My first portrait sort-of-gig! Suggestions welcome!

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by epp_b, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    So, a friend of mine has asked me to take some photos of her and her dog for Christmas cards today.

    The lighting today is overcast and the forecast says it should stay this way pretty much all day, so I won't include sky as part of my photos and I don't need to worry about harsh sunlight.

    I'll be using my D40 with 55-200 VR, I might break out my 50/1.8 as well. I've done a few candid headshots before, and the 55-200 VR is great for this. It's no buttery-smooth f/2.8, but as long as I get close enough, it isolates the subject and background fairly nicely.

    Any suggestions and tips are very welcome!
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008
  2. Stranger

    Stranger TPF Noob!

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    I would use your 50 1.8 more than just a "break out". Also, with the 55-200, shooting at 200mm will better isolate your subject and give a better OOF area.

    Most important, have fun... make sure they have fun as well... It will show in the photos
     
  3. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The problem with my 50/1.8 is that is manual, so it can be tricky with moving subjects like her puppy ;)

    But I will try it as well.
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Gawd, what's next, you going to do weddings afterward for free too, I suppose???

    Just kidding!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:


    Having 2 subjects of such disproportionate sizes means to me that if the dog is hand-holdable in size, you will want to take portraits no larger than 1/2 or 3/4 body shots in length, else the dog becomes an accessory and not part of the picture as a co-subject. If it is really small, even a bust shot is better, as both subjects will be better defined. Use poses that restrict a bouncy young puppy... move fast (but not too fast) and control the situation from the start. Know what you want by planning everything out on paper and in your head in advance, so you come in knowing what you want instead of pausing and wasting time thinking about what to do while there.

    The 50mm will be a good choice but NOT at anything less than F/4. I would even push things as far as F/5.6 or numerically higher for increased DOF so that your subjects are all well defined.

    Make sure that if you want a background less defined that there is a LOT of room behind them for the lens to lightly blur. If it is overcast outside, WONDERFUL! Flash them with an umbrella and battery powered strobe from about 3 feet away and you would be a little further. This will give you some wonderful fill flash on the subjects. Choose the background carefully so it is not busy nor interferes with the picture. Think up at least 10 poses where she is standing and holding the dog (cannot run away... lol) or kneeling and on a leash (no leash if the dog doesn't bolt off).

    Props... I just came back from a dollar store and spent 6 bucks on a santa hat, an elf's cap, a santa bag and small (doggie sized) reindeer antlers, some little "jingle bells" and a long "boa" kinda christmas decoration that can be used to wrap around the models like a scarf. Consider those important tools of the pro... lol

    Have fun, shoot in RAW, take all the safe shots first, then experiment and play, play, play until they get bored!

    200 pictures later, you MUST have at least 1 keeper... lol

    Good luck!
     
  5. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Her dog is a 50+ lb Golden Retriever...not the kind of dog you'd want to hold for too long, but not an especially large Retriever either. She (the dog) knows me pretty well, so she (the dog) gets pretty excited when I'm around ;)

    I think I'll be better off with my 55-200 VR as manually focusing with said subject could be difficult. And if I'm going to be at f/5.6 at 50mm, I might as well use the 18-55 kit lens for that.

    We're planning to do it out in a big empty grass field with a line of trees far in the the background.

    Eh, well, I don't really have that equipment and I'm not about to get it in the next hour or so ;)

    Thanks, those are some helpful suggestions!
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008
  6. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, she really likes the photos and is now asking me what I should charge. Problem is, I have absolutely no idea where to start as a base for figuring it out.
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Ask the pros what they do... in the General Shop Talk of the business section on this site. ;)
     
  8. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks, I'll check that out.
     

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