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Portraiture just isn't my thing


No longer a newbie, moving up!
Feb 17, 2010
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I mainly do scenic photography, and I have a new-found respect for "people" photographers. A buddy of mine recently got engaged, and I offered to do their engagement pictures for free as a wedding gift. Even if he wasn't my friend, I wouldn't have asked for any form of payment because I'm just not comfortable with this yet. We're going to have another shoot in a few weeks when the leaves start changing (the wedding isn't until late next spring), so hopefully I'll be able to learn a little more before then! Nevertheless, here's a few from today's session:






C&C Please :)
I love 5 the most. IDK what your so frustrated about. they look good.im not pro but i guess they could be a little more in focus. i have the same problem. Whats ur "weapon"
Nice job! #4 needs some adjustment with the light.
They're really not bad. As far as people photography goes, I usually just kind of talk to the people for about 15-30 minutes if time allows and basically pretend like I'm shooting. I'll take some pictures here and there, but really that time is used to just get them comfortable in front of the camera. Once they start to loosen up I really start shooting. I like my shots to look as candid as possible and when they get comfy you usually end up getting actual candid shots. I do like to get some poses with them looking at the camera too, though. I wait until a pretty good ways into the shoot because they are nice and loose by that point and don't take it too serious when they're looking directly into the camera.
Thanks for the input everyone :)

I was using a Canon 5D mk II with either a 50mm 1.4 or occasionally a 24-105L.

Thanks for the tip Blake, that makes a lot of sense. I usually like the more candid shots as well, but I just wasn't thinking of taking pictures between posed shots. It's that darn scenic photography I tell you!

Luckily I know enough to shoot in RAW+JPEG-fine, so I'll be able to adjust any lighting/white balance issues as I get the time to edit. I also think I'll rent the 70-200 2.8L for the next shoot, as there were a few times I wish I had had more reach than my 105 would give me.

Oh and the first set wasn't taken place in an actual store hahaha. There's a local guy that's really into antiques, and he reconstructed an old diner/cafe in his home! He was really cool about letting us come in, and even told us to make ourselves at home and move things around if we wanted! We had never met him before, but when we saw the old replica gas station he has in his yard we knocked on his door. He was more than happy to let us try that, and then he said he had something to show us. That was when he surprised us with the diner! Unfortunately, the sun was really harsh so none of the gas station pictures turned out.

I'm not sure why they don't look as sharp as they do when viewing them in windows photo viewer, so here's some 100% crops just for show :)

#1 100% crop:

#5 100% crop:
they look good the only thing i would have done differently i would have had them switch spots in the first one with him behind her.
Your wb seems to be off in the first few images.

I recommend buying a White balance cap (i got one recently, it works really well!)
got mines for £7 ($14?)
i find the edge of the bar that runs through her head distracting,

white balance could use a tweak and perhaps the contrast on my monitor is a bit strong on the 4 and 5
To me they look a little dark and the white balance seems off. Do you post process them any? Try color correcting them in post and add an unsharp mask to help sharpen them up.

Here are 3 of them for example granted this is from the low resolution shot that you uploaded. I did a levels adjustment. Shadow/Highlight Adjustment, Went into Selective Colors and under "red" pulled the red and black sliders down a little. The one inside the restaurant which was too yellow, I went into the yellow and pulled the yellow down also. Then added a slight unsharp mask to them.



The only thing I would change is take that guy out and put me in...that guy sure has a keeper! woo-woo (or similar sounding wolf-whistle....)
Yeah 1 &2 are my fav.

the white balance kinda enhanced the time era of the location.

Until I saw the edit. now i realized, for some odd reason the off white balance makes my eyes drift around the image

So yeah, Just fix the white balance, it'l be cool

Most portraiture is done with the camera held in the 'portrait' or vertical orientation.

To give you some areas to study before your next session, check out: white balance, image editing basics like sharpening, and lighting basics like fill and background separation.

Since your upload by neccesity is a JPEG, adjusting the white balance was guess work. The orange color cast in your original is from tungsten lighting while the camera white balance was set for daylight.

Nice shots... For the outdoor shots I would have tried opening up the aperture to create more depth of field (I believe yours were shot at F9). The composition of the first shot personally doesn't work for me... they are too centered and I would try to get more at eye level.

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