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Thread: Santa and Mrs. Claus

  1. #1
    Dizzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Concrete, WA. USA
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    Santa and Mrs. Claus

    A couple Saturdays back I had the dubious honor of being conscripted into service
    taking the photos of Santa and Mrs. Claus with the little ones at the Walgreens where
    my wife works. Apparently, she told them I had recently started a photography
    business, and would gladly volunteer to shoot pics of screaming/smiling/terrified/thrilled
    rug-rats as they sat on Santa's lap yanking on his beard. It was all to help out the local
    food bank, and considering that I only shoot real estate and have never shot portraits
    before, she decided it was a perfect opportunity for me to learn

    BTW, I learned about all this late Fri. night, less than 12 hrs. before Santa was
    to arrive...Santa and Mrs. Claus

    Once the initial shock began to fade, I came back to reality and quickly re-read Colin's excellent
    tutorial on Portrait Lighting With One Light, and then began to gather the needed equipment
    for the next day's unplanned opportunity/nightmare/adventure.

    I asked the wife if there would be room for me to put up a lightstand, and she said
    there *might* be, but it was a pretty tight space where Santa set-up. With that in
    mind, I brought both the LP-160 and SB-900 speedlights as well as a LumoPro LP606
    8' stand and a 44" white satin umbrella.

    Turned out to be a load of fun, and it was a pleasure working with what I am almost
    certain was the REAL Santa Claus and his Mrs. Most of the kids were great, and the
    most scared one of the whole bunch was my own 20 month old Ended
    the day after taking just over 75 pics of the kids, dogs and anyone else that wanted
    a free pic with Santa.

    Took a few shots in Aperture mode using the SB-900 on-camera as a fill flash, but
    I didn't like the lighting, plus the Claus's would have gone blind before it was all over.
    So, I switched back to Manual (I rarely use anything else), rearranged some furniture
    and set my light stand up to my right (Santa's left), and then used the YN603 wireless
    units to fire the LP160. It was set at 1/16th power, and was shooting through the umbrella
    which gave a nice soft light to blend with the [overly bright] white fluorescent lights in
    the store. Santa provided the wrinkled background, so I was pretty well stuck with it.

    Here's a couple of the best:

    Santa and Mrs. Claus

    1/20s f/6.3 at 40.0mm iso400

    Santa and Mrs. Claus

    1/20s f/7.1 at 42.0mm iso400

    C&C is most appreciated. I'm quite interested in others thoughts on the lighting,
    and what could be changed or improved on next time to make them better.

    BTW: I've already volunteered for next year..Santa and Mrs. Claus


    P.S. Full sized images can be seen at
    Last edited by Dizzy; 21st December 2011 at 08:42 AM.

  2. #2
    Rob Douglas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Freehold NJ
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    Rob Douglas
    Nice work. The lighting is a touch bright but you did well in controlling the shadows. I like the touch of reversed vignette to add to the holiday feel. Sound like you had a great time and also learned from it since you have volunteered again so quickly. Great work and for a good cause too so you should be proud, I'm sure your wife is.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    South Devon, UK

    Re: Santa and Mrs. Claus

    That has worked well, Mike, you have good correctly exposed whites but have also avoided any harsh shadows.

  4. #4
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA
    Real Name
    Frank Miller

    Re: Santa and Mrs. Claus

    Looks like you did well and had a ball in the process. Nice pictures!

  5. #5
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Southern California, USA
    Real Name

    Re: Santa and Mrs. Claus

    Very nicely done...

    I would have liked to avoid the shadow on the little one's eyes which could have been accomplished by placing the hat a bit further back on the head.

    I would also like to see the puppy's entire face but, I know how difficult it is to pose a lively puppy.

    All in all these shots portray a festive and happy Holiday feeling...

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Real Name

    Re: Santa and Mrs. Claus

    Firstly can I say I have absolutely no portraiture experience (yet), but I think they look fantastic, a great job. The only thing I did notice was the creases in the fabric backdrop, and that the hat had fallen forward on the baby. Now, must go read that tutorial!

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