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Thread: I've agreed to something I'm not sure I can do...

  1. #1
    Member BecdS's Avatar
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    I've agreed to something I'm not sure I can do...

    I received an out-of-the-blue phone call this morning from a member of my family. Her daughter (eldest of 5) is making her debut in the middle of September. Amongst the conversation, she dropped that I had offered at some point in the past to take "THE" portraits of her daughter, and that she would like me to. I am at an absolute loss to remember when I made this offer, and what I must have been thinking, since I'm very well aware that something like this is way beyond my ability. However, being the "yes man" I always am, I said "of course!", without thinking.

    Now that I've had a couple of hours to think it over, I'm more and more mortified thinking of what I have gotten myself into. Not only are these portraits that the girl will want to look back on her whole life, but they will need to be taken at night time. Her mother suggested a friends indoor garden / greenhouse.

    I think she thinks that because I have a "fancy" camera (said DSLR) and I've spent a fair amount of time in the past taking pictures, that I'm some kind of pro, but I'm most definitely not! I also think that they are very tight for money, since there are 5 kids.

    What would you do in this situation? It's unpaid, so completely a love-service. I've been quite close to her (the mother) for much of my life, but drifted away in the last few years. I was completely stupid to say yes in the first place. Would you pull up your socks and try to step up to the challenge? Make an excuse to get out of it? Pay for a professional yourself? Something else?

    Signed,
    Big ol' dummy


    I very much welcome and appreciate your feedback and constructive criticism!

    If you would like to edit any image I post here, please feel free to do so! I would love to see what you can come up with and learn your method.

  2. #2
    Sunrise Chaser
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    Do it !! Get a good external flash and start practicing , Always a good way to learn, Thrown in the deep end Dont forget your not getting paid , And I'm quite sure there will be others taking shots with P&S's
    Canon : 30D, and sometimes the 5D mkIII , Sigma 10-20, 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105 f4 L , On loan Sigma 120-400 DG and Canon 17 - 40 f4 L , Cokin Filters




  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    Do it !!
    LOL!! Absolutely not the answer I was expecting

    Quote Originally Posted by William View Post
    Get a good external flash and start practicing
    I see that one of your cameras is the same as mine - 350D. Do you have any recommendations for a good external flash? I've been toying with the idea of getting a nifty fifty for a while. Do you think it would be a useful lens in this situation?

  4. #4
    Sunrise Chaser
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    Not the 50mm 1.8 , I'd rather use the 18-55 or 18-200 , Better still the 24-105 f4 , But it's broken I bought (Short of money) Marumi D728AF Dedicated for Canon Flash $200 for an indoor Wedding I had to do , Worked a treat

  5. #5
    Drifter, Racer and Picture Taker
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    The best way to learn is to do it!
    Hopefully, you'll have lots of time to take lots of pics, and if you take enough, and are careful about the focus and exposure, you're sure to get a few that will be good.
    And a few is all you need.

    You will need a decent flash, but you don't have to spend a lot on a flash, as there are some very good ones for just over the $100 mark on the web that work perfectly with your Canon.

    Start taking the shots using full auto.
    I know that sounds bad from an enthusiast, but you'll find that flash shots come out quite well just using auto.
    After you've taken a few, and had a good look at them through the rear screen, then you can start playing around with settings to get them perfect.
    If the ceiling is white, try bouncing the flash off the roof, or the side walls for different effects.

    Where you may need to do some work is in the PP.
    You can get yourself a copy of a program called Portrait Professional, and it is so easy to use and gives great results to fix up skin blemishes, wrinkles and even freckles, and its a program you'll use often if you take photos of women's faces.
    Make sure the lady is looking at her best too, with good make-up and hair styling, and wearing clothes she looks good in and feels good in too.

    You'll be nervous at first, but you'll settle into it pretty quickly and try to keep the banter light hearted.
    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.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennymiata View Post
    You will need a decent flash, but you don't have to spend a lot on a flash, as there are some very good ones for just over the $100 mark on the web that work perfectly with your Canon.
    Thanks so much for your advice! Do you have any specific suggestions for a decent flash?

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    You may not need a flash so dont stress........find out what time the do starts..they usually start at 7pm but they get organised at 6-6:30ish....You will have the lovely light just before that and after the hair and makeup is done.......when is the hair and makeup being done?.......what time the partner is available?........scout around for somewhere different to use as a backdrop. Avoid THE GARDEN like the plague...and NOT a greenhouse! The makeup will run and you will get all hot and muddled...the light will probably be pretty ordinary....and spotty and with green casts.......look for something plain.....brick wall, tin shed no patterns......I love Debs........the kids just have fun.....so get the stand next to parent stuff done......and then get the kids to really wind it up!.....think funky not granny and she will be your friend for life!
    cheers
    Jan

  8. #8
    Member shakes's Avatar
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    another vote for do it!

    I would make your family member aware that they may not be happy with results and to not expect anything better than "happy snaps" Spend a heap of time researching around the forum on the range of settings you should be using for your situation, write them down. Shoot across the range in RAW, fill up your memory card and you should end up with something your happy with.

  9. #9
    Drifter, Racer and Picture Taker
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    I have a Nissin Di 466, which cost me around $120 landed, and it works really well with my Canon 60D.
    There are also the Yongu (?) flashes that are quite good too.
    I like the Nissin as it also works as a slave, so when you pop up your built-in flash, the Nissin goes of too.
    When mounted on the camera, the Nissin works just like any other Canon flash, but at a fraction of the cost.

    I also have a Canon 580EXII, which works well too, but the Nissin is almost as good.

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    a relector may be more useful than flash ( and cheaper )
    Darren
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    Constructive Critique of my images always appreciated

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricstew View Post
    Think funky not granny and she will be your friend for life!
    cheers
    Jan
    I agree with Jan, Try thinking outside the norm. Funky and unusual poses will be looked back on, remembered and enjoyed (even laughed about) for years to come. It may even hide any quality issues that YOU notice....If you get what i mean

    Good luck and keep us posted

    Wayne.




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    My only advice is to stop posting and start shooting. The more practice you get the better, time behind the shutter is what you need. Having good gear is only a small part of taking good portraits. I've heard stories of professionals using just a basic DSLR and some cheap work lights from super cheap for lighting.

  13. #13
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    For the flash, have a look for a Yong Nuo on ebay, I have one and it is great. They can act as a linked TTL flash on a Canon, although with the Blad I use it on manual. Take white or silver stuff ir better yet buy a 2 sided reflector on ebay too - not expensive.
    Last edited by Analog6; 26-08-2011 at 6:33pm.
    Odille

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    Member neil70's Avatar
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    if you want a flash and/or reflector have a look at protog (site sponsor) they have a lot at good prices (most cheaper then flebay).

    another vote for photo professional. s some one who hates doing pp it was a dream to use and the results were good.

    have fun and enjoy the experience and try different shots. you will surprise yourself.
    Canon 6d, 7d , 40d, 100-400L, 24-105Lmm, 50mm 1.8, 28-135 and a sigma 18-200
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    A. P's Culinary Indiscriminant mongo's Avatar
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    What William and Kiwi said and also get some help if you can find it on the day.
    Last edited by mongo; 26-08-2011 at 9:05pm.
    Nikon and Pentax user



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    Another vote for Yongnuo. Cheap and amazing little workhorses.

    Car sun shades make cheap reflectors.

    To give you some ideas for poses etc.. do a search online or grab a copy of a fashion magazine.

    Then find someone or something and practice.

  17. #17
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    Thanks very much everyone, for all of your advice!

    I have visited the family, looked at a few different locations, took some photographs and organised white and natural'ish coloured backdrops. With just a week to go, I might be cutting it fine, but I'm wondering if I might need some kind of flash setup. She won't be ready for photos until 5pm and the shots on the weekend were dark. Considering that I'm a super beginner, would it be advantageous to me to get a flash kit? I noticed the pictures turned out quite soft despite having the loan of a very sharp lens, so the fault can only be mine. Granted a tripod will help on my side, but I can't guarantee that she will be able to sit and stand entirely still for a slower shutter speed.

    If I may, could I please call upon your advice again? These are the kits that I've been considering, but I will definitely need to do something in the next day or so for it to be here in time. I currently have an old (from film days) hot shoe flash that I don't think has any way of being fired remotely. I have been wondering what would happen if I set a long shutter speed and fired the flash myself. I haven't tested this yet.

    http://protog.com.au/yn460ii-flash-w...kit-p-296.html

    http://protog.com.au/yn467-speedlite...non-p-208.html

    http://protog.com.au/yn560-flash-wir...lla-p-205.html
    Last edited by BecdS; 11-09-2011 at 7:11pm.

  18. #18
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    Buy the look of things the last one you have listed seems pretty good value
    not sure about the quality.

  19. #19
    Drifter, Racer and Picture Taker
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    Unless you are wanting to do full length shots at a distance, I doubt that you'll need that much kit, and it's a real chore to carry it around too.
    Just get a speedlight (cheap one) and perhaps a clip-on diffuser.

  20. #20
    Member KeeFy's Avatar
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    The thing about on shoe flash is that it makes the subject flat. Invest in the wireless trigger so that you can move your flash around, coupled with the shoot through brollie, diffuser, bounce card etc. You should be able to get some nice shots from about a 45" angle (very basic rule). Also remember that the "preferred" focal length is about 70- 140mm as it keeps perspective. Do factor in the crop factor of 1.6 So essentially 45mm - about 85mm lens selection for a tight shot.

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