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07-11-2012, 10:39 AM   #1
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Background advice?

Hi everyone. My first post here but I have been reading up for weeks and gained a lot of helpful hints. Been playing with my Pentax K-r for about 6 months now and would like a bit of background advice for my idea.

I've got 2 girls and am divorced. Want to get rid of my wedding dress but a friend suggested my girls (7 & 10) doing a session in it first. I have an antique trunk. My mom managed to get her wedding dress, my grandma's and my great-grandma's dresses too so I have a total of 4. I want to capture a "playing dress-up" session with them.

I'd really like to do this outside but am having trouble thinking up a good background. In front of an old barn? In front of a wooden privacy fence? In front of a clothesline with white clothes pegged on the line? Not sure what would be best for this?

Another idea was a wooden staircase inside, looking as if they dragged the trunk down from the attic with stuff spilled out on the steps. But I don't know anyone who has a wooden staircase (we just relocated to a new town) so might not be able to go that way.

Do you have creative ideas I could try? I won't limit myself to 1 background, I can move around

Thanks in advance. I hope to be able to contribute to these forums after I gain more experience.

07-11-2012, 11:02 AM   #2
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Welcome Aboard! Other than the camera, what equipment do you own?
07-11-2012, 11:05 AM   #3
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A location with many different backgrounds would make your life easier. For example, if that barn has a nice grassy field next to it, you can do morning shots in the grassy field (for that halo-look), shots in the barn around noon, and shots outside of the barn in the afternoon.

And if there's other things around (lake, forest, town road, hamsters), that's a nice bonus. I imagine it's a little hard to give specific advice without knowing your area.
07-11-2012, 01:00 PM   #4
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how about a big tree with a swing and 1 is pushing the other in the dresses...surrounded by flowers..i could come up with lots of ideas but as already been said we don't know what is around you

07-11-2012, 01:08 PM   #5
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Thanks! I should've realized that when I first posted that of course you don't know where I live.

I was just trying to think of scenarios where this idea would fit in and try to find a location based on what might look good. For some reason, this idea really stumps me.

Pretty rural area up North, old buildings, lots of farming, some lakes, no forests (as we live on the prairie), a golf course, river, bonanza farm.

I really like the idea of a swing, I am going to see if I can meet any neighbors that might have a tree swing. I also like the halo idea of early morning. My kids are going to hate me when I make this an all-day event
07-11-2012, 01:18 PM   #6
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Hi and welcome little Aussie. Having access to vast spaces of farmland makes for a simple yet effective backdrop to a country themed portrait. But your own ideas are just as good.
07-11-2012, 03:27 PM   #7
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Consider making one of your pictures a silhoutte: I saw this at a website-
Unique Design Studio Photography

Also, I don't know about your kids, since they are girls they make get into the spirit of the thing. If not, you better shoot at fast speeds. Choose a high enough shutter speed as they are unlikely to be sitting still/restless. Since you will be in some of the shots too, consider using a tripod and remote.

Last edited by psychdoc; 11-14-2015 at 03:37 PM.
07-11-2012, 04:59 PM   #8
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Toys In The Attic?

Hello Littleaussie, Welcome to the Pentax Forum!
The first location that came to mind when you desctibed the idea was an attic. Do you have one? If so, old boxes and trunks, perhaps a mirror with both the subject and reflection on the frame, soft window light, etc.
Another idea is their bedroom; That seems like a natural place for trying on clothes.
This type of shot seems like a natural for B + W conversion.
Just some more ideas!

07-12-2012, 07:01 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I like the attic idea and a big plus on the B&W conversion.

Can't think of anything else that hasn't already been suggested, but some folks around here like to go to a local state park type place and get wedding shots on the pier out over the lake. If you can find an old covered walk bridge, that would be a good idea too. I also like the barn idea.

Look around and use your imagination. Take a ride on a bicycle. You'll be very surprised how much more you see on a bike, because you have more time to notice it. I'll bet you find some likely spots that have been there all along, you just never noticed before because you were going too fast to look around.
07-14-2012, 06:50 AM   #10
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lets see the results when your done!
07-14-2012, 11:31 AM   #11
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psychdoc - thanks for sharing that picture, whatever the source - cool.

as to the OP, i've seen a coupla neat wedding type pics in front of an old brick building, but i suppose any wall that has contrast with white will work just as well.
07-14-2012, 06:36 PM   #12

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Guess I lack imagination, but the dresses outside just seems a little hard to understand to me. I like the attic, or a "bedroom" scene, maybe a mirror, dresser, etc, against a painted or wallpapered wall. Depending on the space available to you, lighting may be a problem, though. And learn from my experience - light refected from a colored surface colors whatever it hits.
Consider asking your girls for ideas - you might be surprised.
Good luck.
07-18-2012, 11:58 AM   #13
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Wow, all the ideas you have given me! I have a basement that can lend itself to an attic scene plus the old trunks and boxes can create the atmosphere. I will have to figure out how to increase the light down there, the windows are too small and dinky to give me much light. I also didn't think of the bedroom but that idea is worth exploring.

B & W conversion will definitely be on my list of 'to do'.

And thanks psychdoc, I love that photo idea. Going to give it a shot. I had a mirror in mind too. I think I will create a few scenes/dry run it before my kids come home from their summer break to see what would work.

jford - I have a hard time with the outside thing too, but I guess I just am an outdoors person and I wanted to see if I could try to make it work. Thanks for the tip on light and colored surfaces, I will put it in my little 'book of tips', which is getting quite extensive due to my readings on here.

I will post pics.

Thanks for all your suggestions. You have given me a lot to work with. Now I have to hurry up and decorate/explore before we do it.
07-18-2012, 12:32 PM   #14
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Can't really add more to the background ideas but here's a thought. You have 4 dresses from your wedding all the way to great grandma's. Although you may be divorced one (or both) of your daughter's may want to be married in it. After all it was the dress you wore when you married their dad. (Assumption being made here of course)
08-27-2012, 08:35 AM   #15
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First attempt

I took my youngest out for the 1st attempt. I did not have good luck inside my house at all. The lighting was all wrong, they came out yellow with the overhead lights!! I might try a room at the other side of my house next time, lighting might be better.

I still am not happy with the shadows on her face. I tried to fix it post-production but am still not satisfied with the results.

I must admit, it was a very good lesson for me, in exposure, both inside and out. My daughter was very patient as I adjusted the settings on my camera and snapped away. She really got into it. Inside, I discovered that we did best with her attempting to play dress up. Outside, we did better with more formal poses, like she really was a bride and it was her wedding day. Know what I mean by this? They both gave a different perspective, but both were a lot of fun. I'm going to attempt a few more times, I have a willing model. It will be fun to frame these and have them displayed on her wedding day.

Thanks again for all your help. I admit, I am a bit embarrassed with posting these, as I am still new and still learning.

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