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05-24-2019, 05:42 PM   #1
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Need some prom photo tips....

So my nephew asked if I could grab some shots of his group before his prom for him.

I have done some sports photography with mu K3-II, but doing portraits is kind of new, and I don't want to mess up the settings.

Any suggestions on shooting some basic portraits photos, they will be outside, around 5:30pm. I told him to find a spot where the sun will be behind my back, because I am not that confident in using fill flash.

My camera is the K3II, for lenses I have a FA 71mm f1.8, FA 43mm f1.8, and a FA 24mm f2. I have a few zooms and longer telephotos that I don't think would be great for this use. I also have a AF360GZII and a portable grey card I have tried using few times, but its hasn't seemed to work out.

I know the photography basics from the film days, but all the settings on k3-II do trip me up more than I'd like to admit.

Any hints on setting up the iso and camera settings and maybe using the flash would be appreciated.

05-24-2019, 05:53 PM   #2
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Even on a crop camera, the FA 43/1.9 Limited will be perfect for the job if you have room to move back. For a bigger group, the FA* 24/2.0 might do nicely too, but even on crop I'd be careful of having anyone too near the edge of the frame.

Depending on the size of the group you will probably want to stop down a bit, so be mindful of your background. Fill flash is one effective way of improving subject isolation, so do not discount it outright.

I would aim for a location with gentler light than sun-in-face like you seem to be describing. Having your subjects squinting into the sun will not bring out their best
05-24-2019, 06:03 PM   #3
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My humble amateur opinion:

QuoteOriginally posted by mapguy Quote
around 5:30pm.
Without pin-point disclosure = are you in a time zone where the Sun at this time of year goes down at 8pm, or lower? = you might have golden hour difficulty/blessing.

QuoteOriginally posted by mapguy Quote
FA 71mm f1.8, FA 43mm f1.8,
While I've never shot either of these - I'd go with them for their focal lenght and primes.

I'd go with these at about f2.8-3.2 to give them a nice DOF while maintaining a workable space... group? then maybe f4 solos? could do f2.8

Choose your background yourself!- this will make/break you. Some full nice green under falling sunlight is nice - no buildings or half nature/half infrastructure = too busy. Background is IMHO the most important thing to a nice portrait as the play with foreground and background/bokeh can enhance or mes a photograph.

As to ISO/Camera settings - I cannot comment - Myself, I'd play it by ear, trying to keep lower ISO as possible since my subjects are holding steady (portrait). Also, I mostly work fully manual, so I do not know how to take full advantage of my camera - BUT I think you could bracket some shots as your subjects are steady...

Happy shooting.
05-24-2019, 06:49 PM   #4
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Any suggestions on what exposure mode; ie spot or matrix?

Same thing with the AF, spot or matrix?

---------- Post added 05-24-19 at 06:50 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by edom31 Quote
Without pin-point disclosure = are you in a time zone where the Sun at this time of year goes down at 8pm, or lower? = you might have golden hour difficulty/blessing.
Thanks for the tip regarding the background.

I'm on the east coast, what is "golden hour difficulty/blessing"?

---------- Post added 05-24-19 at 06:53 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
Even on a crop camera, the FA 43/1.9 Limited will be perfect for the job if you have room to move back. For a bigger group, the FA* 24/2.0 might do nicely too, but even on crop I'd be careful of having anyone too near the edge of the frame.

Depending on the size of the group you will probably want to stop down a bit, so be mindful of your background. Fill flash is one effective way of improving subject isolation, so do not discount it outright.

I would aim for a location with gentler light than sun-in-face like you seem to be describing. Having your subjects squinting into the sun will not bring out their best
Thanks for the tips, I will have to play with using fill flash in a less bright setting, it makes sense to not have them staring a bright sun.

Thats when I don't have as much faith in my skills.

05-24-2019, 07:48 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by mapguy Quote
I'm on the east coast, what is "golden hour difficulty/blessing"?
The time of day when the sun sets, very yellow - great for somethings, bad for others, specially with a direct sunset.

Spot or matrix - read on Bracket exposure - this can help you a lot.... it could be spot if bracketing...
05-25-2019, 01:36 AM   #6
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I'm in Michigan. At this time of the year, especially with DST, around 5:30pm the sun is still pretty high. Actual sunset around here where the terrain is generally flat is about 9pm. Times for sun position run about 40 minutes or so later on the east coast by comparison, even though we are in the same time zone. But the sun should still be at an angle quite well up at 5:30pm. I would not expect a great degree of yellowing effects at that time of day now.

By all means use fill flash, even if conditions are bright. In bright daylight red eye should not be an issue. The flash's auto exposure system will regulate its output according to the brightness, so in bright daylight it will tend to back itself down, so do a test shot to see. You can turn up relative output by using the flash exposure comp setting. The fill flash will to some degree open up shadows within the face as cast by lighting angles, even more important if a hat is worn. It also can put catchlight in the eyes.

As to the distance, it will depend on how many will be in a group shot.

You say you have a few zoom lenses. Which are these? For such events, like graduation group shots, etc, I have used a superzoom with great success. Like my DA 18-135mm lens. Then you can quickly adjust for various framing to include just one or two subjects or the entire group. If the background is at some distance, it will still be easy to render some blur even at f/4.5 or so. Shoot in Av mode. In bright daylight it will be easy to attain plenty of shutter speed to deal with live subjects. As to how much blur is desirable depends on the background. Sometimes for such occasions, the background, depending on what it is, can be important for context. It should be an easy shoot. Have fun.

Matrix metering for exposure should be fine. The only thing to be careful of is an overly bright background such as a body of shining water or bright sand that could render your subjects darker- then your fill flash will be yet more important. As to AF, I would use spot, then train AF on a central figure's eye, then hold that focus while composing the shot.

Last edited by mikesbike; 05-25-2019 at 01:46 AM.
05-25-2019, 01:19 PM   #7
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Something I just recently learned concerning if one of your subjects is wearing eye glasses is to take two shots. One with the eye glasses and then without changing anything take a second picture with the glasses removed. Then if you see lens reflections on the eye glasses you can take both photos into Photoshop layers and using mask remove the glare or reflections. Of course you have to have Photoshop or something similar.
I have tried other methods, like asking the person to tilt the glasses, but for me it seldom worked.
05-25-2019, 06:08 PM   #8
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I used the P mode on the camera which allows me to still change the aperture and shutter speeds when i desire and used the flash in P-ttl, you just need some flash exposure compensation and for one or two person shots i start at -2 just to get some fill flash.On the wider angles for group photos i'll start with zero flash compensation.One thing the flash will also do is help to freeze any motion or camera shake. If you don't use a flash then put their back maybe 3/4 to the sun and use it as a rim light for the hair and use center weighted or spot metering, direct sun in the persons face being photographed is not good. You put the person your photographing in the best light for them not for you and the camera. Jacob and Alicen homecoming. | A little flash brightens a fo? | Flickr

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