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10-01-2010, 01:43 PM   #1
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Maybe I should stick with nature pics

My friend is having a baby any time now, so for them, and for practice for me, I volunteered to do them some maternity pics. Maybe I'm over critical of my work, but I wasn't horribly happy with them. I think I just lack the skill needed to direct people to get what's needed for great people pics. Here are a few samples. Please feel free to leave comments. I can only learn from C&C.

1. They want them done as Black & white. I'm not a big B&W fan, but this is one of my attempts at converting. I'll be giving them all the files on a disk. Colored PP & B&W for them to do as they wish.


2. I've seen lots of back lighted maternity pics, and liked them. This was my attempt. Not what I had hoped for.


3. I think my favorite out of the bunch that I did.


4. They've got a small house, and it was hard to get pics without clutter. We were gong to go outside, but it started raining. (of course) Later the sun came out, and I got them to meet me at my Dad's house, so we did get a few outdoor ones.




10-01-2010, 02:50 PM   #2
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Hi
I think itīs not an easy task, Iīd do RAW and try a little high ISO instead of flash.
Anyway Itīs not so bad, new born pictures will always look great for them!
10-01-2010, 03:53 PM   #3
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The first shot looks underexposed, which can easily be fixed in post.

But I think you are way, WAY underselling yourself.

These shots are WONDERFUL!!! Why the hell do you think they're not?

I'm not the type to dole out huge compliments for the hell of it, but these pics deserve it.

And the last shot is fascinating on a million levels:

He looks like he's thinking about getting a second job to pay for the kid's college!!!
10-01-2010, 05:18 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
The first shot looks underexposed, which can easily be fixed in post.

But I think you are way, WAY underselling yourself.

These shots are WONDERFUL!!! Why the hell do you think they're not?

I'm not the type to dole out huge compliments for the hell of it, but these pics deserve it.

And the last shot is fascinating on a million levels:

He looks like he's thinking about getting a second job to pay for the kid's college!!!
Thanks for the comments. I guess it's possible that I'm just to over critical of my own work. (Everyone tells me I am) These were shot in RAW, so the exposure can easily be fixed on the first one. I don't think it was that bad originally. Maybe the B&W conversion did it.

I LOVE your last comment... "He looks like he's thinking about getting a second job to pay for the kid's college!!!" I didn't even think of that till you mentioned it. You are so right on that one.

10-01-2010, 05:39 PM   #5
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QuoteQuote:
I LOVE your last comment... "He looks like he's thinking about getting a second job to pay for the kid's college!!!" I didn't even think of that till you mentioned it. You are so right on that one.
You can tell - he's fingering the last 3 cents in his pocket.
10-01-2010, 05:44 PM   #6
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Tighter crops, except for the third one, would help a lot. Shots outside are exposed quite well, but they look too posed. Have them do something. As long as they are the same distance from the lens, shoot in AV and a low f-stop. Keep the background distant, such as in $4, for less clutter and more bokeh isolation.
For backlighting, try strong backlighting and fill with flash, setting the flash to underexpose and bracket at progressive minus setting, then choose the best in PP.
10-01-2010, 06:09 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
Tighter crops, except for the third one, would help a lot. Shots outside are exposed quite well, but they look too posed. Have them do something. As long as they are the same distance from the lens, shoot in AV and a low f-stop. Keep the background distant, such as in $4, for less clutter and more bokeh isolation.
For backlighting, try strong backlighting and fill with flash, setting the flash to underexpose and bracket at progressive minus setting, then choose the best in PP.
Thanks for the comments. I like to keep the crops not so tight, that way if they print at a different ratio, then it leaves room for them to play with, but I do know where your coming from. Definitely a excellent point. I was shooting AV mode for the outdoor ones. My flash is an older flash, so I don't think I can bracket the flash. (correct me if I'm mistaken) I was also shooting with Takumar lenses, so I'm not sure if that makes a difference or not for the flash bracketing.
10-01-2010, 08:08 PM   #8
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Nobody is a good judge of their own work. Except for the few who overvalue their pics, most of us undervalue our photos. These show promise. Nobody is good at people shots without practice. Keep at it. You'll get there.

10-01-2010, 08:27 PM   #9
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Okay I'm going to be the bad guy here and say it like I see it.
The first thing is the setting(background). As it is, it really gives a feel of being in a home, wich isn't bad per say but its not setting the mood(or a mood) that compliments expecting a baby.

On this side of things(mood or ambiance) I find direct sunlight works, it helps set a glow on the subjects. But it most often requires bouncing it first(a large reflector works quite nicely). Your second image has some radiance to it(and that's a good thing), and I think that image has potential. Though the subject FOV is somewhat fleeting and sort of falls short. ie. her face is turned just a little to much, and so it seems to put emphasis on what she might be looking at. However... there is no indication as to what she's looking at. It leaves me(personally that is) wondering what she's looking at. Also... the tummy is exposed, but it doesn't seem natural. Perhaps its the rolled-up shirt or the lack of something that people who are expecting of have received would relate too. ie. she might of been better off putting her hands on her tummy(on the top), or perhaps rubbing it like expecting mothers often do. Have you considered vitamin E oil? dads love rubbing that on there wives tummy's. (just some ideas). Whatever the case, think maternity, and try to capture emotions from the mom or couple that relate to that particular event.

The second thing I see here is where the other subject poses are just okay. I mean... they are okay in the sense that there not bad. But... they the expressions are just okay. ie. happy couple. Which isn't bad, however expression between the couple(such as in the first image), might be far more engaging if there was a way to unify the pregnancy and the parents expression in one single frame.

One way of accomplishing this, may be with the use of longer focal length(longer glass) to compress the scene) and choosing a lower(under the belly shot) to frame the couple and the tummy together. Thus focusing on the expression(between them) and capturing the tummy in the DOF region. This of course is just an idea, but it really helps if you get a good eyecup and literally move around the room at different angles to experiment with framing.

ie. when my wife works with freestyle portraits( as we like to call them), she usually engages in conversations with the subjects. It helps them relax and draws natural emotions form them. The best topics(in cases such as these) are usually made up of romantic questions about each other(such as; where did you meet, what was it like, what do you like most about each other etc etc.) all of which will invoke emotion and... 9 times out of 10 will result in turning there attention to each other when they convey there feelings. I consider blushing and tender embarrassment, to be key frames in shoots such as these.

One other tips I picked-up from my wife when shooting people is to learn a routine of shooting angles and poses from which to work with. It really helps you as a photographer and the people you're working with(confidence) if you have a classic set of poses to follow through on. This way, if all else fails(and if often happens at first), you can walk off with a determined set of shots. However, as you refine your eye and skills, you will see less and less of your classics and more and more new ideas coming into your sets. which is what I'd like to call, a good sign.

There is obviously much much more to talk about on the issue of cleaning up etc. But for what it's worth, I think you'd be better off working at the photo level first and foremost than pushing for post processing. Not that there's anything wrong with editing. It's just far more beneficial to get the photographic skills down first.

Hope this helps.
And I hope I didn't come across as rude or condescending because that certainly wasn't my intent.

Take care, and keep sharing your image!

Last edited by JohnBee; 10-01-2010 at 08:36 PM.
10-01-2010, 08:52 PM   #10
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I don't know about your older flash unit, but there must be a way to control the amount of fill to provide just enough detail on the dark side while maintaining the halo effect of the backlighting. Be sure to use a diffuser. Flash isn't the only way. I've used all kinds of light sources, including a full-length mirror set up behind the camera. It's all about the light, so play with it.
For crops, use the standard 8X10 paramaters. Printers can go up or down from there without much trouble. You do want to leave a little room, not not a lot, otherwise it looks like a snapshot.
Like the previous poster, be assured I'm only trying to help.
10-02-2010, 04:14 AM   #11
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Portrait type shoots are often hard. The most important thing, as John Bee said, is to get people to relax. If you can get them to interact with each other as though you aren't there, you can get some great candid shots. I, frankly, am terrible at it, but my wife is great. She sometimes lets me come along and hold the reflector.

Preparation helps considerably. Look at tons of photos on the net for different posing ideas, looks. Even print thumbnails of them on a sheet of paper to take with you. Don't be afraid to get in tight.

I think you are doing well. Keep working on it and you will be more satisfied as time goes by.
10-02-2010, 05:22 AM   #12
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I definitely appreciated all the comments so far, and have not taken any offense to any of them. It is reassuring that they are not as bad as I had thought. I think I was mostly discouraged with the indoor shots, as space was limited / cluttered, and there just wasn't any room to move around to get different angles. (as was mentioned by JohnBee) The lighting ideas are great, as I didn't think at the time of reflectors. My flash was through an umbrella, so that helps, but getting the light stand into better locations was again difficult because of space restrains. Maybe my next shooting (if there is one), will be better, for more than one reason. Thanks again, I always appreciate the input from everyone on the Pentax forum.
10-02-2010, 07:04 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by eccs19 Quote
I definitely appreciated all the comments so far, and have not taken any offense to any of them. It is reassuring that they are not as bad as I had thought. I think I was mostly discouraged with the indoor shots, as space was limited / cluttered, and there just wasn't any room to move around to get different angles. (as was mentioned by JohnBee) The lighting ideas are great, as I didn't think at the time of reflectors. My flash was through an umbrella, so that helps, but getting the light stand into better locations was again difficult because of space restrains. Maybe my next shooting (if there is one), will be better, for more than one reason. Thanks again, I always appreciate the input from everyone on the Pentax forum.
Here a few ideas I grabbed of a stock image CD(might be useful to help generate some of your own):









The second to last wasn't really relevant, but I thought it was an interesting composition
10-03-2010, 01:57 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
The second to last wasn't really relevant, but I thought it was an interesting composition
She looks pissed.
10-03-2010, 08:18 PM   #15
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lol She looks like she knows she's about to be supplanted as the baby of the family! ^

I love the stock images, good way to get some ideas for shots!
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