A question about family portraits

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by EleanorW, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. EleanorW

    EleanorW TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I have been approached by a friend who'd really like me to take some pictures in a few weeks of her family. My first reaction was heck no, I'm not good enough yet, but we discussed it and we agreed that I would try. If it doesn't work out to both of our satisfaction (the results) she'll go to someone else.

    One thing I'm wondering about it is, she wants to pay me, but I am not in it, at least for her situation for the money. Should I only charge a minimal amount, to cover the cost of my gas, etc and use this is as both a learning situation and as a possible start of a portfolio? The other thing I'm wondering about is, does anyone have a good resource for me to learn about what I will need to know? I started to do some research tonight, but am hoping someone can guide me to a good resource.
     
  2. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Messages:
    14,394
    Likes Received:
    3,261
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    If it's really a friend I would be inclined to refuse payment. Payment of any kind changes the dynamic of the situation significantly. I think I'd ask her to agree that if anyone asked to state that she hired you to do the work... that way if you get future calls out of it from someone else, they're going to assume you're not free. (generally the concern is once you give the work away free, you're going to wind up doing that over and over again forever)
     
  3. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Messages:
    5,394
    Likes Received:
    405
    Location:
    An American in Europe
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    If she wants to pay you, take the money and say thank you. Some people like to pay for what they get in some way. I'm like that. Sometimes it was nothing more than a good dinner at home or some such thing but I feel like doing more than just say thank you. If you want her payment to only cover your expenses that is just fine but take the money if it makes your friend happy.

    As for what you will need to know... How much portraiture have you done? What kind of equipment do you have?
     
  4. EleanorW

    EleanorW TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    She is insisting on paying me something - already tried to tell her I'd do it for free. As for experience - I have none, which is why I wanted to do it for free. I use a Sony a300, have an 18-70mm lense, 75-300 lense, tripod and will have a flash next week.
     
  5. misol

    misol TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 17, 2009
    Messages:
    122
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yeah, just charge for what you are spending (gas, minimal fee for time, babysitting). Or you can make a deal she will buy prints from you instead. That way if she likes them, then you make money. If you blow it, then they arent out anything. Thats how I dd it for a long time.
     
  6. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Messages:
    5,394
    Likes Received:
    405
    Location:
    An American in Europe
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    With the limited equipment you have you don't have much of a choice as to what you can do.

    Outdoors, natural light in a shady spot with fill flash and maybe a reflector if you have someone to hold it for you. You can get a sheet of foam core at a craft store for a reflector. You will need to also get whatever you need to have the flash off camera so as to get better light.

    Read the strobist site and, as soon as you get your flash, get a friend to sit for you and practice, practice, practice. Go to the library and get a book on portraiture to figure out the dos and donts of that type of photography. You can probably find that on the web but I don't have a site to give you.

    Good luck.
     
  7. johnj2803

    johnj2803 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2009
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Miami, Florida
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    you can read some pointers HERE

    good luck :D
     
  8. lschaaf

    lschaaf TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Glendale, AZ
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Tell her a payment would be signing a model release so you can use the photos as you build a portfolio. It's common to offer free sessions when you are just getting started. If you are trying to get more business (I'm not sure your intent, usually a friend asking for you to take their photo is the catalyst to begin a new career), ask her to just show the pics to her friends and post them on Facebook so you can get more business.

    Unfortunately, I'm not sure if there is a good "all in one" resource to tell you what you need to know! I'd look through galleries, here, there, everywhere (google "family portraits) and try and look at poses for the same size family (w/similar age kids). Then I'd make a sketch book (okay, stick figures work) showing the different poses because you tend to forget what to do with them when they are in front of you!

    I still struggle (I've only been doing family pics for 6 months or so) w/the posing and it's only after you look at the pictures, you start seeing things to look for next time. I've found you can read all the "what not to do" and "things to do" hints you want, but you really can only remember one or 2 new things each time you go out w/a new shoot and since some of your equipment might be new also, you'll be learning that too.

    After all that, here's my advice. Have around 4 - 5 different "family poses" pre-planned, then fill out your time breaking up in small groups, individual shots of kids, then some of them playing/laughing/rolling on the ground/piggy back etc...

    If you can do it before you need flash, all the better. Bring a tripod if it's late, so if the sun goes down, you still have a chance of getting some decent, in focus shots (I'm assuming you have variable kit lenses). And finally...watch your shutter speeds! Most people can't handhold at 1/60th of a second when they are starting out or even 1/80th and still get crisp shots (personally, I don't like handholding under 1/100 - 1/125 and that's for posed shots, faster if the subject is moving), if you need more light, you're better off upping your ISO unless you have tripod!

    Finally, ask her to allow you to do the shoot for free, but if she wants to order prints (when I was starting, it was enlargements, I gave my friends a disk for smaller prints), she order through you for payment.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
  9. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Messages:
    38,240
    Likes Received:
    5,009
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Something alone these lines works.

    Charge professional rates and present an invoice.

    Most times situations with friends like this go south because there is later disagreement on who was going to do what, when and how.

    Put it in writing and at the end give her a 90% discount (or whatever works) on the costs. That way she can say you charged professional rates.
     
  10. EleanorW

    EleanorW TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2009
    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thanks to everyone who commented - you've given me a lot to think about and read up on.
     
  11. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 12, 2007
    Messages:
    644
    Likes Received:
    3
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    This one is really quite simple. If she is a friend, refuse payment. If she insists, tell her you'll let her take you out to lunch/dinner some time.

    No expectations. No disappointments. No unspoken hurt feelings.

    If she is not a friend - in the strictest definition of the word - different story.

    Jon
     
  12. jess28

    jess28 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 27, 2009
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    TN
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I would probably not charge a session fee, but would charge for prints, depending on the closeness of the relationship. Make sure you get a release in case you want to use them for something else (advertising, website etc.) later on.
     

Share This Page