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First Engagement Shoot
Posted By: Sarahbell, 10-23-2009, 02:52 PM

Here are a couple from my first engagement session. Let me know what you think!



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10-23-2009, 04:07 PM   #2
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I think that these look neat Sarah! I like your vision and if you keep this up you will be busy. It looks like you have a talent for this kind of work. I think you need to think "Romantic" to do what you have done with these.
10-24-2009, 10:22 AM   #3
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Thank you very much Jim. I certainly love photogrpahy. I must say though that working full time, being a single mom, and doing this on weekends is tough!! It's only been a month that Iv'e really been doing it consistently, but w/ work, shooting, and editing, it's like over 60hrs I put in a week.... I know it's the only way my dream will become a reality though... Maybe one day I can quit the day job!!!!
10-24-2009, 10:30 AM   #4
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#1 is sweet - I like it a lot. I would crop out some of the sky, as the brightness is distracting to me. Also the top of her head looks blown out.

#2 is too backlit, and the man's face is mostly hidden. The blown highlights draw the eye away from the subjects. The lady's hands and legs are chopped off awkwardly, IMO.

In both pics, there's a lack of shadow detail.

I'm assuming th elack of detail in the photos is because you had to use a lot of compression to get them up on the forum...

10-24-2009, 10:34 AM   #5
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A few constructive criticisms if you don't mind. First shot, the fill light is a bit harsh. You might want to look into some (or some more) diffusion on your flash. Are you using the onboard?

Second, and one of the most important things (imho) that you need to look at in your subjects is their hands. It's the dead give-away in these shots that the man isn't comfortable. His hand in his pocket in the first shot means he doesn't know what else to do with it. The clenched fist in the second one suggests the same, or some nerves. As a photographer you are not much different from a film director sometimes. I have experience as a videographer and film director, and a lot of times the people in front of the lens look to you for direction and feed off your confidence. Starting out is tough, but you need to come off like you know what you're doing, put your subjects at ease and let them be themselves.

They're nice shots, it's a great start. Keep at it!
10-24-2009, 11:08 AM   #6
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Flipp, thank you for your C&C. I do think I should crop down some of the sky in the first one. Also, you're right about the background int he second beinh too backlit. I burned it a little nbit, but it still seemed too bright. I'll work on that. and maybe the upload compressed the detail in the shadows. Not sure. I know they do look better on mine. Thanks again!
10-24-2009, 11:16 AM   #7
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D. Bradley, Thank you also for your opinion. I was using an off cameraflash. 540fgz, but it was pointed directly at them and was "naked" so to speak. I don't have a difuser yet. I know I need one bad! I will get back on PS and see if I can't make the fill flash look a little less harsh.

I never noticed their hands. That is a good point for me to pay attention to on my next shoot. Thanks again!
10-24-2009, 12:12 PM   #8
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you don't necessarily need a diffuser for outdoor photography. Research your needs before making purchases. Both images can be improved in Post processing although an off-camera light source (umbrella maybe) would have been the ticket here.

These images are not perfect but they are good enough that you can make significant improvements using photoshop so try re-working these. I had a shoot like this once where the lighting was just a bit off with almost every picture. I re-worked the images probably a dozen times over several months until I was reasonably happy with them. That processes of over-analyzing 1 or 2 images can be a great learning experience itself.

And before you get too far with your processing make sure your monitor is calibrated.

Here's the info from Stofen on how a Diffuser works

edit - I should add that most clients are not nearly as picky as we are and the images are definitely good enough that I'm sure your clients were quite happy - so congratulations on your first engagement shoot

10-24-2009, 01:12 PM   #9
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The critique so far on your couple of images is good, Sarah.
Kunik's description of the Stofen needs the information that the soft lighting effect only works if you're shooting in a room with reflective walls. Out in the open it only serves to block light intensity and not provide any light softening effect (just like a naked light-bulb would without walls to reflect its light off), which just chews up your battery power for no gain.

What may work better is something like this: LumiQuest® Photographic Accessories | Quik Bounce which softens the light slightly even outdoors. I don't have one of these and can't vouch for its efficacy, but it would certainly cut out the harsh shadowing from direct flash significantly.
10-24-2009, 01:21 PM   #10
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Kunik, thank you for reviewing these and your c&c! I will look up that link w/ diffuser info. I know I really need one. I've heard the Gary Fong ones are really good. and, yes, so far the couple is thrilled w/ what I've shown them so far. I have a facebook account for my photography and she's stolen what I posted so far and used them as her profile pics. (which is fine w/ me. I've been paid). and I've looked at the comments her friends and family have left on them and they're all good. But of course there is ALWAYS room for improvement!

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