Need tips before I go on my 1st solo Photo session

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by alexxk, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. alexxk, Apr 27, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2015

    alexxk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    #1
    Hello All,

    Here we go again.. not sure if anyone knows me here.. I don't post much but I love to follow this forum, anyway I started photography as a landscape photographer, recently started working on a studio editing photos from weddings and events and now I'm off to my first solo photo session.

    The good thing is that I will be photographing my friend. She's cool, beautiful and is really excited about it. I wont be charging her anything btw.

    I'm thinking about going to Downtown Miami, Bayfront area and Miami beach.. starting around 4:30PM, maybe earlier, that way I get get some daytime shots and catch the magic hour as well..

    I have a Canon T3i and a 6d.
    I will be taking my Tamron 17-50mm 2.8, Canon 24-105mm F/4L, Canon 85mm 1.8 and my Rokinon 8mm Fisheye for some maybe creative shots??
    I have a Speedlite 430 flash but no stand to put on it.

    I also have but I'm not planing to take my Canon 50mm 1.8 (the focus is way off at large Aperture), Rokinon 14mm 2.8 and my Canon 70-250mm IS

    I would like tips from you guys.. for things such as..

    1) how to deal with a person while shooting her.. positioning her.. being creative.. how to instruct her to pose

    2) What lens to use and when

    3) People tell me to avoid flash as much as I can, but should I really? When should I use and When should I avoid?

    4) What type of photos should I avoid and which ones I must take, composition, places to include, what hour to go for, creative ones?

    5) Any other tips would be appreciated

    I won't have a second person to help out.. so I don't know how to place external flash other than on camera, since I don' t have a standing thing for it either, even If I did I would have to use the T3i to trigger since I don't have a transmitter

    Thanks so much!!
     
  2. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2010
    #2
    1. Do a quick search for different types of poses for women. Print them out or copy them to your smart phone.

    2. Start with your 85mm 1.8 and shoot wide open. Focus point should be on her eyes. Why shoot wide open? To get the shallowest depth of field - throgh the background and foreground out of focus. From there, use your other lenses, but also try to shoot wide open.

    3. If you can get your flash off camera and use something like an umbrella, do that. Otherwise, shoot her in open shade and meter off of her face. If she's light skinned/caucasian, open up a stop

    4. Shoot early morning or late afternoon. If during the mid day, shoot her in open shade (see #3)

    5. There are a number of sites (SLRLounge) that can give you tips
     
  3. steveash macrumors 6502

    steveash

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    1) Plan ahead. Know some shots that you want and know what lens and settings will achieve this. Know the place and know the subject, what she will be wearing and how her hair and makeup will be. I'm a commercial shooter so this sort of control is very important to me but it is also a real benefit if you have a good idea of what you want to achieve before you start. Once the planned shots are done you will start getting all sorts of other ideas.

    2) Generally speaking the closer you are to the model, the longer the focal length is required for a flattering shot. It is a rule of thumb that can be broken.

    3) There is nothing wrong with flash, I use it for everything except landscapes. If you aren't confident then don't bother but you might want to take the opportunity to experiment. On camera flash is almost certainly not worth bothering with. It is flat and harsh - not at all flattering.

    4) That is up to you. It is your shoot, there are no rules,this is your time to experiment. But going back to my answer to number 1 above, know what kind of pictures you would like to create, what is your inspiration and what story you want to tell. Discuss ideas with the model but don't let her dictate the shoot - you're the boss.

    5) Enjoy yourself!
     
  4. HarryPot macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    #4
    I remember the first time I was asked to take photos of some models for a local business.

    What had me more nervous was how to interact with them. Having to take photos of complete strangers wasn't easy.
    In your case, the model being a friend of yours will help a lot.

    I never pursued to become a professional photographer afterwards, so my recommendations are not worth a lot, but one thing I do can recommend is to take all the equipment you have.

    The 50mm 1.8 is specially a great lens which can come in handy. The 70-250mm might also be a good lens to take.

    1) If she is cool, beautiful and really excited just let her be and after some photos see them together and see which ones you like the best and how to improve the other ones. In my case those were the ones that came out the best. When I tried to force a certain composition they never came out that great.:(

    2) I think the 17-50 and the 85mm are going to be your most used lenses. For the beach maybe the 70-200mm can come in handy. The 85mm will be specially be great for portraits.

    3) If it is going to be sitting in your camera then yes, try and use natural light instead. But in some shots it might be worth using it.

    4) I can't say much here. Avoid going when the sun is very bright. After 4:30PM is a great time.
    Look around in magazines. You can get some ideas from there.

    5) Have fun.:) I know I learned a lot from my first photoshoot. Above all, keep in mind that this is your first try and that with time you will get much better. Years from now you will look back at these photos and have good memories of it, and you'll also say "My god, what was I thinking!".:D
     
  5. alexxk thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    #5
    Thanks much.. about metering of her face.. something I've done recently is I set to Aperture.. get really close to her face, read the Shutter speed it gives me and apply that to Manual and make adjustments there.. I wish I had a light meter with me. I'm buying things slowly

    Using Spot metering from far not always works for me..
     
  6. filmbufs macrumors 6502

    filmbufs

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2012
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #6
    You've received some good advice so far. My two cents:
    • Search images online for inspiration.
    • You don't mention the purpose of the shoot so that might play a part of what is expected in the results.
    • Scouting a location and coming up with a few spots to shoot will help you get things rolling.
      • Go to the location approx. the same time of day of your shoot and study the light. If possible, bring a different friend and shoot test shots.
      • Having a few spots pre-selected will give you the confidence of knowing where to start and will help ease the initial tension either of you might feel.
    • If your friend has never modeled before, talk to her a day before the shoot and explain how the process works.
    • Capture your friend's personality. Harder said than done.
    • Just talk with your friend as you shoot, be enthusiastic, encouraging, without sounding fake. When you capture the first good image, show her and remark how cool you think the shot is.
    • Play with depth of field and find compositions that lend itself to that.
    • Just have fun and take lots-o-pictures in different locations. You can't go wrong.

    Good luck!
     
  7. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    Glasgow, UK
    #7
    This is all great advice. One thing I would say is maybe grab a cheap reflector off of Amazon or the bay so you can make more use of that Miami light.

    We stayed at the Mandarin Oriental a few years ago and were quite taken by its beauty. Maybe scout the island it is on a bit to see if you can get the angle - used to tickle us watching CSI Miami to see it on the credits.

    Oh and dont under estimate the difficulty in trying to ask a beautiful woman to try and look provocative or sultry... Lol... Have fun!!!
     
  8. alexxk thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
  9. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #9
    Don't let the equipment get in your way. One camera and two lenses with the flash is plenty for your first shoot of this kind. Concentrate on your interaction with your model and keep it comfortable and fun. Stay in your comfort zone.

    I think you could cover it with the 6D, 24-105L and the speed light. But thats from a wildlife and landscape guy. When I do my thing it's with a 28-75 Tamron and a 120-400 Sigma. Weighty stuff.

    Dale
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #10
    A few things to do, assuming you have not already completed the shoot.

    1) Don't bring so much equipment.

    2) if you do bring the speed light sit only for fill-in flash to bring up the shadows use natural light as the main light. Keep the flag a couple stops below ambient, it is just for fill.

    3) If you have an assistant then you can use a big reflector. This is the best. If the reflector is very large then it's light is soft so you can use more of it

    4) what is the purpose of this? Always remember the purpose and how the images will be used.

    5) keep the compositions simple, remove every element you can.

    6) it is perfectly OK for a new artist to try and emulate the style of a master. People have been learning are this way for thousands of years. Finds images you like and try and do something like those. Copy the style and "feel" if you can. taking it further discuss some images you like with the model.

    But #1 thing, have a goal and know what you want
     
  11. AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #11
  12. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #12
    This. Cut down what you want to learn, take the flash, 17-50/2.8 and the 85/1.8 and your best body only.

    If you can take a simple gold/silver reflector, practice composition/poses, try not to spend much time grinding lenses on and off - and have fun :)
     
  13. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #13
    You've had some great advice, and I'm not really a people shooter, but as others have said know what gear you're going to use and how to use it.

    Better to understand how to use a reflector than messing round with your flash settings if they are not familiar to you.
    Just pick to lenses and use those. Try shooting from different angles. Up high can be nice. Go real tight as well as a head, head and shoulders and full body.
    Make sure her feet never point at you directly.
    Keep her engaged. When talking about what you want her to do next and she is relaxed, fire off some shots then. Those relaxed candid shots can be the best of the bunch.
    Shoot lots, have fun! Post results and get feedback.
     
  14. alexxk thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    #14
    Thanks everyone..

    yesterday I went on the shoot and I had a great time.. many things went right while I struggled with others, which is normal I guess for someone starting at Portrait Photography..

    One thing that really bothered me though is that My Canon 6D only has 11 focal points and I always try to focus on the person's eye. Problem is when I use a large aperture 1.8-3.2 it's very easy to when I recompose the shot for her eyes to get blurred, I noticed many in the shots.. I try not to move my body much but even then some shots are out of focus..

    A Camera such as Mark III has gazillion focal points and recomposing might no be necessary, never used one.. so I don't know

    Any tips on that for the next time? I do pick focal points manually to avoid having to recompose too much by using always the center one. Still....
     
  15. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #15
    Did you use a tripod? If the person was stationary 11 focal points should've plenty. Maybe don't shoot wide open?
     
  16. alexxk thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    #16
    I didn't use tripod.. The thing is that I try to focus on the eyes and recompose to get to the rule of third or to get more of "her" in the shot
     
  17. Reality4711, May 4, 2015
    Last edited: May 4, 2015

    Reality4711 macrumors 6502

    Reality4711

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    scotland
    #17
    Ex Canon Pro

    I do not use your camera BUT as far as I can remember half depressing the shutter release button in single shot mode locks the focus so that you can recompose before completely depressing it to expose your image.

    To aid this I would usually only use the centre sensor, it being I think a cross type sensor and very reliable in the circumstances you describe.

    I regularly in the early days used an old projector screen as a reflector. Junk shops in those days now ebay could provide two cheapie; one as is (white) and one with a gold film stuck on it as a warmer choice. High reflector is easy but to go low collapse the tripod and extend the screen outwards so it reflects upward and secure with a tent peg. To the inexperienced eye it looks OK and gives great results without a helper.

    Final tip. Engaging any subject in the decision making can generate a relaxed atmosphere; just keep the camera fiddling and those decisions to yourself;)

    Regards

    Sharkey

    ps. a monopod can be a really good asset on occasions.
     
  18. Reality4711 macrumors 6502

    Reality4711

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    scotland
    #18

    Just read this so my previous advice might seem a bit odd.

    Still my last eos was a 1Ds mk11 which had as you say a gazillion focus points but I still used the focus recompose method for portraits especially. The viewfinder full of little red boxes is bl***y confusing in my view & a distraction.

    Specific focussing is important in portraiture and the single focus point concentrates the mind wonderfully. Where am I focussed/why - remember it and try another focus point next shot - CONTROL!

    Multipoint is brilliant for any moving subjects where specific focus point is not so important.

    I do know you can turn the red boxes off but the you really in the dark as to your cameras intentions:p

    Regards Again

    Sharkey
     
  19. alexxk thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    #19
    That's what I usually do.. lock the focus and recompose.. but with wide apertures the slightest movement during this process is throwing off the focus.. :/

    I have a reflector but did not have an assistant to help with that..

    Monopod huh?
     
  20. Reality4711 macrumors 6502

    Reality4711

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    scotland
    #20
    Relativity

    Firstly; your selection of f1.4/1.8 without a fixed camera position let alone a fixed subject is incredibly difficult to master (some never do). Assuming you do not want to do just the eye but to concentrate the viewers attention on the 'eyes' using a 100 mm lens (suggested) or 85 mm in your case f4/5.6 would be more successful to start with. Practise on a friend at this trying and looking at the differences when you occasionally switch f2.8 or wider. One of main probe. with the wide open method is the 'one eye' in focus result. Dead square on and focus on one eye may get you two sharp eyes but wide open and a more attractive pose(subjective) one eye is all you get.
    Bridge of the noes at f2.8/4 however may give the result you search for.

    In other words f stop setting for the final image rather than for some theoretical perfection you aspire to.

    Given what I have just said does the monopod seem so odd a suggestion. Nervous first timer, struggling with composition/conversation/creative goals/camera settings. A monopod gives you something to lean on both literally and metaphorically.

    Regards

    Sharkey

    ps:- old ideas are not always out of date...;)
     
  21. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #21
    I doubt it is unintentional body movement causing this, I would check:

    You are doing the focus-recompose last before taking the shot.
    That the camera has achieved focus on the eye before you recompose.
    That the subject isnt moving as you recompose.

    At the distances involved depth of field should still be enough to cope with the movement of recomposing.
     
  22. Reality4711, May 4, 2015
    Last edited: May 4, 2015

    Reality4711 macrumors 6502

    Reality4711

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    scotland
    #22
    Agree with all if f3.2 to f5.6 but f1.8 is a different question.

    I think this is were the conversation comes in - not exactly a count down but some sort of cue word works well (like 'and'). Even new/amateur models pick this up quickly and usually without comment. Funnily enough taking portraits can become a bit of a personal performance art for the photographer with a rhythm and feel of its own; in the same way muscle memory takes over when using a camera/lens for many hours/years so little thought outside of your subject and goal is necessary after you have practiced your method (that works) enough.

    This will sound a bit naff, but if you can find the odd film/video of one or two of the greats working (not instructional videos) I think you will see what I am talking about. They have developed their own style of moving, talking and controlling the shoot.

    Advice on how to set up your camera and lights can be garnered quite easily, as you will find from this site.

    Working with models is a two way; three/four way thing so once the twiddling is done and remembered, get your self comfortable with attended to, to being focussed on! In that way the model shoot gains something that just being in focus with the correct background will not.

    Regards

    Sharkey
     
  23. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #23
    Well I was speaking from experience with my 50/1.4

    at 2m distance you have a depth of 9cm at 1.4, more than enough to cope with unintentional movement. (1.8 has 2cm more depth).

    If the model doesn't know not to move deliberately, or the photog is careless, or focus hasn't actually been achieved then all bets are off but the minimal movement from the recompose, no, it won't cause loss of focus.
     
  24. steveh552 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2014
    #24
    It would help to get an idea of what you did right and wrong if you share some images. Do you have them on Flickr or a few you can post here?
     
  25. AlaskaMoose, May 4, 2015
    Last edited: May 4, 2015

    AlaskaMoose macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2008
    Location:
    Alaska
    #25
    I am not a portraiture photographer, but as I understand it one can set the camera to do "back-button focusing." That way once the correct focus is achieved, it does not change. Well, if the model moves, the focus won't be spot on, of course :)

    Also, wide apertures reduce depth of field, which is already razor thin on the 50mm lens (not so thin on the 85).

    I wonder if the OP can ask another 6D photographer Wec 12 at this forum?
    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1390835&page=204
     

Share This Page