good selection to pick from.

Have fun!
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Old Jan 30, 2010, 8:50 PM   #7
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As you know, I don't shoot people very often. The only thing I might add (since you don't have a flash) is you might want to think about getting a proper reflector - small ones aren't expensive. While you can go with the aluminum foil that Scott suggested, you would get different results if you bought a reflector that has a gold foil on one side - it adds warmer light. Then get one with either white or silver on the other side (white makes more sense since you can always cover it with aluminum foil and have all three).
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Old Jan 30, 2010, 9:23 PM   #8
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Thanks for the comments and information. Since it will be a couple of weeks, I've decided to go ahead and pick up an AF540 to use with the shoot.

I'll check with the local photo shops here to see if anyone has a good reflector. If not, I'll find something to fill the bill.

Thanks again all. I'm really looking forward to doing my first work with a model.
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Old Jan 31, 2010, 8:51 AM   #9
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Eddie, you've gotten some good advice. A couple of things I'd add.

First, have fun. Make the whole experience fun for both you and the young lady. Most girls at this age love to pose and try new looks. Since it's a friend, chances are you'll be able to establish a very casual, relaxed atmosphere. Make it fun for both of you. While I certainly wouldn't recommend this sequence to anyone, one of the greatest sequences I ever shot on a shoot like this was when a young lady decided to wade out to a rock on which she wanted to pose, slipped, and did a major splash down. For some reason I was shooting as she was getting into position and caught the whole sequence, including her pulling herself out of the water and collapsing on the rock laughing. Her mother claimed that the sequence made the whole shoot worthwhile. Fortunately, we had completed all of the "prettier" shots before this happened.

Second, use your environment. Let the shots reflect the tone of the environment in which you're shooting. Use the historical points and other "environmental props."

Paul
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Old Jan 31, 2010, 12:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trojansoc View Post
Eddie, you've gotten some good advice. A couple of things I'd add.

First, have fun. Make the whole experience fun for both you and the young lady. Most girls at this age love to pose and try new looks. Since it's a friend, chances are you'll be able to establish a very casual, relaxed atmosphere. Make it fun for both of you. While I certainly wouldn't recommend this sequence to anyone, one of the greatest sequences I ever shot on a shoot like this was when a young lady decided to wade out to a rock on which she wanted to pose, slipped, and did a major splash down. For some reason I was shooting as she was getting into position and caught the whole sequence, including her pulling herself out of the water and collapsing on the rock laughing. Her mother claimed that the sequence made the whole shoot worthwhile. Fortunately, we had completed all of the "prettier" shots before this happened.

Second, use your environment. Let the shots reflect the tone of the environment in which you're shooting. Use the historical points and other "environmental props."

Paul

I think that makes a great point Paul.

As photographers we get caught up in the serious photos, getting all the technical aspects right. But for the client, sometimes the "outtake" photos or some fun, silly shots, that you can include as well are the ones they remember the most. so snapping a few fun shots besides the serious ones can be a nice little bonus that makes the clients happy.
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