Portrait of an elderly woman. Help?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by DrongoPhoto, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. DrongoPhoto

    DrongoPhoto TPF Noob!

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    I primarily shoot headshots for actors in the 20-50 age range. I work in an underpass (yeah, really) with great northern light and I keep things pretty simple. I just got a referral for a woman in her 80s and I'm wondering if any of you have any advice for me.

    I will be shooting on her property and all I know about it is that there are some huge trees she wants me to work with. I'm a natural light guy but I do own a 580EXII with a Gary Fong Cloud if I need it. At this point I'm hoping to find a spot with solid shade and use a bounce disk to fill in the shadows. People keep joking about investing in some vaseline for the lenses, but I'd really like to accurately represent her... is "soft focus" a necessity?

    Any advice, including anything I haven't mentioned, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    JGD
     
  2. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Stay away from soft focus. Just shoot a good portrait. Think Imogen Cunningham.
     
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    And you might consider learning how to use strobed light, which is as natural as Sun light by the way.

    A photon, is a photon, is a photon.

    The ones from the Sun are way old though. It takes them hundreds of thousands of years to get from the Suns core, where they are made, to the Sun's surface. But from there, it's just another 8.5 minutes to your subject.

    A speedlight's photons are much fresher, being just a few micro seconds old when you use them.

    Plus, you have way more control over the direction the light is coming from. :thumbup:
     
  4. DrongoPhoto

    DrongoPhoto TPF Noob!

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    I like the idea of having more control over the light, I just don't like that new photon smell. I've used strobes before, I haven't really been happy with the results. However, I may have a strobe on hand for this particular client just because I don't know the location.
     
  5. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    I would be looking at shooting a softer portrait, she's still a woman and after years of photographing all ages of woman for portaiture I can assure you they definitely don't want to see every crease in minute detail they possess. I don't do soft focus as such with filters or vaseline I just don't stop down the lens too far. H
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The more side lighting you have, the more texture you will see....texture as in wrinkles etc. So you can minimize that by lighting your subject more flatly, an/or by using fill to keep the light even on her face.
     
  7. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Few things... LEARN HOW TO LIGHT! You have a flash unit, take it off the camera and learn how to use it. Key to a great portrait is lighting.
    Portrait Lighting here's a site to classical portrait lighting. If you were to start learning how to play a musical instrument, classics would have been a large part of your learning. Photography isn't any different.
    Any jack*** can buy 2-3 grand worth of gear and call him self a 'natural light' photographer, but once the lighting changes that person is screwed. Learn classics and learn how to adapt.
     
  8. DrongoPhoto

    DrongoPhoto TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the tips.

    IgsEMT: Please don't mistake a preference for ignorance. I know how to light. Please point your misguided rage somewhere else.
     

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