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04-19-2007, 07:41 AM   #1
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Need some help with first photo shoot!

Alright it's game time for me for real and I need some advice from everyone on this since it's going to be my first real shoot besides doing nightclub/bar photography, which is nothing like what I'm about to do.

The other day one of my buddies from Graphic Arts school calls me up and asks me to take pictures of his prom group (he was taking classes from highschool at the college) and of course I said yes because he really enjoys my photography and I'm cheap (yes a freebie, but I need it for my portfolio).

So what I'd like to get from everyone is an idea of shots I should be anticipating that would really rock and also what gear to bring.

We've picked out a local botanical garden here in town that has two key areas where we can take pictures. First is the gazebo and huge awning area where it's a big round grass field with at one side is a large all white wooden thing that has a cement base for taking group pictures. The other side has a decent sized gazebo. The next area of the garden is a water feature that has a small wood and metal bridge with long cat tail growing and a stream with a fountain.

I'm heading out to the area on Tuesday at the exact time of the shoot (4pm) and see where the sun is at exactly and take a few test shots to bring back.

If you guys have any ideas please let me know and here is a list of what I have in the bag and am also acquiring in the next few weeks before the shoot.

K10D w/ Battery grip
Tamron 70-300 4.5-5.6
Sigma 105mm 2.8 macro
Sigma 28mm 1.8 macro
Pentax 50mm 1.4
Pentax 18-55mm 3.5-5.6

04-19-2007, 07:47 AM   #2
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You probably already have one in your grip, but (depending on the size of the class) an extra battery wouldn't hurt...

The worst possible thing that can happen to anyone taking pictures for someone else (paid or not...) is to have to end the shoot early because of battery issues...
(I speak from experience !)
04-19-2007, 07:54 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Classvino Quote
You probably already have one in your grip, but (depending on the size of the class) an extra battery wouldn't hurt...

The worst possible thing that can happen to anyone taking pictures for someone else (paid or not...) is to have to end the shoot early because of battery issues...
(I speak from experience !)
I do have a spare battery in the grip but I'll definitely make sure to charge them both the night before and try to keep myself from shooting 700+ photos before the shoot LMAO. That is a great point though and I'll make sure to note myself about that so I don't forget. Thank you.
04-19-2007, 07:58 AM   #4
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I would take some reflectors, either the collapsible type or on a budget you can use white foam board, white sheets, etc. The sun may be fairly high and give you unwanted shadows so a little reflection will help a lot. I have even done a trick where I place a white sheet on the ground, just out of frame for full length shots, in between the subject and the sun so that the sun light will bounce up from it and fill in the shadows slightly. Reflectors can be better than flash because you can see the exact effect in real time.

My bet is that you will be shooting most of this thing with your 18-55 or the wide Sigma, due to shooting a group, but a longer portrait lens would be good to get some individual shots.

That's about it. Take lots of photos!

04-19-2007, 08:20 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by davemdsn Quote
I would take some reflectors, either the collapsible type or on a budget you can use white foam board, white sheets, etc. The sun may be fairly high and give you unwanted shadows so a little reflection will help a lot. I have even done a trick where I place a white sheet on the ground, just out of frame for full length shots, in between the subject and the sun so that the sun light will bounce up from it and fill in the shadows slightly. Reflectors can be better than flash because you can see the exact effect in real time.

My bet is that you will be shooting most of this thing with your 18-55 or the wide Sigma, due to shooting a group, but a longer portrait lens would be good to get some individual shots.

That's about it. Take lots of photos!
The group is going to be a bit small, most likely around 4 couples so it's not too awful.

Now how do you set up the reflectors exactly for such a situation? I'm going to go the cheap way and go with white foamcore boards and I'm guessing all you do is place them in front of you subject and prop the boards up a bit to take out the harsh shadows caused by the sun?

Should I also bring a tripod for this or will handheld be alright?
04-19-2007, 10:41 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by codiac2600 Quote
The group is going to be a bit small, most likely around 4 couples so it's not too awful.

Now how do you set up the reflectors exactly for such a situation? I'm going to go the cheap way and go with white foamcore boards and I'm guessing all you do is place them in front of you subject and prop the boards up a bit to take out the harsh shadows caused by the sun?

Should I also bring a tripod for this or will handheld be alright?
You nailed it right on the head. Like I say, the beauty of reflectors is that you get to see the result in real time. Just move it around a bit 'till you like what you see and shoot away.

With a K10 hand held will be fine. You won't be able to use too slow a shutter speed anyway, because your subjects won't be that still. Besides, if you move around a bit from shot to shot the set will be more interesting.
04-19-2007, 11:31 AM   #7
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Try shooting from slightly above or below the group. It will add impact to your shots and take them out if the realm of the "line up and smile" category. Use stairs or a landing if available. Consider carrying a small step ladder (I know it sounds hokey but it works). Make sure EVERYONE can see the camera and that you can see everyone's entire face at a minimum.
04-19-2007, 11:37 AM   #8
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Also, try and get a buddy or 2 to come with you to help with holding the reflectors and such.

04-19-2007, 12:45 PM   #9
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Large Mirror

What I often do for the model I work with, is I place a mirror behind me so the subject or subjects can see themselves in their best light. If you pull it back far enough they can see what they are doing and how it might translate in to the final image. It also gets them to look a bit off to the left or right. Once they have found the pose they like, you can ask them to look at you, with the eyes only not changing there postion. If that is what you want that is. Perhaps play with foreground and background juxtaposition as well. Perhaps one of the members in the extreme foreground slightly out of focus or visa versa. This will accentuate the foreground, background definition, while framing the image, giving it more of a three dimensional feel. If you like you can also use the mirror as a prop, where the group are looking in to it acting as a frame of the group with the surrounding as the relief. Just an idea that cropped in to my head. No pun intended...

Ben

An Example from "Votre Beauty" magazine circa 1996...

Last edited by benjikan; 02-07-2013 at 06:03 PM.
04-19-2007, 01:20 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by benjikan Quote
What I often do for the model I work with, is I place a mirror behind me so the subject or subjects can see themselves in their best light. If you pull it back far enough they can see what they are doing and how it might translate in to the final image. It also gets them to look a bit off to the left or right. Once they have found the pose they like, you can ask them to look at you, with the eyes only not changing there postion.

Ben

An Example from "Votre Beauty" magazine circa 1996...
I have done this as well. It is very effective. I even worked with one model that brought her own mirror for just that purpose.
04-19-2007, 11:24 PM   #11
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Wow a lot of good stuff here that I wouldn't have thought of if I hadn't asked first. I really enjoy this place, probably the best forum I've ever had the pleasure to be part of.

QuoteQuote:
You nailed it right on the head. Like I say, the beauty of reflectors is that you get to see the result in real time. Just move it around a bit 'till you like what you see and shoot away.

With a K10 hand held will be fine. You won't be able to use too slow a shutter speed anyway, because your subjects won't be that still. Besides, if you move around a bit from shot to shot the set will be more interesting.
Okay, so hand held is a good idea and just have to make sure that when I walk around to keep the reflectors out of the way which shouldn't be too hard. So my next question is how many reflectors to bring? Common sense tells me on foamcore per person should be enough unless their is something else I'd like to highlight. Yes/No?

QuoteQuote:
Try shooting from slightly above or below the group. It will add impact to your shots and take them out if the realm of the "line up and smile" category. Use stairs or a landing if available. Consider carrying a small step ladder (I know it sounds hokey but it works). Make sure EVERYONE can see the camera and that you can see everyone's entire face at a minimum.
The awning and gazebo are slightly raised, if I remember about 3 steps high so kneeling should provide enough of a up look onto the group. I do believe with the water feature area a step would help a lot because if I can get a good view from above I'd nail all the features with the group (bridge, water feature and plants).

QuoteQuote:
Also, try and get a buddy or 2 to come with you to help with holding the reflectors and such.
That would be a good idea, but what fool would come out for free and help an up and coming photographer LMAO j/k. I might be able to find a friend eager enough to help and it does seem like a lot for one person to do.

QuoteQuote:
What I often do for the model I work with, is I place a mirror behind me so the subject or subjects can see themselves in their best light. If you pull it back far enough they can see what they are doing and how it might translate in to the final image. It also gets them to look a bit off to the left or right. Once they have found the pose they like, you can ask them to look at you, with the eyes only not changing there postion. If that is what you want that is. Perhaps play with foreground and background juxtaposition as well. Perhaps one of the members in the extreme foreground slightly out of focus or visa versa. This will accentuate the foreground, background definition, while framing the image, giving it more of a three dimensional feel. If you like you can also use the mirror as a prop, where the group are looking in to it acting as a frame of the group with the surrounding as the relief. Just an idea that cropped in to my head. No pun intended...

Ben
This is a very interesting approach and also stops the girls from going, "hey can I see that picture I wanna see how I look!" Ugh, the only problem with taking pictures for bars/nightclubs has been the constant female voice ringing in my ear about wanting to see the picture right after I take it and even some men do it as well. Society has become a constant circle of instantaneous gratification even with photography. Hopefully I can find something inexpensive that can give a decent perspective to each individual. It may be more helpful during shots with one person or the couples together. Maybe I should invest in a really really big mirror and instead of using reflectors the huge mirror doubles as one! I may have to charge for the use of the mirror as a tanning aid and how many years of bad luck for a broken mirror about 10' by 5'? But seriously now, definitely going to pick up at least one inexpensive full-length mirror next week along with white foamcore.



Now a few more questions have just sprung to mind... first off what would be the best approach for capturing shots the group wants? A little pow-wow before we start with a notepad in hand? Just start going and see what happens? What has experience told you guys?

Memory... I have 4 total gigs of memory available which in turn means I can take approx 240 images in RAW. Should I grab another card because something like this could really eat away at my card space?

What settings make sense for this type of shooting? Just throwing that one up but I know it may be hard to figure something out before the day comes because variables are so high in photography.

I just want to thank everyone again for being so helpful!
04-20-2007, 01:47 AM   #12
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Great tips =)

QuoteOriginally posted by MRRiley Quote
Try shooting from slightly above or below the group. It will add impact to your shots and take them out if the realm of the "line up and smile" category. Use stairs or a landing if available. Consider carrying a small step ladder (I know it sounds hokey but it works). Make sure EVERYONE can see the camera and that you can see everyone's entire face at a minimum.
04-20-2007, 06:04 AM   #13
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I don't have anything to add, but I have to agree. Great tips, everyone. I think we all appreciate them.

QuoteOriginally posted by codiac2600 Quote
Wow a lot of good stuff here that I wouldn't have thought of if I hadn't asked first. I really enjoy this place, probably the best forum I've ever had the pleasure to be part of. (...) I just want to thank everyone again for being so helpful!
04-20-2007, 09:44 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by codiac2600 Quote
Memory... I have 4 total gigs of memory available which in turn means I can take approx 240 images in RAW. Should I grab another card because something like this could really eat away at my card space?

What settings make sense for this type of shooting? Just throwing that one up but I know it may be hard to figure something out before the day comes because variables are so high in photography.
Memory - It's cheap, and like the battery, you don't wanna run out...

Settings - I'm interested in hearing the answers on this one too, as I'm in the same boat - a friends wedding at the end of May...

On the upside - you can't have a better excuse to buy equipment - "My friends are depending on me...."
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