Portraiture - Tips and Tricks?

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So i want to, ultimately, go into family/party/wedding photography - i know, so cliché.
I have a party to shoot on August 3rd, and need some tips and tricks?
Here are a few photos i took from my sisters party a few weeks back.
I'm using the 100mm L Canon Series, seems to be doing alright.
These are without an external flash, but im going to be getting the 430 EX II soon (fingers crossed).

$1.jpg

$2.jpg

$3.jpg

$4.jpg
 

tirediron

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"Tips and tricks" don't get you by in business. Solid skills and lots of practice and a thorough understanding of technique do. A few suggestions: Watch your point of focus. In the first one, the point of focus appears to be on the ball, the side of which is tack-sharp and NOT the eyes (which is where it should be) which appear just slightly soft. Portrait work is best done, IMO, with a single focusing point placed over/between the eyes, and using sufficient DoF to ensure that the "front" of the face is sharp. Suggestion #2: Just because your lens opens to f2.8, doesn't mean you should use it at 2.8. In image #2, the DoF is so thin that the sleeve cuffs are sharp, but the sharpness falls off rapidly toward the face. Suggestion #3: Use appropriate shutter speeds! 1/30 second with a 100mm lens is probably not a good option. Suggestion #4: Work on composition and be cognizant of the background elements in your image. In the case of #4, the slide, which cuts right through her head provides a strong diagonal element which draws the eye away from the subject. Watch your exposure and avoid blown highlights in/on/around the subject such as the dress in #4.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to go into the family portraiture business, just make sure that you the skills, both business and photographic to support yourself with. You've got some decent images here, but IMO, you've a ways to go before you're going to be turning in a product that someone is willing to pay for. On the plus side, this is the digital age; film is cheap. Get out there and practice, practice, PRACTICE - then post here for critique. It's a great way to laern!
 

Derrel

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I typed out a nice C&C, then lost it to the ether! Dangit, I hate when that happens.

1) Shoulda' been a tall. Way too much top space.

2)Again, far too much top space. Vertical might have been better.

3) I get this one. Okay, not too bad

4)Girls and wavy slide: she's too far to the right, causing visual tension. Maybe move her back, to the slide, and place her right hand on the slide railing? One step over for her, and that annoying background 'thing' disappears. If she were moved back and to the slide, it would be an entirely different kind of picture; she would be "interacting with" the playground equipment. As shown, she is a girl, in a play area. Good job on not cropping off her feet.

Your technical values, like exposure, B&W conversion, and so on, seem good. A book on portraiture or photographing kids and families would probably help you better learn some of the basic concepts about how people expect people to be posed and photographed. A lot of photographic 'secrets' are not found on-line in many places.
 

cgipson1

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Might want to study basic composition... looks you have the basic technical skills down very well...
 

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