Beginner Portrait Pointers

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by nrdm, Apr 14, 2007.

  1. nrdm

    nrdm TPF Noob!

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    Hi all!
    I've searched for a topic like this but didn't find exactly what I was looking for (if there is please direct me to there :p). I want to start taking portrait shots but have no idea how to go about doing it. All I have is my camera (Nikon D50) and a tripod. I don't have a studio or extra lights, etc. so I'm thinking of doing an outdoors shot. I know the basics of photography (aperture and f-stops, etc), but still beginning.
    I'm planning on meeting the model earlier so we could get something to drink and get to know each other a bit before the shoot. But with my lack of equipment, how can I get nice lighting and is there a way I could get the "catch lights" effect in the eyes? Is the photographer supposed to tell the model how to pose? Anything else I should know prior to get some good photos? Should the model bring a variety clothes to wear? The portraits are for a college website and for the models own portfolio so we want a young/sexy feel to it.
    Any advice would truly help - thanks! (Hope I'm not asking too much in this post :oops: .
     
  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    For outdoor shots you don't need strobes. Just get an assistant and learn how to use fill cards, reflectors, scrims, and black cards. Fill cards are nothing more than big white pieces of anything (i use foamcore), Reflectors are pretty self explanatory, you can buy them in a variety of colors and sizes at local camera shops, scrims are screens used to cut out light from a direct source such as the sun. With the scrim, you can have that put between your subject and light source reducing the shadow ratio on them, but still keeping the same luminosity of everything else. I use black cards on overcast days to subtract light from wherever to actually create a ratio, becuase overcast skies are nothing but a gigantic softbox.
     
  3. AdamZx3

    AdamZx3 TPF Noob!

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    +1 with what Sw1tchFX said, its far less expensive to learn portraits outdoors and lets you focus on the picture. heres some tutorials on outdoor portraits using mostly reflectors: http://photoflexlightingschool.com/Lighting_Lessons/Basic_Lighting/Portrait_Outdoor/index.html

    I am starting to get into lighting as well and I have made a softbox out of foamcore to use with the clamp on light fixtures at lowes and made a 18x18" and 18x24" softbox for 13 bucks, fixtures where 5 apeice...will have more info on them once I get the bugs worked out of it (sags with the extra weight) They work really well.

    heres the link that I used to make them, he's using 500watt studio lamp though: http://www.studiolighting.net/foam-core-homemade-softbox/

    hope this helps some.


    *edit*
    Also forgot to mention that I use an emergency blanket (silver foil ones) to use as a big reflector, and you can find nice round reflectors online for pretty cheap (I get mine from www.adorama.com they have a 5+1 for 20 bucks thats a good l purpose unit)
     
  4. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    A lens would help :D

    As above really. A flash to use as fioll or a reflector would be a very handy item. Try not to shoot in midday sun. Find shade to soften the light.
     
  5. nrdm

    nrdm TPF Noob!

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    Yeah a have a lens too :) 25-80mm. I heard most people use numbers higher than 100mm, but I can't afford a new lens yet.

    Thanks for the links AdamZx3, they give me a better idea on how the set up should be. Lighting seems to be a whole seperate factor to master :confused:.
    I'm still learning so I guess I shouldn't expect my first shot to be the best of quality...
     
  6. AdamZx3

    AdamZx3 TPF Noob!

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    No prob, I will have to say that my homade softbox is actually slightly more expensive than these new softbox umbrellas I found on ebay, the reviews are all good so I will see how they work out, they are the kind that reflect back and through a diffuser instead of the cheaper shoot through ones with a black cover on the back...just didn't want you to waste money and a lot of time on that.

    good luck!
     
  7. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    Learn about focal lengths too and you will quickly see why the favoured portrait range is between 50mm and 135mm. Your lens is right in that range (when you include the camera's crop factor The 25-80 (is that right?) range would be the equivalent of 37.5mm - 120mm on a FF camera so use the long end and you'll get some nice blurred backgrounds (if your subject is located away from the background).

    Photography is all about light. No matter the subject you shoot or when you shoot - no light = no image. Light can make and break images. Whether it's indoors or outdoors light is light is light.
     
  8. tanjh

    tanjh TPF Noob!

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    I didn't know that..thanks for the great tip!
     

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