My first child shoot in my studio

theraven

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Yesterday I had my first child shoot in my newly created home studio, I use one light, with softbox and have a 7 foot wide, reversable black/white background.

I am using a Sony a200 (with no live view!
cry.gif
) and the weapon of choice was a wonderful Minolta 50mm 1.7 RS, which I have just bought and am in love with! :)

Please, be harsh, this is where my earnings are going to be coming from alongside other things, but I have had a lot of interest in childrens shoots.

Enough talking, here are my favorite from the shoot.

1

Evelynn by Raven Photography by Jenna Goodwin, on Flickr

2

Evelynn by Raven Photography by Jenna Goodwin, on Flickr

3

Evelynn by Raven Photography by Jenna Goodwin, on Flickr

4

Evelynn by Raven Photography by Jenna Goodwin, on Flickr

This one really sums up her had enough attitude!

5

Evelynn by Raven Photography by Jenna Goodwin, on Flickr
 

tirediron

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For a first go, not bad at all; a few thoughts...

1. I rather like this, but I wish it had a little more DoF; fast glass is great, but you don't have to shoot wide open all the time; I think just a bit more in focus would have helped a lot!

2. Cute shot, but WHY are you lighting from so low down. Rule of thumb: emulate the sun; the sun is high; over our heads, and generally speaking your key light should be higher. It's a bit hot; personally I would have pulled it wayyyyyyyy over to the left, probably just off the lens axis camera right, and the child out from the background. See her shadow? If you're going to have props like Kermit, pose them as well, this looks al little... messy!

3. Again, more DoF; the far eye is soft, and there appears to be spittle or something on her lips at the centre. Lighting position is much better here, but still too close to the background.

4. Pretty god, a shame she doesn't look happier here, you've got the exposure almost dead on,and the background could easily be brightened in post.

5. To be honest, this one has zero appeal to me; I'd bin it. If the head and cookie were sharp? Maybe. As-is? Nada!

Just my $00.02 worth - your mileage may vary.

~John
 
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theraven

theraven

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For a first go, not bad at all; a few thoughts...

1. I rather like this, but I wish it had a little more DoF; fast glass is great, but you don't have to shoot wide open all the time; I think just a bit more in focus would have helped a lot!

2. Cute shot, but WHY are you lighting from so low down. Rule of thumb: emulate the sun; the sun is high; over our heads, and generally speaking your key light should be higher. It's a bit hot; personally I would have pulled it wayyyyyyyy over to the left, probably just off the lens axis camera right, and the child out from the background. See her shadow? If you're going to have props like Kermit, pose them as well, this looks al little... messy!

3. Again, more DoF; the far eye is soft, and there appears to be spittle or something on her lips at the centre. Lighting position is much better here, but still too close to the background.

4. Pretty god, a shame she doesn't look happier here, you've got the exposure almost dead on,and the background could easily be brightened in post.

5. To be honest, this one has zero appeal to me; I'd bin it. If the head and cookie were sharp? Maybe. As-is? Nada!

Just my $00.02 worth - your mileage may vary.

~John

Thank you very much! I know now that I need a little more dof, and a little higher iso to compensate! Also the lighting needs to be further back and higher up so it is a little less harsh.

The last one is more of a funny one for her Mum, as it basically explains her perfectly, she now has her Jaffa Cake and will do no more! :)

Thanks again for the brilliant crit!
 

sm4him

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4. Pretty good, a shame she doesn't look happier here, you've got the exposure almost dead on,and the background could easily be brightened in post.

~John


Just to offer a different perspective on this:

Two of my all-time favorite professional portraits of my youngest son are pictures that do not show him being "happy." In one, he's downright pouty and in the other (which was actually a model shoot for a magazine I worked with at the time) he was...let's say a bit "wary" of the dude chasing around after him with a big camera and not sure he wanted any part of it.

Those two photos really captured the essence of him and every time I look at them, I see that incredibly expressive, emotive little boy again.

Everything else John said, I agree with wholeheartedly.
 

Studio7Four

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Thank you very much! I know now that I need a little more dof, and a little higher iso to compensate! Also the lighting needs to be further back and higher up so it is a little less harsh.

I'm glad you're on board with using a greater DoF, that was the first critique that jumped into my mind when I looked at these. I understand the allure of shooting shallow, my favorite lens is my 50mm f/1.4 and I have to fight myself constantly from shooting too open. It's a fine line to walk when shooting people in general - we just expect to see detail in the hair. But here's the thing about shooting kids...they move on you. Even when you think you've nailed focus on their eyes they have a tendency to move, so giving yourself the leeway of a deeper DoF helps.

From your comment here it seems like you understand the exposure triangle, so forgive me if you don't need this lighting advice. Moving your lighting away will actually make the lighting harsher (assuming the same modifier). To use an extreme example, let's assume you're using an 8-foot octabox. If you put that right next to your subject the light will wrap around her, eliminating shadows. Now if you move that same 8-foot modifier to a distance of, say, 100 feet away, it starts acting light a point source. What's generally regarded as the harshest lighting condition to work with? Direct sunlight - a point source.

I personally don't find the lighting on her to be harsh in any of these shots, so I wouldn't change your lighting distance too much. You can play with the height of it, and I agree that you can get greater separation between your (subject and light) and the background. You seem to have a handle on lighting your subject with one light/softbox (and I assume reflector(s)), so when you're at a point to consider adding lighting you may want to get one for the background, to have independent control of the background lighting as you play with offsetting your subject and key light.
 

Studio7Four

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Oh, right, C&C on the individual shots per request (besides what others have mentioned).

1) I really like the pose, expression, and composition of this shot. There will be some who say you should have shot it vertically but I think the horizontal orientation works well here. You could also crop in from the left to make it a square crop and it would work well. I would consider cloning out the purple trailing through the bottom left corner. To a small extent it pulls my eye away from her, out of the left side of the frame. It also leaves me wondering what it is - if it's a train on that dress, that tells me the dress is pretty cool and worth showing more of.

2) It has some personality in it, so her parents probably like it, but it comes across as much more of a candid snapshot than a studio image, particularly compared to the rest of the set. The more elements in a shot the more details need to be paid attention to (such as the Kermit doll already mentioned, or that her pant cuffs extend beyond her shoes). Also, this is a tough aspect ratio for this particular shot. There is oodles of dead space above and below her but she and Kermit are very close to the sides of the frame (so close some of them might get blocked if this shot gets framed). Particularly with kids (again, because they move) I've found it helpful to shoot wider than I want for the final crop (and I'd consider cropping this to a different aspect ratio).

3) Here too I like the pose (I'm a sucker for shots where they're not looking into the lens) and the peaceful, relaxed expression. I like the composition, but in this one I kind of feel that there is too much dead space. That could be because her white dress adds to the feel of the dead space, as compared to the first shot where more of the frame is skin tone or purple. I think this is another candidate for a different aspect ratio to remove some of that dead space, perhaps all the way down to a square crop.

4) This one isn't horrible, it just doesn't do anything for me. Personally I'd like to see more expression in a shot with a prop like this - either a bright, joyful face, or the furrowed brow of concentration. I do think this one would benefit from being shot in a vertical orientation. You've given her eyes a focal point (the end of the wand), so you don't need dead space in the frame to give her something to look into. The bright spot at the end of the frame is also ridiculously distracting. I'm guessing that it is a bulb at the end of the wand...it needs to be treated like any other light source when balancing your exposure. It's small enough it doesn't affect the light on her, but if you had increased the power of your key light you would have been able to stop down and/or use a faster shutter speed to better expose this bulb. Maybe it's not worth the time to tweak lighting for a couple captures with the wand, just my opinion of the result. (Alternatively, you could get creative with your post processing and deal with that tip light a number of different ways, including 'shopping in some "magic" streaks or sparkles.)

5) I actually quite like this capture, and had the DoF been sufficient to get from her back through to the cookie sharp it could have been great.
 

CorrieMichael

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The eyes are a little too cooked for me as well......I like 5 and 3! awesome for your first in studio! Agree lighting is way low in 2. Love the lighting in number 3. but the colour still looks off to me in all of these....what colour is your backdrop? It looks grey. Is it suppose to be white? Does that maybe mean that there is a bit too much blue in the images. I'm not really sure myself and maybe I am completely wrong too :) But great start!
 

tirediron

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...if anyone can help me, getting the backdrop perfectly white? Any tips?
More light! You really need to have a dedicated background light.

This:
Jessica%20(2).jpg


is a quick and dirty two speedlight quasi-high key shot with one light driving a 30" Ezybox slightly camera left, and a second right behind the model illuminating the background. You can do it with one, using a lot of reflectors, V-flats, etc, but really, life will be a LOT easier if you spend fifty pounds or so and grab a Yongnuo speedlight to use for a background light.
 

Rebekah5280

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I use 2 dedicated background lights to completely over expose the background.
I then pull my subject way WAY forward and light with my giant softbox. Works great and there is a lot less cursing on my part while I'm editing pictures! lol

Here is an example, I had two umbrellas, one on each side behind and to the side of the subject pointed on high power directly at the white background. What you end up with is a perfectly white background with now hassle in post!

$D - 5.jpg
 

tirediron

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Thank you!

Although with not having another light at this moment, any tips for how to achieve more of this in post?
Select the background, and change to pure white, BUT this gets tricky around hair, and can take a lot of effort. It really is a LOT easier to spend the money and get the background light! Honest!
 

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