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Thread: Pointers for shoot...?

  1. #1

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    Pointers for shoot...?

    Hello

    I am relatively new to photographing with a DSLR. I have a Nikon D5000 and just bought a "nifty-fifty". A friend asked me if I would mind taking some photos of her (she is 8 months pregnant), her husband and their two black labs. They live on a mixed farm (beef cattle and apple orchards) and are very laid back, casual people. Both are paramedics....

    Looking for any pointers re : shooting set-ups, time of day, things to be careful of...etc ))

    Thanks
    Joanne

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    Quote Originally Posted by boulderwood View Post
    Looking for any pointers re : shooting set-ups, time of day, things to be careful of...etc ))
    First - What do you/they 'see' the final images as looking like? Are they, for example, going to be dreamy, romantic images. Or is this about folks living it out in the country and little side issues like being 8 months pregnant not getting in the way of normal life on the farm? Two very different moods. Are they going to be in B & W or colour?

    Second - I take it we're talking about outdoor shots. If so, I'd suggest you don't want to be shooting in harsh direct sunlight. So where does the sun rise and set on their farm? So what is going to be the best time of day to get the light at the angles you want?

    Backgrounds. You're not taking a photo of the people and the dogs. You're making an picture. And that's going to include everything that will be in that final rectangle (or square). So, what are you going to use as your backdrops? Are you going to make the backdrops a feature of the images, or are you going to throw that nifty-fifty wide open, narrow down the depth-of-field and put the background way out of focus so that you get it nicely blurred?

    Just some of the things to think about. For me the important thing is visualising the shoot before you ever get there. Know the poses you're looking for (look in magazines etc to see how other photographers set up poses). Know what you want before you get there.
    Last edited by Donald; 14th May 2013 at 08:36 PM.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    • What other lens(es) do you have?
    • Do you have a Flash?
    • What's the weather like there?




    WW

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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    Thanks for those tips Donald.

    I would say firstly that they are down to earth folks who just happen to be 8 months pregnant. She wants to be back on her motorbike the day after the baby is born (obviously her first.

    Yes...outdoor shots. Think they want them done in their apple orchard which is in full bloom at the moment...it is spring here (or trying to be ). Maybe some shots with the 50mm wide open and maybe some with my 55mm-200mm.....I don't have an external flash or any other equipment....just me and the camera.

    I will poke around the images on Google and try to see some that i like.

    thanks again!

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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    One thing that's a pain in the --s but really important to do is to download an electronic copy of the camera's manual from the appropriate website. Print it out at one page per sheet of paper so you'll have lots of room for your notes. Then work your way through the manual, exercising each of the functions as you go through. I'm not talking just one or two settings but leaving everything the same and then choose all the possible settings for one particular function, keeping a list of the setting at each image so you can build a file showing each effect.

    For example (not on a Nikon though), one of my settings is called "Creative Style" and it gives me the following choices: Standard, Vivid, Neutral, AdobeRGB, Portrait, Landscape, B/W

    I usually pick either the roof of the apartment building next door, a pine tree just out my front door, or an actual human being who lives down the hall, depending on the function I'm evaluating.

    This will take some time, but you can build a series of web pages from the pictures you take and you have a reference for each one of what you've done.

    Depending on how Nikons handle EXIF information, you may be able to export and print the most complete EXIF information to put below each picture (like we professors do with our Power Point slide notes) so that you have the picture and its information all on one virtual page).

    It's not exciting, it is tedious, but it will serve you well in the long run.

    I'm jes' sayin'....

    virginia

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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    "boulderwood" make or purchase a large white reflector. I have several sheets of "foam core" that are about 40 inches by 60 inches. You can use just about anything that is white and easy to carry around. Get your subjects positioned with the sun at one side. Position the reflector on the opposite side reflecting sunlight toward the couple. The larger your reflector is, the more light you get.

    You might also think about using the built-in flash, although you should modify the light by bouncing or diffusing it.

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    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Designer View Post
    "boulderwood" make or purchase a large white reflector. I have several sheets of "foam core" that are about 40 inches by 60 inches. You can use just about anything that is white and easy to carry around. Get your subjects positioned with the sun at one side. Position the reflector on the opposite side reflecting sunlight toward the couple. The larger your reflector is, the more light you get.
    Seconded. Any kind of white, rigid, lightweight surface will add a surprising amount of reflected light. Position it to reflect light into the shadows to start, then move it about and see what you like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Designer
    You might also think about using the built-in flash, although you should modify the light by bouncing or diffusing it.
    I will be very surprised if you can get good results out of using the built-in flash in daylight. It's seriously underpowered (you're competing with the Sun), hard to diffuse, and even harder to bounce (no tilt/swivel head). I recommend leaving flash out entirely if you're getting started. Additional light (especially off-camera) is a powerful tool for changing mood, detail level, and focal point, but it's a nightmare to learn. A fill board is a better place to start.

    If you have time before the shoot, have a look at Jerry Ghionis's lecture on "Using Any Light Source." It's 104 minutes of seriously eye-opening insight on available light and creative flash photography.

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    Quote Originally Posted by boulderwood View Post
    Looking for any pointers re : shooting set-ups, time of day, things to be careful of...etc ))
    Thanks for answering some of my questions.

    It is a pity that you don’t have any lens wider than 50mm. This fact may inhibit you from more easily making Environmental Portraiture: which is the style of Portraiture that the theme of your OP suggests.

    A Reflector could be quite useful for the tighter shots: but, for example for a full length portrait setting of the group of three shot in landscape orientation, the Shooting Distance is going to be about 5meters using an FX camera and a 50mm lens – it will be difficult the get the reflector close enough to the subjects to have any effect and for it not be In Shot.

    The Built in Flash will have ZERO impact on an outdoor portrait, unless used at very close Shooting Distances: bouncing or diffusing the Camera’s Flash Unit will greatly lessen the effective power of the flash and in turn necessitate an even closer Shooting Distance.
    [The Guide Number / Meters @ ISO100 of most Pup-Up Flashes is about: 30~40, therefore for fill in sunlight the maximum useful working distance will be around 2 metres: if bounced or diffused that will be quickly reduced to about 1 meter].

    Earlier in the morning would be when I would get there to shoot and I would be opting to use OPEN SHADE in which to place the Subjects, mostly; paying attention to the background and ensuring that the Subject to Background distance, is relatively a lot larger than the Shooting Distance; and if possible have the Background lit by side light, filtered side light would be the best.

    Here is an example of the lighting scenario: Subject in Open Shade (with a touch of side light filtering onto the Subject); relatively large distance to background; background lit by side filtered side light:
    Pointers for shoot...?

    I suggest you not use the 50F/1.8 Lens wide open: that would be very dangerous especially for a novice Portrait Photographer.
    F/2.8 will suffice for mostly all Full Length Shots.
    For Half Shots you should be around F/4~5.6 and for tight half shots around F/8.
    It will be important that you understand DoF in respect of grouping two people and two dogs for Portraiture, even using the guidelines set out in this suggestion.

    The woman’s motor-bike should definitely feature as a prop in some of the images.

    The Nikon ‘Kit Lens’ (18 to 55 F/3.5~5.6) would have been a more ideal lens to use for this assignment than either of the other two lenses which you have – maybe you can borrow, or even buy one.

    WW

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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    Wow! What a great bunch of pointers.

    I have the manual for this camera and have been experimenting for some months with various settings. I need lots more practice however....

    Appreciate the technical info re lens and settings. Will make note of these. Don't think a new lens is in my immediate future , sadly. There is the rental option I may explore.

    Thanks again!

    Joanne

  10. #10
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    . . . it is quite unusual that you don't have the "standard" kit zoom lens, which is mostly always sold with that camera.

    Renting one of those kit lenses (if you can), would probably be less financially prudent than buying one.

    WW

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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    . . . it is quite unusual that you don't have the "standard" kit zoom lens, which is mostly always sold with that camera.

    Renting one of those kit lenses (if you can), would probably be less financially prudent than buying one.

    WW
    See post #4 above, where she writes: "..and maybe some with my 55mm-200mm...."

  12. #12
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Designer View Post
    See post #4 above, where she writes: "..and maybe some with my 55mm-200mm...."
    I did.

    But perhaps I wasn't clear enough.

    Please see post #8 where I write:

    "It is a pity that you don’t have any lens wider than 50mm. This fact may inhibit you from more easily making Environmental Portraiture: which is the style of Portraiture that the theme of your OP suggests."

    AND

    "The Nikon ‘Kit Lens’ (18 to 55 F/3.5~5.6) would have been a more ideal lens to use for this assignment than either of the other two lenses which you have – maybe you can borrow, or even buy one."


    Moreover, the 55 to 200 is NOT the "standard" kit zoom lens - it is the "telephoto" kit zoom lens.


    WW

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Designer View Post
    See post #4 above, where she writes: "..and maybe some with my 55mm-200mm...."
    The 55-200mm is going to be way too long for taking two people, two dogs and a motorcycle. I suspect Bill was likely thinking of the 18-55mm kit lens. I used the 55-200mm a fair bit when I first got my D90 for doing portraits, mostly for head shots to half shots, but used either the f/1.8 35mm or the 18-55mm for small groups.

    From a lighting standpoint; the climate is maritime in that part of the country, so I expect that soft, diffuse, i.e.flat lighting is going to be pretty common.

    Hmm. Just looked at the map; looks like I'll probably be in the neighbourhood in 3-1/2 or 4 weeks. I was planning to visit the three UNESCO World Heritage sites in Nova Scotia on a photographic road trip that I'm heading out on in June. Grand Pré, is just a couple of km out of Wolfville.

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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    So the non-telephoto is called a "standard" lens? FWIW: I got both with the purchase of my camera.

    Manfred; your post reads as if I have recommended the telephoto zoom for the portrait session, but I don't remember writing that.

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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Designer View Post
    So the non-telephoto is called a "standard" lens?
    Yes.

    In the meaning of the word "standard" when used thus:

    "wide angle zoom lens" - being something like a 10 to 22 ;
    "standard zoom lens" - being something like an 18 to 55;
    "telephoto zoom lens" - being something like a 55 to 200.

    (for an APS-C Camera)

    And that was my meaning.

    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by Designer View Post
    FWIW: I got both with the purchase of my camera.
    You might have bought both the 18 to 55 and the 55 to 200 as a pair of kit lenses when you purchased your camera.

    However, I would expect that mostly always, when an APS-C sensor DSLR is purchased WITH only ONE "kit lens" - AND that is often the situation: that kit lens would be the 18 to 55 and not the 55 to 200.

    So even if I had used the word "standard" to mean "the more common one" - that meaning would have still referred to the 18 to 55 lens.




    WW

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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    Quote Originally Posted by Designer View Post
    Manfred; your post reads as if I have recommended the telephoto zoom for the portrait session, but I don't remember writing that.
    I don't read that meaning in anyway whatsoever.

    I read Manfred's post as an explanation as to why I wouldn't be recommending the 55 to 200 and therefore why I would have been referring to the 18 to 55 lens.

    WW

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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    I bought this camera second hand from my niece in Florida, USA. The 55-200mm lens was the kit lens when she bought it. A few months after having the Nikon D5000 I bought the "nifty=fifty". I can see another lens in my future )

    Manfred...Grand Pre is a few kilometers from our house. I know it isn't a UNESCO site but the Fortress of Louisburg is well worth the drive...it is their 300th anniversary this year.

    j.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    Quote Originally Posted by boulderwood View Post
    I bought this camera second hand from my niece in Florida, USA. The 55-200mm lens was the kit lens when she bought it. A few months after having the Nikon D5000 I bought the "nifty=fifty". I can see another lens in my future )

    Manfred...Grand Pre is a few kilometers from our house. I know it isn't a UNESCO site but the Fortress of Louisburg is well worth the drive...it is their 300th anniversary this year.

    j.
    Hi Joanne - The Landscape of Grand Pre was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site last year (2012).

    http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1404

    Joggins Fossil Cliffs and Old Town of Lunenburg are the other two UNESCO listed sites in Nova Scotia. Yes, I'm aware of Louisbourg (one or two days; I'm thinking of spending one day shooting video and another shooting stills, weather and schedule dependent) and I'm planning to head up there and poke around around the Cabot Trail and plan to spend a day at Cape Breton National Park as well, as well as poking around the Halifax downtown area as well. I'm looking at a few days on PEI as well and am potentially going to spend a day or two in NB as well (Hopewell Rocks perhaps).

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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    Hi Manfred - if you're going all that way you really need to tack on some extra time and hop across to NFLD - skip NB The drive across the island is hardly the most exciting so you could stick to the west coast - Gros Morne - or bite the bullet and head up to St. Anthony Lanse- Aux- Meadows ( but again a bit of a long tedious drive)

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    Re: Pointers for shoot...?

    Hi Helen - the reason NFLD is not happening right now is that it is a trip I am planning to do with my wife over the next few years. She did the west coast a few years ago and wants to go back and do the east as well.

    I'm still recovering from major surgery I had on my foot last year, so I have to plan to do activities that I can manage right now, so limited walking = Gros Morne is definitely out.

    Regardless, a good suggestion that I will do soon enough.

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