HELP!! Family wants portraits.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Mole, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. Mole

    Mole New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    My family wants me to take some family portraits of them for christmas. They want them in front of the tree and all that good stuff. What I need is advice on lens, flash or no flash, and proper composition. These will more then likely be taken indoors. My main thing is composition, I don't normally take pics of people so im pretty lost on this.

    My equipment consist of Canon 30D, canon EF 28-80 3.5 kit lens, canon EF 70-300 4.0 kit lens and a canon EF 50 1.8, flash, the one on the camera and a old canon 100 ex or somthing I don't have it in front of me right now and a tripod of course.

    Thanks
     
  2. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,346
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +65 / 0
    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    Stand back as far as you can and "zoom" in as much as you can. Use the attached flash and point it at the ceiling to bounce the light, so it's not as harsh. Use the tripod of course also, especially if you are going to be in the photo :p
     
  3. neogfx

    neogfx New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    387
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    I wouldn't say zoom in as far as you can. You want to set your focal length to about 100mm (for film, about 80mm for digital) as this gives the closest comparison to what we see with our eyes.
    Also, I would recommend a cable release if you have one, then you can be talking to the subjects without looking through the viewfinder. This will make the subjects more relaxed and less self aware, then just hit the shutter at the right moment for a natural, relaxed looking portrait.
     
  4. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,500
    Likes Received:
    477
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +477 / 0
    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    I'd go with whatever lens gives the shallowest DOF at whatever distancees you're going to be at.

    I'd personaly go with the 50 prime and use a remote to trip the shutter.
     
  5. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX New Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,500
    Likes Received:
    477
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +477 / 0
    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    ddrunk posts are the bestets!
     
  6. darich

    darich New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,230
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Near Lanark, Scotland
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    Presumably Matt was meaning to zoom so that the background would be less in focus than the subjects - zooming exaggarates this by lessening the depth of field.
    a portrait always looks nicer if the background doesn't distract and if the background will be a tree decorated with tinsel and lights then bluirring it would be a good move.
    I'd agree use a tripod - it'll make you think more about your composition and take a few shots of every group - someone always blinks or looks away so a few shots will lessen the chance of you getting this if you only take one shot of the group.
     
  7. Mole

    Mole New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    Do I want my subjects centered or rule of thirds like pretty much everything else?
     
  8. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,346
    Likes Received:
    65
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +65 / 0
    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    I was referring to shooting a group family portrait. If you are shooting a group in a living room, you are probably not going to be able to shoot at 80mm. The tendecy will be to shoot at 28mm to get a very wide angle of view and fit everyone in, but you'll get a very unnatural look to the people because of barrell distortion, not to mention, your image will not be sharp from corner to corner. Zooms not only get sharper when stopped down, but also when used at a focal length near the middle of the zoom. They will show less abberations and distortions, and give a sharper image thoughout the frame. You may not notice the lack of sharpness so much in a landscape picture, but if Grandma's face is blurred and warped, you'll notice.
     
  9. neogfx

    neogfx New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    387
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    My Photos Are NOT OK to Edit
    darich - if you want a shallow depth of field you don't have to change your focal length. If you want to use a particular focal length you can then adjust your aperture to change your DOF.

    Matt - sorry, I misunderstood your point. You are of course spot on.
     
  10. kilgtfish

    kilgtfish New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Tallahassee Florida
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    My advice is to practice beforehand using the advice of the others above. Kind of like studying for a test. I would also write down the best setups on a pad for quick reference when the grumpy family members are getting impatient.
     

Share This Page