Picnic portraits

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by Johnboy2978, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hey all, a few weeks ago, I posted some questions about charging my company for doing some portraits at a company picnic. This was a day where we welcomed our new CEO and the co wanted to offer portraits to any family that wanted one. Here are a few that I would like your thoughts on. I have my own thoughts about them, but I'd like to hear yours first. This was my first paid shoot.
    By the way, the theme was a country hayride, hence the hay bales and hats (optional).

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  2. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    They don't even warrant a comment good or bad?
     
  3. Holly

    Holly TPF Noob!

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    Bad? No they are not bad at all.. Very cute number 1 is... #2 they are not really looking at you, which is normal for kids, you get what you get huh?
    and number 3 is good too... Only suggestion (personal preference) Is to add some contrast... Im pretty picky with it at times and in a situation like these where you have more then just the people in focus I like there to have some depth so to speak..

    Look forward to seeing more!
     
  4. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for the comments Holly. I have a real problem judging contrast. I edit them in PS CS2 and they look great (as far as contrast and saturation goes), then when I view them outside of PS, they look a little washed out. Then I get a third variation when posting on the internet. I'm never quite sure what I will get when I send it to the printers.

    This was my first paid shoot, and I was rather nervous. I wasn't quite sure how many people would take advantage of the portaits, so I allotted only 10 minutes per family. It was a quick pose, shoot, and cross your fingers and say a Hail Mary and it was over.

    I'd really appreciate comments from others as well to get some insight as to what was good and bad. It's a lot different shooting for others, b/c w/ my own stuff, I could care less if anyone else likes it. When you suddenly are shooting for money though, it's a bit difficult making that transition.
     
  5. Alison

    Alison Swiss Army Friend Supporting Member

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    It is hard to make that transition! I'm giving honest opinions here because you're asking and because I wish that I get the same critique when I post, too. Keep in mind though that the people who sat for the photos will probably love them. I find that I am way more critical of my work than my clients are.

    Overall the lighting is pretty flat and even and like Holly said, lacks depth. I would try some different settings on your lights and experiment with reflectors and softboxes (if you have them). I also think the background competes with the subjects a bit. Perhaps moving them further away from the wall to throw it out of focus would help.

    #1: I think I would have included the rest of her legs, they look a bit chopped off. It's hard working with children but I usually take quite a few shots so I have a range of expressions to work with.

    #2: I would have included all of the girl in the front, she's almost out of the frame and they seem a bit disconnected. Again, I would have shot multiple frames here because the girl in front isn't looking at the camera and as a viewer I follow her eyes right out of the photo.

    #3: Cute pose. I would touch up the glare on their faces though.

    I hope some of this helps, and it's my perception, others may see things in a different way. That's the great thing about these forums is you get a wide variety of ideas/suggestions!
     
  6. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Alison, I definately appreciate your honest comments, and I agree with everything you've said. I am still fairly new to the alienbee strobe I used here, and am not sure how to get more 'depth' from it. I got the umbrella with it, but haven't bought any softboxes or reflectors yet.
    The day of the event, I set up my gear, took a few self portraits to get the lights roughly in the right area, and left it there. All shots were at f/8, 1/180 with a 50mm lens and the AB800 light was about 1/4 power.
    These were shot in a small makeshift church and this area took up the entire 'stage'. I really wanted to move the bg back a bit so that it could've been blurred, but just didn't have the room. I was half way down the aisle to try and get everything in frame so that I could crop later to an 8x10 successfully.

    When I looked at them at first, the main thing I noticed was the shadows in the bg. Do they look horrible? I played w/ my light some, but never had enough time to really eliminate it.

    Any other comments?
     
  7. AprilRamone

    AprilRamone TPF Noob!

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    I don't think the shadows are that distracting. I think what I notice mostly is that the crops seem a bit weird. Especially in the first. I agree with what Alison said. Clients usually love the pictures more than you and the photographer always has a more critical eye. I bet the couple will love theirs:)
     
  8. Alison

    Alison Swiss Army Friend Supporting Member

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    Are you shooting with just one strobe? If that's the caser adding another light source (either a strobe or a reflector) will help a ton! I highly recommend a softbox (or something to duplicate the effect) to help disperse the light.

    I can completely relate to shooting in small spaces, it can be very challenging. With your dedication and willingness to keep trying I think you'll go far :)
     
  9. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think if I could have made only ONE change, I would have dragged the hay away from the lattice background at least 6 feet. The criss-cross lines are very "busy," and would be softer and darker with a bit of space in between the background and the subject.

    As for the lighting, I think you did a very good job using one umbrella.

    Posing is tough to learn without direction. There SO much involved... tilt of the head, turn of the shoulders, hands, diagonal lines, and on and on...

    All in all, a good job.

    Pete
     
  10. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Alison, yes, I was using only the single strobe. Would've been nice to had another bee in there, or even a speed flash (which I've been putting off, anyone have any thoughts of a Sigma EF500 DG Super?). I'll pass around a hat in a few minutes for a 'love offering' to help out with defraying the cost of additional lights.

    Pete, I was thinking the same thing about having more space between the bg and hay. As I said though, this thing took up their entire space and I had to move half way down the aisle to get them in frame. I guess it makes me feel good to know that I did at least think of these things, just couldn't do anything about it and couldn't figure out an alternative.

    I had an option of shooting outside, which would've been nice, but wasn't sure about rain (it lasted 6 hours and people signed up for the portraits whenever they wanted), plus, didn't want to try shooting when the sun was at it's peak around 2pm, etc. etc. I figured at least I would have controlled lighting inside.

    So from what I'm hearing, they were decent? Probably need to look at bumping the contrast a little though?
     

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