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Thread: Need help. First time portrait photography opportunity.

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    Need help. First time portrait photography opportunity.

    Hi guys,

    I have been given an opportunity by a mates girlfriend that does a lot of artistic make-up sessions. She has seen some of my other work (Not real portrait type stuff) and has asked me if I would be able to take some photographs of her work. She wants to build up a bit of a portfolio.
    I won't be charging her and she has also said I can leave my watermark on the image if anyone else wanted similar work done in the future.
    I think she is just looking for some nice shots for low cost. I will be passing the images by her for her opinion.

    I haven't done a lot of portrait photography, but I have been interested in furthering my skills in that area.
    I was thinking about using the missus for some practice shots and anyone else who is willing.

    Can anyone give me some pointers on basic equipment, tips(during shooting or post-processing) or ideas.

    My camera and lenses are listed below in my sig. I will be trying to use as much natural light as I can. I have also been thinking of purchasing a 50mm lens for quite a while.

    Thanks so much for any help.

    Cheers,

    Travis
    Cheers, Travis

    D750 | Tamron 90 Macro | Tamron 24-70

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Your sig says you want to get a Tamron 90mm. Get that rather than the 50mm. Macro lenses make brilliant portrait lenses.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    You should also get a couple of flash heads, so you can place them at different angles to get the best lighting.
    They don't have to be very expensive ones, but flashes can make all the difference between an OK shot, and a good one with drama.

    There are many other guys on here with much more experience than I have with portraits, and I'm sure they wil give you some tips.

    Get onto You Tube and search around for tips.
    There's lots of instructional videos about talking good portraits.
    All my photos are taken with recycled pixels.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom, is knowing not to serve it in a fruit salad.

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    Go out and get in some practice in before you do the shoot. See what you need to improve on and make those improvements. Post some of your stuff in the critique section to get an outsiders view and some pointers.

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    Thanks heaps for the quick replies.

    Are flashes too harsh for portraits or do you just space them further from the subject/model for softer lighting?

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    Sorry,

    Is this the sort of thing you are talking about?

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Pro-Studi...ht_2454wt_1139

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    go on ebay you can find a reflector (1m diameter is good), for quite cheap ~$20. Useful to get nice light on the face which would usually be in shadow. I have not used mine extensively, would be good to get and practise on someone before doing the shoot. If you can get a wide aperture lens eg. f/2 or f/1.4 that would be best to use.
    1DIII, 5DII, 15mm fish, 24mm ts-e, 35L,135L,200L,400L,mpe-65mm
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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teylward View Post
    I have been given an opportunity by a mates girlfriend that does a lot of artistic make-up sessions.
    I will be trying to use as much natural light as I can.
    If the makeup is to be the subject of the photograph rather than the entire person then assuming that it will be mostly facial makeup you should be concentrating on filling the frame with the subjects head and not much else intruding into the scene.
    To do this without being "right in the face" of the subject and to also let all available natural light in you need to have some working distance from the subject.
    You say that you want to own a Tamron 90mm and Rick suggested that you get that as a priority.
    I heartily endorse that suggestion, that lens will work perfectly for these shots. It allows you to be away from the subject, it will give great detail to make up, it falls in line with the focal length / field of view of "traditional" portrait lenses and you have a great macro lens to play with as well.
    Using natural light is a good ideal to start on your portrait experiments. It is cheap and combined with a reflector as Fabian suggested will be easier to manage for someone "new" to the genre.

    If you can get somewhere with good levels of light coming into a room ( not direct sunlight blazing through a window preferably ) use that light to fall onto one side and a little of the front of the subjects head / face and then have your assistant ( wife? makeup artist? ) hold the reflector on the opposite side of the face to allow some or all light reflected back to fill the shadows.
    If you are shooting front on to the subject, apertures in the F/4 to F/5.6 range will give you plenty of depth and detail at typical head shot distance with that lens and focus on one eye or right between the eyes, if you you are shooting at a slight angle across the head / face try to keep the aperture around F/8 to have depth through the face / head and focus on the closest eye to the camera. If you want to be a little more creative you can alwways open the aperture up to F/4 or a little more, move in closer and concentrate on one area of the makeup and have the shallow depth of field blur out the rest of the face / head.
    At all those apertures with good light you should be able to stick to fairly low iso levels and to keep the shutter speed at or above 1/160 if hand holding the camera.
    Quote Originally Posted by teylward View Post
    Are flashes too harsh for portraits or do you just space them further from the subject/model for softer lighting?
    No, they aren't too harsh if used correctly with the right diffusers / modifiers.
    With the correct diffusers / modifiers in place you will generally get softer lighting by having the flashes closer to the subject.
    It is a whole different ball game with plenty of learning needed to achieve the right looks.

    Quote Originally Posted by teylward View Post
    Is this the sort of thing you are talking about?
    Travis, at this stage don't go near "those" flashes, save your money, research heaps and work out the best system to suit your preferred shooting style.
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    yep lots of good advice in the posts above. one bit of advice that helped me a lot as a learner was - keep it simple.
    if you've never used flash for portraiture before, dont rush out and buy them now that the shoot is due (so to speak)
    use natural light (something like a window with a white translucent curtain works very well) along with a simple reflector
    the Tamron 90 will be a good lens to use, but the 55-200 will also work just fine
    use apertures as suggested above
    try to learn a few of the more important portraiture posing (of the head) basics - when shooting for a make up artist, using a closed-eyes shot is mandatory / also in commercial shoots, the model usually looks off camera. this is to allow the viewer to connect with the product (make-up) rather than the model etc etc
    Successful People Make Adjustments - Evander Holyfield

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    Thanks heaps Andrew and others. Might try get some practice with the missus this weekend, then think about getting a reflector and the Tamron lens that has been calling my name.

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    Member littleblightie's Avatar
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    Look around for websites that give brief tutorials, things like Strobist will be great help... Find photos that you like, and try to de-construct the lighting, work out why it looks so good.

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