Senior Portraits

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by arsondesign, May 27, 2008.

  1. arsondesign

    arsondesign TPF Noob!

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    A close friend asked me to do some senior portraits for her. I really haven't ever done any sort of portrait photography so I'm relatively nervous about it. I'm flying down to Kentucky for a week (beautiful locations) and we're meeting up one of the days to shoot. She didn't like the senior portraits she had done last summer, so she wants to do some more (very last minute).
    I've searched old threads for help with the "portrait" aspect.. but there's that certain "feel" to senior portraits. Or am I making that up in my head?

    I've got a Canon 20D (hopefully soon, the 40D) and I intend to use my 50mm f/1.8.

    I just need some advice from those of you who have been through the senior portrait process? She's absolutely gorgeous and is very animated, so that should help :sillysmi:.
     
  2. asfixiate

    asfixiate TPF Noob!

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    you have a good start with camera and lens. I recommend using google to look at how a bunch of shots were composed to get ideas.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    She didn't like the ones she had done before...and now she's asking someone who has never done it before? Sounds like a recipe for disappointment to me.

    Make sure she knows what to expect...hopfully that will take some of the pressure off of you.
     
  4. itsanaddiction

    itsanaddiction TPF Noob!

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    Your main thing is going to be composition of the shot. Also, get her to bring a school jacket (letterman) if she has one - or school paraphanalia - take pictures of her with her car - (maybe) - after all the car you had for high school was always your baby - make sure your lighting is good - overcast days are best - and if you're anywhere near her school - suggest going take some there!
     
  5. visualpoetry

    visualpoetry TPF Noob!

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    Your equipment is just fine.

    I have done senior portraits many times and always focus on that specific child's personality. If they love to ride horses, give the photos a rustic feel by shooting them in a farm setting or even with their animal- maybe even edit them as a grainy sepia tone, for effect. Or, if their sportsy, bring them to the high school and take photos of them on the field or against the bleachers. There's a million ways to get creative with it.. just always remember to make it a PERSONAL experience. Capture them by showing who they are at the current time.

    However, I always try to get away from the traditional varsity jacket poses unless, of course, that's what the client wants. I never suggest it. I want to give them something fresh.. something that wont look like all of their friends shots.

    Best of luck to you!
     
  6. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    For older people's portraits you have the choice between 'character portraits' and 'nice portraits'. Basically either with lots of shadows emphasizing the lines and wrinkles that make the photo ooze with life, character and personality, OR the opposite: as little shadows as possible, maximally masking the lines and wrinkles ('flat lighting'), for a 'pretty portrait'.
    Make sure you know which the old lady wants.

    For 'character portraits' you need more side lighting and less fill: max. shadows.
    For 'pretty portraits' you need as soft as possible front lighting, preferably 'wrap-around', and as much fill as possible so that there are virtually no shadows.

    50mm is too short a focal length for portraits (head & shoulders), because it distorts facial features unflatteringly. Better use 80 or 90mm. Which also lets you step back a little, leaving the subject some more personal space, which is more comfortable, hence will get you a more relaxed portrait.

    Take a (D-I-Y) reflector (or 2, if you can)!
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    lmao... I think they are talking about HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS! :lmao:

    As for the rest of it... I am not even going to comment about the fact that they were disappointed with the results a professional offered them, and now go to someone who has extremely limited experience in these matters. To be kind, I will say that Mike had a very valid point. ;)
     
  8. asfixiate

    asfixiate TPF Noob!

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    I thought they were talking about senior citizens...lol.
     
  9. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    :lol::lol::lol:

    OK, now what? arson, can you please shed light?
     
  10. arsondesign

    arsondesign TPF Noob!

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    I most certainly agree with the "not being happy with the professional shots might equal a recipe for disaster" but I just wanted to attempt this for her. She's mailing out the ones she has to family, and wants to (if all goes well) give the ones that I shoot to her classmates. She is fully aware of my capabilities and still wants to work together, so I thought it would be an interesting challenge and good learning experience. We discussed the possibility of them not being anything near what she was hoping for. I was merely asking for any tips that would be useful.

    To clarify, I was referring to high school seniors, I apologize for the vagueness in my word choice.

    Thanks for the input, and itsanaddiction and visualpoetry, you were very helpful!
     
  11. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If expectations are clear all around and you are looking for hints... have you looked on youtube videos? Last time I checked there were like 15-20 vids based on that.

    A google on senior photography handed me hundreds of sites with ideas and tips... a lot more than I would care typing in here, personally.

    now leave those senior citizens alone, you hear? lol
     
  12. arsondesign

    arsondesign TPF Noob!

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    I didn't think about youtube! I did google it a bit, but I thought I'd ask in case I was missing out on any good advice someone here might have.

    Thanks again!
     

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