Some advice/help needed...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by paulpippin29, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Hi folks... couple of questions here...

    I've been fortunate enough to schedule two paying shoots which will hopefully take place over the weekend, and I so desperatly need this money, so I want to make sure I get this right, since this will be the first time I've ever charged, and recieved money for my photography work.

    Ok, since I'm not an established professional, and don't have a studio, I'll be doing some late evening, outdoor, natural light shots. I have no flash unit other than the built in, and I've seen it's work before, not to happy with that, so, pure natural light.

    These girls want the outdoor, natural light shoot... as they've seen my previous freebie work, and they love it, so that's not an issue, as it was requested... however, here's my question concerning this:

    I have both a UV filter, and a Polarizer filter... both made by Canon, both costing a good bit, and seem to have some really nice quality. I've done tons of outdoor shots using both of them, just to see the effects, and of course, the Polarizer provides an instant difference, but, should I use a Polarizer filter when shooting people outdoors? Will it enhance them, or ruin them? I've never used it on a actual person... just flowers, and the general nature thing. What about the UV? Would it be useful, or worthless?

    Second question I have is concerning a possible third shoot, which might derive from one of the girls I'm going to be shooting already. One of them has a brother, who's graduating from high school next year. Her mother told her that she wanted to see the final pictures that I take, and if she likes them, she's rather pay me to do his senior portraits than one of our local established photographers. Now, this scares me, simply because it's such a memorable time in his life, and for his family, and I'm not to sure about all of this.

    I guess what I'm asking is this... is it safe to do senior portraits without a studio? :) Unless I hit a jackpot sometime soon, by the time this guy needs his shots done, I will not have a studio, just like now. So, should I turn that down? Do some people actually do all outdoor senior shots? The folks around here don't seem to do that to often. It's studio all the way, with maybe a couple outside, using railroad tracks, etc...

    What do you folks think about that? Would that be getting in to far over my head?
     
  2. Sherman Banks

    Sherman Banks TPF Noob!

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    You're not getting in way over your head here, if they've seen your work, they know what to expect. It's another deal if you're trying to convince them you're a good photographer with not much to back it up.

    As far as outdoor senior portraits, that's mostly what I've seen done. I haven't been in school for a long time, but the trend was to get your shot done outdoors with generic form of nature (trees, lakes, etc). I think the person look more natural as it's probably an environment they're familiar with, whereas most students don't spend their time in front of some huge lights with a dropcloth behind them.

    I don't know what to recommend for filters, the polarizer will eliminate some of the glare on oily skin but will have a stronger effect on the background more than anything (and eat up a stop of light). Maybe pack an ND filter if the light is strong. Since you're not using flash, I would for sure pack a reflector, whether it's a fancy collapsible one or just a sheet of foam board from the craft store. It will do wonders for balancing your facial shadows, even in softer lighting conditions. Good luck with the shoot though, and you'll have to post some of the results up here.
     
  3. Sherman Banks

    Sherman Banks TPF Noob!

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    I also remembered seeing this video not too long ago that might be of some help.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  4. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the reply Sherman... was really helpful, and made me feel better about the whole deal, as it would mean more money in the pocket :)

    Nice video too... very helpful. I need a reflector really bad. I don't have a dime to my name, can't buy anything, need to find something here at the house that might would suffice. Wonder what that could be?

    Oh, check this link out:

    Whiddon Photography, studio, portrait and senior portrait photography Meridian, Mississippi

    That's the main guy we have here in town. I've tried to get a job with him as an assistant on countless occasions, but he tells me that him and his wife do most everything. I guess he either can't afford an assistant, or he just feels that if he and his wife can do it, why pay someone else money? I can't blame him there at all. One thing's for sure though, if I ever were to get a real buisness going, as he has, he would be the main competition. He does just about every school around, which is quite a few, among all sorts of other things. Anyway, if you look through the galleries, he seems to have more indoor than ourdoor going on, that's why I asked about shooting seniors outdoors.

    Thanks again for your reply though, really helped out, and am looking forward to more.
     
  5. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Oh cool. These videos are quite helpful.

    This is hearsay, though I believe it's from KmH: Polarizers mess-up skin tones.

    Don't be over-concerned with what others are doing. If they're doing only studio setups for senior (we're talking "senior" as in high school grads, right?) shots, then you going outdoors will probably separate your shots from theirs immediately. Using a reflector to soften light and get good side-lighting will be a must without an off-camera flash. Too many portraits of just studio setups indoors will just make a person look stuffy and boring. I think senior portraits can really bring some vitality and life into the shot when set to an outdoor background. Personally, I'm really sick and tired of the ho-hum portraits that the market seems to be inundated with.

    If you're really doubtful about the high school shoot (like having no idea what lenses to use, how to plan it, etc.), then gracefully suggest that they hire a professional. But it sounds to me like you've got some idea of what you're doing.

    Edit: Reflector = anything big and white. At the last, you could grab a big piece of cardboard or similar and glue white pages to it.
     
  6. Sherman Banks

    Sherman Banks TPF Noob!

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    I personally never use mine for portraits, only landscape stuff (which I don't do much of anyways). You're biggest issue is going to be balancing your lighting and if you're lighting is bad, it won't matter what filter you shot with.

    As for the reflector, take anything that is a medium to large flat surface, wrap it in foil and you've got yourself a reflector. But the foam core board at Joann Fabrics is like $2 so scrounge up some of your couch change and pay them a visit. It looks better than a cookie sheet covered in foil, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
     
  7. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Hey, great idea man... cardboard, and white paper, I most certainly do have :)

    And ya know, I wasn't gonna say what you said about being different, or seperating from the norm, but that's exactly what I thought I would be doing, and have been doing all along now. I like to think that's what sent these two girls my way, something different.

    Oh, how large should a reflector be? Now that cardboard and paper come into play... I can go super large, super small, or anywhere in between. I'll have no assistant either. How will I hold/position this thing and take the pictures at the same time? :)
     
  8. abyssal20

    abyssal20 TPF Noob!

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    I totally agree with everyone here. Get whatever you can for reflectors, car window shades, white sheets, cardboard, etc. Keep in mind that gold and silver reflectors (such as car window shades) will direct an excellent amount of light but it will be hard. But this can be advantageous if your looking for some rim lighting. Anything white will soften the light. I did a shoot at the beach once and everyone showed up late. By then it was "high noon". My light was ruined so I improvised. I actually (I'm not shy) borrowed a white sheet from this couple on the beach (they were going into the water anyway). I had four assistants hold the sheet over my subject for some very soft & natural lighting. What I had created was a very large softbox. And sometimes reflectors will do exactly opposite of they are intended. Again, back to the beach. The stray light bouncing off the water and sand was washing out my fill, so I had some others hold reflectors to block some of that light. Just experiment with what you have. Hell, even a white t-shirt can make a great softbox. Just be creative and relax!!! If your tense, your models will sense it and cause lack of trust. If your models can't relax, your shoot will be wasted. Good Luck!!! Oh, and HAVE FUN.
     
  9. Sherman Banks

    Sherman Banks TPF Noob!

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    Bigger= more light. I just use the foam board even though it's often inconvenient to carry, but it's about 20x30 and produces a good amount of light. Without an assistant, you'll want to be mindful of how you prop it up to work, so bigger may not be better here. I usually use mine hand held or have the model hold it when I'm doing mostly upper body work. Limited resources make you exercise your creativity so look at your environment as a studio and find ways to make your tools/light work for you.

    Also, try to get your gear set up to accommodate to a variety of situations. I always pack tape, twine and other small things that I may need to hold something or stabilize, etc. This may help in the case of your reflector too.
     
  10. musicaleCA

    musicaleCA TPF Noob!

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    Gaffers tape and some rope should be in everyone's bag (says the guy who's missing the gaffer's tape in his bag right now).
     
  11. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Oops.. Sherman, missed that last reply of yours, didn't mean to skip it.

    Ok, so... we've basically got... no filters to be used, make a reflector.

    Tin foil, white paper, white sheets. Again, this will be around 6 in the PM, soft sun light that will just keep getting softer. It get's to dark to shoot around 7:30 here, but even by then, a nice flash would be appreciated. I'll probably start around 5:30 actually, give an extra half hour.

    Hmm... how should I approach this reflector issue? I need to find an assistant too, a good friend perhaps that won't desire a cut of the money :)

    Here's some examples below of exactly the time of day, type of light I'll be dealing with. These images have been posted here before, recieved mixed reviews, but, this was done with the XSI, Kit Lense, no filters, no flash, no reflector.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Usual amounts of basic PP applied to those, but that's it. Could a reflector have helped me on those two? I remember the sun actually being behind some tall trees right to the left of us. I don't know how I would have managed to reflect it, but, that's just me being new to the proper usage of one, since I've yet to use one at all :)
     
  12. abyssal20

    abyssal20 TPF Noob!

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    Look at the image below and try to identify the highlights and lowlights. This image was shot with a 10' x 20' softbox! Hint, look at the ceiling. The tent itself diffused the intense light of the Florida sun at noon time.

    DSC_0179_061109 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    [​IMG]
     

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