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Thread: My very first photoshoot . .

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    mike the bike's Avatar
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    My very first photoshoot . .

    Hi All

    This coming saturday i am doing my very first photoshoot a friend has agreed to "pose" for me throughout the day so i can A work on my portraiture composition and B obtain some decent shots for inclusion into my portfolio . im using natural light and praying for an overcast day . .im shooting RAW and using a reflector . . ive spent all day today scouring the web for help and images to get me started im taking a few magazines along so i can at least show her what kind of shots would be good . has anyone got any suggestions on how to make this go really smoothly as i have at least 3 more similar shoots lined up . i really want to improve my portraits and im all geared up and ready to go im just wary of messing it up and blowing it . . what are the rules . are there any guidelines to follow ?

    Im using my Canon 600 D with a Tamron 17/50 a Canon 55/250 telephoto and my F1/8 Canon 50mm Prime Lens im primarily using the magazine workshops as a guide and i have a couple of books to use as a reference do you think i have it covered or is there any advice that i could benefit from at this stage . . all replies gratefully acknowledged thanks

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Quote Originally Posted by mike the bike View Post
    Hi All

    This coming saturday i am doing my very first photoshoot a friend has agreed to "pose" for me throughout the day so i can A work on my portraiture composition and B obtain some decent shots for inclusion into my portfolio . im using natural light and praying for an overcast day . .im shooting RAW and using a reflector . . ive spent all day today scouring the web for help and images to get me started im taking a few magazines along so i can at least show her what kind of shots would be good . has anyone got any suggestions on how to make this go really smoothly as i have at least 3 more similar shoots lined up . i really want to improve my portraits and im all geared up and ready to go im just wary of messing it up and blowing it . . what are the rules . are there any guidelines to follow ?

    Im using my Canon 600 D with a Tamron 17/50 a Canon 55/250 telephoto and my F1/8 Canon 50mm Prime Lens im primarily using the magazine workshops as a guide and i have a couple of books to use as a reference do you think i have it covered or is there any advice that i could benefit from at this stage . . all replies gratefully acknowledged thanks
    Hi Mike,

    I've got to rush for now, but you might find some good hints and tips in my school of portraiture series. and some helpful poses in my outdoor gallery.

    Note: I think pBase (who host my website) are having a few "guru meditation" errors at this particular point of the day, so I can't give you an exact link to it .. just click on the image on the mainpage, and then head to the Outdoor Portraits gallery.

    In terms of your shoot, the two biggest things to pay attention to are:

    1. Lighting of the face (try to get some direction to the lighting across the face, but make sure both eyes get illuminated), and

    2. Background (look for something with shapes - colours - textures etc) - try to throw it out of focus by having your model stand as far away from the background as you can. Try HARD to get an intereaction (either physically or visually) between your model and the background). Consider using props.

    Just sing out if you need help (or pop a reply into scool of portraiture lesson 8).

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Mike

    If you can get hold of a copy of digital portrait photography by Steve Sint ISBN 978-1-60059-335-2 it is a book that cuts the usual crap and is a very practical manual for portraits, poses, lighting the lot. Well recommended.
    The UK Photoplus (Canon user mag) has done a couple of 8 page pull outs with lots of suggested poses in their September and October issues that may still be available and possibly of use?

    Tips: be well prepared, never let your model know its all gone wrong, just keep shooting (unless its a power failure) and keep a cool head. Never stop talking to her and possibly have some background music running (that she might like) just to keep the tempo running. Dont spend ages fiddling with the equipment. Do that whilst she is having a break herself. But you knew all that!
    Last edited by shreds; 10th October 2011 at 12:03 AM.

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Oh and a gopher to make the tea, hold the reflector and generally run around will let you concentrate on the shoot. And dont show your nerves! At least you will be behind the camera, think what it is like for your model friend!

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Quote Originally Posted by shreds View Post
    Oh and a gopher to make the tea, hold the reflector and generally run around will let you concentrate on the shoot. And dont show your nerves! At least you will be behind the camera, think what it is like for your model friend!
    Scott Kelby calls them VALs (Voice Activated Light stands)

    In all seriousness, they are very VERY handy to have -- for my shoot yesterday I had both my daughter and Kayla's Mum there helping out ... makes things a LOT easier.

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Wow .

    First of all thanks fopr the replies . . its nice to know i have access to such vast and informative rescources . . i shall look out for the book and the music idea is great and i shall use that . . . i know the woman and her boyfriend quite well and we are in for the day and i am looking forward to it and im hoping to reward them with some decent shots i have some camcorder lights that may do the job as they are pretty bright ( diffuser and barn doors . built in ) and im sure once we get underway it will be fine i will look at your series Colin and the gallery im trying to post some pics on here with no luck as of yet ( can i link to my Facebook Page ? ) thanks again people

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Quote Originally Posted by mike the bike View Post
    I'm trying to post some pics on here with no luck as of yet
    Hi Mike,

    Have a read of this and follow the instructions, should work

    HELP THREAD: How can I post images here?

    Good luck,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 10th October 2011 at 08:34 PM. Reason: correct typo

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Hi Mike,

    Another suggestion is to pop along to www.kelbytraining.com and sign up for a month ($25.95 USD), and take a look at the videos from (especially) Cliff Mautner & James Schmelzer (sp?).

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Thanks guys i have one more question concerning the use of a grey card .
    do i leave the camera on Auto and correct in P/S (shooting RAW . ) or take a shot for a reference and update regularly to accomodate for the changing light . . or enter a shot of a card into my custom WB and use that . . or . .meter of the card held by the subject and replicate in manual . . ive spoken to many different people on the subject of light meters vs in camera meters and no-one can really give me a serious answer ! im happy to buy a good light meter or use a grey card (surely this also measures light FALLING onto my subject as oppose to light REFLECTING off i dunno so hopefully i can get someone on here to shed some light (ahem . .sorry ) onto this for me

    Thanks Oh and thanks for the book recc' Ian i bought it today . .

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Colin .

    Just found the thread on grey cards on here . .and im still confused i wont be shooting under constant lighting and im glad to see the stuff i read is valid as all i mentioned above popped up in the other threads . . i will probably have to shoot a grey card reference every time i change the angle/location/shot . ? do you think i will cover myself doing this and is metering off a grey card the same as setting WB ? i can lock my focus and recompose but if i set a custom WB is this necessary ?

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Quote Originally Posted by mike the bike View Post
    Just found the thread on grey cards on here . .and im still confused i wont be shooting under constant lighting and im glad to see the stuff i read is valid as all i mentioned above popped up in the other threads . . i will probably have to shoot a grey card reference every time i change the angle/location/shot . ?
    Hi Mike,

    You really only need a new reference shot every time the light changes significantly. If you're "changing the angle" for a given set of shots, then I wouldn't worry about it - but if I was changing the location I would (if I remembered!). They're quick and easy to do, so it's better to have too many than not enough, but they shouldn't get in the way or be a major inconvenience.

    do you think i will cover myself doing this and is metering off a grey card the same as setting WB ? i can lock my focus and recompose but if i set a custom WB is this necessary ?
    Metering, White Balancing, and Focusing are all seperate (and unrelated) things. One can meter off a grey card (as an aid to getting the exposure correct), but personally, I don't bother. You can set a custom WB, but again, I don't bother because I shoot RAW and it's faster and more accurate to do it during post-production. In terms of focusing, you'll want to focus on the eyes - so either select an off-centre AF point and use that, or use the centre and "focus and recompose" (but that's generally slower). Personally I re-select AF points all the time when shooting portraiture.

    Does this help?

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Colin .

    Yep sure does thanks very much mate. I'm very grateful for all the advice and you can rest assured I will take it. I'm soooo looking forward to Saturday - I've taken lots of photos during the last 2 years or so but I'm quite excited at the prosoect of spending the day with someone specifically to hone my technique.

    When I look at portraits I do see art . . (I like your galleries BTW) I'm still trying to post, but as I'm on a mobile dongle (and with Vodafone) its just not happening. I will get a selection together and do it at my friends house on Sat.

    Once again thanks for you time.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th October 2011 at 06:01 AM.

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Quote Originally Posted by mike the bike View Post
    Colin .

    Yep sure does thanks very much mate. I'm very grateful for all the advice and you can rest assured I will take it. I'm soooo looking forward to Saturday - I've taken lots of photos during the last 2 years or so but I'm quite excited at the prosoect of spending the day with someone specifically to hone my technique.

    When I look at portraits I do see art . . (I like your galleries BTW) I'm still trying to post, but as I'm on a mobile dongle (and with Vodafone) its just not happening. I will get a selection together and do it at my friends house on Sat.

    Once again thanks for you time.
    You're very welcome Mike,

    Just be aware that you'll probably find it a bit overwhelming at the time, so just try to remember the basics (ie narrow enough aperture to get sufficient depth of field (perhaps F8 to F11) - shutterspeed high enough to avoid camera shake (remembering the 1/focal length guide) (increase your ISO as required - ISO 800 (or even higher) will be fine) - focus on the eyes. Make them laugh - take lots of shots

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Hi Colin . .

    Im gonna be using all my current lenses ive got a Tamron 17/50mm wich is just great . . and my only prime the "nifty 50" Canon F1/8 which im probably gonna use most of the time I had banked on staying around F2/8 - F5/6 to get the DOF i want i shall be paying attention to the backgrounds and looking out for mergers and using dynamics X Y axis rule of 3rds etc . i have bought two great mags today which cover portraiture . . another 16Gb memory card and a 32" Gold Silver White reflector . . im taking my flash as my 600D has wireless capabilty built in so will be experimenting with that . .ive started writing down ideas and will be taking my book (the Steve Sint one ) and the mags as they have posing ideas in them . . i will be using a tripod cause i want to get some candlelight sillhouettes when we go indoors ( im crashing over ) overall im just looking forward to a whole weekend of experimentation photography and creativeness i can hardly wait !!

    If the day is overcast i.ll be shooting mainly on AV . . ISO 400/800 . . WB will be on auto . . evaluative metering . . F stops as above . One shot autofocus reflectors and a white sheet to diffuse/bounce the light . . and shooting a grey card reference everytime i change location to assist in post . . PHEW !!! i hope ive got it all covered . .

    Cheers .

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Hi Mike,

    Sorry mate, but I've get warning bells going off here.

    If you're doing full-body portraiture then the 17-50mm will do the job, but if you're doing head and shoulders portraiture, you'll need something much much much longer. You might get away with F2.8 on a wide-angle lens, but you need to be VERY careful with focus planes at longer focal lengths, of you'll end up with one eye in focus and the other soft .. or sharp eyes, but soft nose. I shoot most studio portraiture at F11.

    Also, longer lenses will give you far more flattering compression (I shoot most of mine in the 100 to 200mm range, and sometimes longer).

    Some examples ...

    60mm (on FF camera)

    My very first photoshoot . .

    35mm


    My very first photoshoot . .

    145mm

    My very first photoshoot . .

    200mm

    My very first photoshoot . .
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 12th October 2011 at 08:50 PM.

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Colin

    Once again you have provided answers thanks mate i omited my other Canon 55/250 telephoto which i shall be using i bought it 2nd hand a couple of years ago and recently fitted it with a nice Hoya multicoated filter . . as ive said i hav'nt done this before and focal planes are something the government use to spy on us little people right ? i just assumed id be better of shooting wide open to get good DOF ? im gonna mainly be shooting head shoulders/waist shots unless a possibility presents itself on the day . . my shot list is pretty much open at this point i have a rough idea of what id like but nothing is written in stone i have read about face distortion and i will take your advice on F11 someone did suggest staying around 70mm and no closer i love picture number 3 could i not achieve that with my F1/8 or would i be better of pulling back with the telephoto i suppose i have to accept i will make mistakes that will be all to apparent once ive loaded the shoot into the computer then i can take note of all the shot settings and apply them to the next shoot . . hopefully all the great advice you have given will cut down my margin and enable me to avhieve a good hit ratio .

    Once again Cheers mate

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Quote Originally Posted by mike the bike View Post
    focal planes are something the government use to spy on us little people right ?
    Yes - you're on to it

    i just assumed id be better of shooting wide open to get good DOF ?
    Umm, no. Shooting wide open gives the LEAST depth of field. Whether that's "good", "bad", or "otherwise" depends on the effect you're trying to create. I'd suggest wide-open is a little bit too close to the "danger zone" until you get a good feel for what it's going to give you.

    someone did suggest staying around 70mm and no closer
    70mm on a crop-factor camera is around 100mm on a full frame camera which - for head and shoulders - is pretty much the minimum. If you're shooting outside - basically - the longer the focal length you use, the more compression you'll get - and probably - the better the photo will look. BUT - if you use a long lens - and get close to your subject - your DoF will be measured in millimeters, so be very careful (if in doubt, backoff a bit). In the studio when I do this I sometimes still have DoF issues at F16! (the aperture, not the single-engine lawn dart!).

    i love picture number 3 could i not achieve that with my F1/8 or would i be better of pulling back with the telephoto
    Personally I wouldn't use a 50mm F1.8 for #3. Keep in mind that that kind of shot isn't as easy as it might look at first - it's shot in the studio with about $15,000 worth of lighting

    i suppose i have to accept i will make mistakes that will be all to apparent once ive loaded the shoot into the computer
    That's the only way we learn, unfortunately. What you'll probably find is brain initially goes into overload (for the first few shoots) - but after a while the mistakes start getting smaller and smaller, and you can start concentrating on more and more details.

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Dear Sir . .

    I feel ishould be making some kind of renumeration for all the advice pity you aint "just around the corner" i could at least buy you a drink !! i think what i will do is start of doing some test shots with every lens from the widest up to the lowest apertures so i can determine how they perform at every F stop . .i believe that most lenses perform well in the "Mid Range" so that will ease us into the shoot . . i spoke to her today (she is a courier as well and works alongside us all here in London . ) and i can see that i have to tread carefully she thinks she isnt "model" material and not that photogenic . . so i have to put her at ease and get her to relax . we are friends and i know her quite well but i guess its quite daunting to subject yourself to so much scrutiny so i intend showing her the good shots and giving LOADS of encouragment . . im gonna send you a pic through your E-Mail a shot i took at a party a while back and im quite proud of it its a great candid and partly responsible for sparking my desire to do more portraits and i will upload some images onto here on the weekend if i can

    Once again Colin i cannot thank you enough for all your help i hope i hav'nt overstayed my welcome ?

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Quote Originally Posted by mike the bike View Post
    I feel ishould be making some kind of renumeration for all the advice pity you aint "just around the corner" i could at least buy you a drink !!
    Mike

    Just send a large cheque made out to the CIC Mods Social and Recreation Fund. We'll take care of the rest!

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    Re: My very first photoshoot . .

    Ha

    I have to admit i feel a bit cheeky i just got carried away and Colin has been so helpful im really looking forward to my shoot on sat and i just hope everything falls into place and i can put into practice all he has shared . .

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