Camera Craniums

General Category => Photography Techniques and how to's => Topic started by: magicrhodes on November 23, 2009, 09:26:19 AM

Title: Beginner Portraits
Post by: magicrhodes on November 23, 2009, 09:26:19 AM
I am looking to take some indoor photos of a slightly reluctant but generally willing model. I am planning the shoot so that I know what I am trying to achieve before I start to try and reduce irritation brought on by taking too long...

Can anyone recommend any tips to help me as I generally shoot architecture and landscapes!

BTW my only equipment is a D40, flashgun and tripod....

The over all aim is to help someone feel better about themselves...
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: hevans on November 23, 2009, 09:39:58 AM
I am looking to take some indoor photos of a slightly reluctant but generally willing model. I am planning the shoot so that I know what I am trying to achieve before I start to try and reduce irritation brought on by taking too long...

Can anyone recommend any tips to help me as I generally shoot architecture and landscapes!
First off: I would investigate and play around with the lighting that's required. Do this ahead of time, so as not to be faffing around with it while the model is there. Prolonging the activity (unless the model starts to have fun with it) because of loads of tinkering will raise the stress levels in a reluctant or self-concious model.

You can use a ball/melon/anything roundish as a test head while you tinker.

Quote
BTW my only equipment is a D40, flashgun and tripod....

If you don't want to spend much more on equipment prior to this shoot, I'd get some large pieces of white board  that you can use as a fill in and reflector. You can tape one to the wall and fire the strobe at it, and the other you can prop up on the other side of the model (on a high backed chair ?). This will soften the light considerably (harsh shadows are not generally flattering). Alternatively, you can use a North facing window (or south facing on an overcast day) as the primary or fill in light.

Do you plan to take full length or portrait? Full length will require more in the way of a background.

Quote
The over all aim is to help someone feel better about themselves...

Have a look online about flattering poses (from slightly above to prevent double chins, etc.)

I'm sure J. Ryan will be along with more authoritative help.

H.
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: Simple on November 23, 2009, 09:50:24 AM
This website has been mentioned for a while now, and is full of nice tips.
I do not know who came up with it in the first place, but it surely helps me.
http://www.lumitouch.com/benstudiotutorial/rules.html
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: picsfor on November 23, 2009, 10:17:43 AM
BTW my only equipment is a D40, flashgun and tripod....
It may not be as much as others, but you really should give a look at some of the galleries or go on Flickr and look for a D40 user group to see how much can be achieved with 'only a D40'.
That may also give you an idea for some poses.
I know there are groups who deal specifically with portraiture.
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: magicrhodes on November 23, 2009, 10:23:00 AM
Thanks all, another question is tht I quite like "noisey" portrait photos particularly when focusing on one area, similar to Alison Jackson who did the "voyeur" photography for the Schweppes adverts and the Confidential book... How do I do this?
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: hevans on November 23, 2009, 10:44:32 AM
Thanks all, another question is tht I quite like "noisey" portrait photos particularly when focusing on one area, similar to Alison Jackson who did the "voyeur" photography for the Schweppes adverts and the Confidential book... How do I do this?

In photoshop, or any editor. Convert to greyscale (using one of many techniques; I tend to prefer the channel mixer), then add noise (I tend to use the gaussian) to taste using one of many techniques.

H.
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: Jonathan on November 23, 2009, 01:51:53 PM
The over all aim is to help someone feel better about themselves...

Shoot with the longest lens (or zoom position) you can.  The wider the lens the more it's going to exaggerate any "body issues".  I mean don't get all 400mm or anything but 100mm + is good.  Scope out the room beforehand to make sure you can use your chosen lens without having to stand outside.

If you can get your flash off camera and the walls are white you're home free on the lighting.  Just blast the flash into the side wall with your camera on manual.  Move around the room to alter the angle of the lighting.

But above all talk.  Nothing makes somebody nervous like seeming nervous.  Just chat about anything and take pictures while you're doing it.  It's going to go a lot more smoothly that way.
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: Graham on November 23, 2009, 05:08:53 PM
  Regadrding posing and so on you may find this of use.

      http://www.lumitouch.com/benstudiotutorial/rules.html
                     Graham.  :)
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: magicrhodes on November 28, 2009, 06:24:03 PM
Have scoped the room and it will only really allow a 35mm lens possibly upto 50mm for 1 or 2 pics because it is really small.... will this have any effect on the outcome?
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: oRGie on November 28, 2009, 06:42:43 PM
yes, thats not ideal ;)

What about outside ?   also bear in mind the prep that goes into really fab portraits, I assume your victim, cough, model is a female ?  if so, make up is important as we all know girls wear make up and perfume cos they are ugly and smell right  :2funny:   seriously though, having a bit of fun with make up can lighten the mood and give self confidence and the great results too :)  unless of course your after a gritty documetary type shot..   

Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: anglefire on November 28, 2009, 08:16:04 PM
Firstly, forget what gear you have. All I will say is get the flash off the camera - either wire it or try wireless (Has the D40 got wireless Commander?)

Bounce it off the wall, through a white brolly, into a silver one, what ever. Try and avoid direct flash basically.

Stop the lens down a couple of stops from maximum. f8 is often the sweet spot.

Not a lot of room? Then don't try and get full length shots - but if you do try and get the camera parallel to the subject and the lens at around chest height.

Particularly if its a lady, then try for a focal length of around 80mm - and true 80mm, not 50mm and add the crop factor. This may mean you are limited to half body shots or head shots. But 35mm often doesn't look good. - the Nose can look very distorted.

Sitting poses may be possible too.


And if it is a lady, a bit of slap will help most!
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: Sarasocke on November 29, 2009, 10:09:07 AM
Simple and Graham - the link is really helpfull. I'm due to do a shoot of my friend's daughter (mid teens) and she would HATE if I took unflattering pics ;)
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: Simple on November 29, 2009, 12:13:20 PM
Carol, I am sure it will be huge success. Here is another site I find very useful for snippets of info.
http://super.nova.org/DPR/#TOC
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: Oldboy on November 29, 2009, 03:54:58 PM

And if it is a lady, a bit of slap will help most!


You missed the tickle bit!  :2funny:  :-[
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: magicrhodes on November 30, 2009, 10:48:23 AM
she would HATE if I took unflattering pics ;)

I have a feeling that you're unlikely to get her to like any pictures of herself if she is teenager!  ;D
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: Sarasocke on November 30, 2009, 12:27:58 PM
I took some portraits of a 14 year old last year, and she was really pleased. Mind you she wasn't all at camera shy and was used to being watched as she belonged to a dance group.

We haven't set a date yet, but I'll certainly let you know how we get on :)
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: irv_b on November 30, 2009, 02:34:27 PM
I suggest to try and get some practice in first, either on you own kids/family, friends or even something from around the house about head and torso size (a couple of hi-fi speakers and a football or ornament). Try with something that gives you some shadows in the facial area.
Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: Oly Paul on December 01, 2009, 09:31:35 AM
Have scoped the room and it will only really allow a 35mm lens possibly upto 50mm for 1 or 2 pics because it is really small.... will this have any effect on the outcome?

Possibly less flattering than you would like, especially for head and shoulder shots.

The room has a door so if possible shoot from the adjoining room/hallway to give you more room (I've done this more than once), the light which should ideally be of camera (as anglefire suggested) can still be in the same room as the sitter.

Ideally a small white tranclucent shoot through brolly gives good result but if not bounce flash will have to do.

Equipment matters little as its suprising what you can do on a budget, years ago I used to travel round peoples house doing portraits with one flash light and shoot through brolly, home made reflector and a black and a white sheet and boy was I working in cramped spaces. :)

Just to show you what I mean these were taken of a 14 year old that had not been in front of the camera before using the said equipment .

Title: Re: Beginner Portraits
Post by: bones615 on December 01, 2009, 03:39:38 PM
Found some beginers lighting tips here
 http://www.prophotolife.com/2008/06/02/video-episode-13-beautiful-portraits-with-just-one-light/
Might be useful, lots more on the site too although i have not looked much further myself yet.

Simon