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Photography Question 
Amber D. Jones

how to take a good graduation drape picture

Well, what started off as a serious hobby has led to a very deep interest and now pursuit of getting into the photography business. I don't have a lot of fancy equipment(YET). I have a 35mm Minolta, an extra flash on my camera, and a few homeade lights that I've put together. I really enjoy taking pictures of people outdoors in the natural light, and I am extremely well at doing so. However, lately, I've thought about taking a few indoor pictures. I eventually would like to own a studio and take indoor pictures as much as I do outdoor pictures. Lately, since I'm just getting into the business of photography, I've been taking a lot of pictures for friends and family. This one family that I sort of know has asked me to take their granddaughter's drape pictures for graduation. They don't really have the money to take her to the school to have them done, so they asked me if I could do them. One of my other hobbies is painting, and that is one of my individual trademarks...I paint most of my backdrops. Now my question is...using my small amount of I going to be able to take a good senior picture for her? And could you please give some pointers as to how I can make these pictures their very best.

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7/19/2005 12:12:30 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
  If you are already taking good people pictures, indoor and outdoor, you will do just fine for the graduation photos too. You don't need fancy equipment. I started out taking portraits (although not graduation pictures) using a manual camera with nature light and one flash.

Here's a few things I would suggest:

1. Use professional film. I use Kodak Portra 160NC for this occasion. Other photographers may recommend fuji line of film.
2. Try different angle. Head and shoulder, half body, full body, full face, 3/4 face, etc. Monte Zucker, a famous portrait photograher, used to have a free on-line protrait lesson but I can't find it anymore.
3. Get a reflector, or a foam core board, to reflect light back to the shadow side, either you use natural light or flash.
4. If using flash, move the flash off the camera and put it at 45 degree of the subject. Get an extension cord to connect the camera with the flash. Diffuse the light from the flash with an umbrella, or at least get an Omnibounce ( If using a manual camera, be aware that there will be 1 1/2 to 2 stops of light loss when using the diffuser. So meter your exposure carefully.
5. Use a lens with the focal length of 85mm to 135mm for the head/shoulder and half body, 50mm for the full body.
6. Use a tripod and remote shutter release.
7. Have confidence.

Just a few basic things I can think of. If you have any more question, just keep asking. Hope this helps.

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7/20/2005 2:45:52 PM

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