Family portraits...in over my head

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by crimbfighter, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. crimbfighter

    crimbfighter No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In the never ending endeavor to test my new skills and expand my horizons, I seem to have let my mouth run faster than my brain...

    A good friend of mine, and new mother, was looking to have some family portraits done of her new family. And of course, as soon as I heard that my brain mouth-filter broke down and I blurted out, "I'll do it, FREE." I'm not sure if it was the free part or what that made her agree, but now reality is setting in that I'm going to have to do it, and do it right. Although, I gave her the disclaimer, "If mine suck you can always pay a pro to do it right!" P.S. the baby will be about 5 months old and the shoot will be inside their home.

    So, now that my long winded explanation has concluded, here's where I stand. I've read past threads on here till I was blue in the face, and found a lot of useful tips. What follows is a list of the big tips I found, and what I'm looking for is anything I'm missing or other tips to add.

    1. No flashes. (not really sure why, but it seems to be a consistent thing)
    2. Focus on the eyes of the baby.
    3. Lighting, lots of it and diffused. North facing window for the most consistent light. (unfortunately it will all have to be natural as I don't have any equipment other than one sb600 flash...)
    4. Bring at least one large reflector.
    5. Make sure the baby is fed before the shoot (to calm him down)
    6. Make sure the baby is comfy (heating pad, soft bed, chair ect.)
    7. Equipment:
    a. fast lens (wide angle to medium zoom. I may have to rent one...)
    b. tripod
    c. grey backdrop
    8. Lots of patience!

    So, that's where I'm at. Any suggestions or additions to my list? I'm sure I'm missing some big points, but then again, that's why I'm on here!

    Thanks for looking
     
  2. magkelly

    magkelly TPF Noob!

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    Flash in the face is really hard on infant eyes. They're still fairly new out of the womb and they actually are still changing color etc till the baby is about a year old. Same reason you never forget to hold the head of an infant for the first few months. The skull grows together more over the first few months. Wee babies under a year are very fragile, thin skinned compared to older babies, toddlers and older children. Not just the eyes, skin too. Diffused light seems to work best actually. Light through a sheer white curtain is ideal. I've gotten some really nice shots of my friends and their babies that way. You still get the light, but it cuts down some on the sun exposure for the baby.
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    That is an urban legend, and is not true.
     
  4. MGriff240

    MGriff240 TPF Noob!

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    Flash in the face is hard on EVERYONE'S eyes. :lmao:

    I'd say if you've got a good amount of patience and have read up, you'll end up with a very successful shoot. :thumbup:
     
  5. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You dont need a wide angle.. you got all the lenses you need. If would still use the flash though with the whole family. Bounce it to the ceilling. If it is only the baby it is pretty easy to add more light with just the lights you find around the house.
     
  6. LarryD

    LarryD TPF Noob!

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    Take a lot of shots, use enough DOF to get the entire face in focus......check your exposure frequently..

    after download, toss the bad ones and only concentrate on the good ones and you will have a good handful or two for the family...:D
     
  7. crimbfighter

    crimbfighter No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for the tips! It's good to know I can still use a flash, in moderation at least.

    Random reflector question... When making a home made reflector, I've read you should cover one side with tinfoil. Well, tinfoil has two sides, a shinny one and a matte one. Which should I use? I could see advantages to both, less harsh of a reflection with the matte side, more light reflected with the shinny side, ect.. Any thoughts?
     
  8. Robin Usagani

    Robin Usagani Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    try both LOL. Really, I would also go to office depot or wallmart and get a large white board. That can reflect light pretty good too. Amazing what a white surface can do.
     

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