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Photography Question 
Kristi Eckberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/22/2003
 

portraits


More questions on the senior portraits. So again being new to senior portraits..I have had a few gals who I could tell were not real comfortable with the whole photo shoot thing. Just did one today and I hate to judge but her smiles and her eyes just scream out "I'am uncomfortable and hate having my picture taken!" The moms always come along to the shoots and I ask that since they know their child best that they help out with anything they can. To point out if the smile looks fake is to much etc. I guess I don't have the guts yet to speak up b/c what if it is her true smile and I'm trying to change it.? But I personally don't think this photo shoot went well b/c of her being up tight. It shows. So I'am in need of advice.. I want to continue doing senior portraits b/c I love it but do I need to take full charge and tell them how they should smile ETC.? Getting them into a variety of poses is hard enough but to tell them how their facial expressions need to be in order to get the best portraits just seems hard. I don't want to offend anyone. That is why I was hoping the mom's would speak up. I got some beautiful shots of a girl last week but she wants to go out and get more b/c she hates her smile in most. But how was I to know that wasn't her true smile? Sorry to go on forever.. Just one of those days that I feel like I need some help with this beginning stage of my business. Any advice would be so much appreciated. Thanks!!


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10/8/2005 10:29:09 PM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  Getting true and natural smiles is often the hardest part . . and like you said trying to be creative with posing makes the task even more difficult. . . This is something I haven't done and need to . . .but what about having some music there . . . like what the teens listen to . . . or have them bring some of their favorite CD's and such so they can maybe relax.. . if you are shooting both indoors and out . . . I have found that doing the outdoor stuff first really loosens them up too and makes them relax which helps on the smiling issue. .. try to visit with them about their involvement with school, sports, boyfriend, etc to try to get them comfortable with you .. . fortunately for me I have known all of my senior clients so that part has been easy . . . and only one did the mom come with me so I didn't really have anyone to ask about the smiles. .. one mom(as well as the daughter) did say though that she has a hard time smiling naturally without being made to laugh or something . .. but they were okay with that too so we just kind of winged it and I tried to just let her knwo when I would take the picture. . . the client I just had seemed to have more of a fake smile when I would count or let her know so I would just take the shot when I felt she was most relaxed and natural without letting he rknow . . .I think alot of this stuff just comes with practice and exposure to this age of client. .. Something else to consider is to try to get her to bring a friend also . . . someone who can remind her of fun times, tell funny stories about what they have done in their HS years, etc. These are all things I need to think about doing as well! and like you the mom's and friends know these people best so it's hard for us to judge if these smiles are "real" or not. .. but I agree we don't want to try to change them either. . . anyway good Luck. . .


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10/9/2005 6:25:08 AM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
 
 
 
Senior portraits are really no different than any other type of portrait shot.
Knowing your subject sometimes helps however we can not count on that being the case very often.
Michelle's idea of Music is a very good suggestion. I have a portable unit that I bring with me for location shots and it's been the difference in most of my shoots.
There are literally thousands, probably millions of tips. You will have to discover your own methods and work with what is best for you.
Remember, these kids didn't wake up one morning and say to themselves "I want to be photographed". Usually it's the parents decision and often the kids are "pushed" into it. It's you job to make it fun for them. (I do much better WITHOUT parents present.)

Regards
Gary



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10/9/2005 6:53:48 AM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
 
 
 
Senior portraits are really no different than any other type of portrait shot.
Knowing your subject sometimes helps however we can not count on that being the case very often.
Michelle's idea of Music is a very good suggestion. I have a portable unit that I bring with me for location shots and it's been the difference in most of my shoots.
There are literally thousands, probably millions of tips. You will have to discover your own methods and work with what is best for you.
Remember, these kids didn't wake up one morning and say to themselves "I want to be photographed". Usually it's the parents decision and often the kids are "pushed" into it. It's you job to make it fun for them. (I do much better WITHOUT parents present.)

Regards
Gary



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10/9/2005 6:58:07 AM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
  Senior portraits are really no different than any other type of portrait shot.
Knowing your subject sometimes helps however we can not count on that being the case very often.
Michelle's idea of Music is a very good suggestion. I have a portable unit that I bring with me for location shots and it's been the difference in most of my shoots.
There are literally thousands, probably millions of tips. You will have to discover your own methods and work with what is best for you.
Remember, these kids didn't wake up one morning and say to themselves "I want to be photographed". Usually it's the parents decision and often the kids are "pushed" into it. It's you job to make it fun for them. (I do much better WITHOUT parents present.)

Regards
Gary



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10/9/2005 7:00:56 AM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  for the most part I think kids do better without the parents present also . . . the only reservations I have are with the clothing attire that is chosen and how they choose to wear it . . . so many of the shirts these days are meant to show the tummy .. . some parents like this some don't . . . so I always try to mention that to my senior girls and let them decide. . . but I did have one mom who wsn't too "hip" on the belly shots even though it was very mild and conservative. .. I have "fixed" a few when the belly isn't "appealing" and the kids never even knew it . ..so that is my only thoughts of when mom does come at least she knows that too . .. but then if it's a battle over how to wear their clothes then the session will not go well if they are fussing with each other on it . . . I have a senior boy scheduled in a couple of weeks. . . when I met with him and his mom/dad(divorced) I could tell there was tension . .. the mom wants to be there and the kid is kind of on the fence. . . I think the boy will do better if she isn't there and if they both plan to come things will be a wreck so I am going to have to come up with a creative way to tell them so . . . sometimes when the moms and or dads come too if they are taking off work then I feel like they are always looking at their watch and judging the time . .. and that makes me not work as effectively .. . I try to tell them how long it will potentially take but they don't always remember that when we are choosing locations adn have to travel in between which takes additional time . .. so in that aspect it is good to tell the parents that they might need to block off the day or at least plan on the entire morning because most often Senior appointments will take several hours. And like Gary mentioned . . . as you do this more and more you will find what works for you . . . which in the end will be much better and more effective then what we can all tell you .. . I would say the boys don't wake up and say "I want to be photographed" but all the girls I have worked with have been very excited to come so that has been a godsend for me! I'm still working on hoping and making it fun for them . ..


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10/9/2005 7:24:48 AM

 
Kristi Eckberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/22/2003
  Thanks for the quick response. I agree and think maybe I should have them bring a friend instead of the parents. That is a hard thing though. I think The parents want to know who their child is with for 4hrs and what kind of pictures are being taken. Last night both the mom & dad came which I was not happy about b/c it put the pressure on me as well. And I can't imagine how it was for her to have her dad standing there. Even though I have told the parents that I'am just starting out, when I'am not happy about the pictures (these ones b/c of her barely smiling & her eyes looked half closed..not from blinking but b/c she just wasn't into it and it was cold out) I feel like they are going to blame me for not taking charge and telling her how to "look" I kind of feel since they were there watching that they should have spoken up since I asked them to watch her facial expressions as well. Should I offer to re shoot some more or let them decide and pay extra for going out again?? It's hard when I'am not happy with them. I feel like I should just do more for free but wanted to see what everyone else thinks. I think I need to get back into doing babies and little kids. That is what I mainly used to shoot but have been to busy with the seniors. I have a few shoots coming up with little ones so look forward to the change of pace.


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10/9/2005 8:11:47 AM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  Kristi ...is this last shoot the ones that are first in your gallery . .. if they are what are you worried about? I think there are some good ones . .. one thing I do notice is . . this girl has a very gummy smile when she does smile . . .so perhaps she is self conscious about that?? If she hates her smile in those I personally thinks he will hate her smile in more . .. ask her WHAT she doesn't like about her smile? So that way you know . .. the ones you may be referring to may not be the ones in your gallery though so I may be way off here. .. Remember. . . you can provide 50-100 proofs(sometimes more or less) but essentially most clients will only choose between 5-15 poses . . with 15 being on the high side in my area. .. and that 15 includes more or less a proof of a pose for one of the folio books . . . I think basically most girls choose 1-2 poses for their "main ones" and then a few more for like wallets and grandparents, etc. But that is also how my packages are arranged.. . 1 pose or 2 pose packages. . . hmmmmm maybe I need to rethink my packages for future. . . many photographers do not offer packages. .. just all ala carte. . . Okay I"m thinking out loud. .. Good Luck and I think you are doing fine!


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10/9/2005 8:32:42 AM

 
Kristi Eckberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/22/2003
  Hi Michelle. I just uploaded one picture from yesterday's shoot. This is one of the ok ones. Most all of her other ones her smile is a little more dull and eyes kinda just squinty in them all. So outdoor on a dull cloudy day should I be using the flash just to brighten up the eyes? What about investing in some reflectors? Do they work well on dull days? I think they turned out so dull in color and keep asking myself if I should offer to re shoot a few more?? Since it is my fault that I didn't expose them the best. What do you think?
The ones in my gallery with the girl with to much of her gums showing in her smile is the girl I mentioned who wanted to go take more b/c she doesn't not like her smile. But again at the shoot there was no way I was going to critize her smile. Especially when she smiled that way on all of them. I figured this must be her smile and to try to have her not show so much gums I thought would be way to fake.

Nice chatting with you Michelle.
Kristi


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10/9/2005 9:18:03 AM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
  HI Kristi . . I'm not a good one to ask about flash really because I HATE it . . but like you I had some pictures that seemed to just look dull to the face. . . so I used my flash with this last sitting and I feel it made a huge difference. . . I have an accessory flash and I also have an omnibounce that I use to diffuse the light. ..I then adjusted my flash to -2 power and set the flash to the ISO 200 and then adjusted the head as I needed to. . . you could try using a reflector too if you are getting some light rays. . . a gold one will add warmth and for me is easier to use because I can see where the light is casting better than white or silver. . . but it might also give too much warmth to the face . . . clouds are great for diffusion but they do take away that sparkle sometimes too. . . I would try the flash next time you encounter clouds and just see what happens. .. My on camera flash makes things seem too bright and harsh so I woudl recommend an accessory flash and you will still have to diffuse it also . .. as far the one in your gallery ... she doesn't look thrilled to be there. .. but have the parents seen these yet?? don't do anything rash until they have seen them and give you an opinion . ..they might think they are fine .. . then if they mention something tell them you felt the same way and then offer to reshoot and suggest that you feel she was uncomfortable because they were there, etc . . . then get to know the girl a bit more, etc and see what else you can do!


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10/9/2005 5:09:09 PM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
  Kristi. I just posted a picture in the contest under the people catagory. It was taken on a cloudy day. To overcome that I did not include any sky in the photograph and I used my 580ex speedlite at a 90 degree upward angle using the catchlight panel. I set the ISO at 400, the shutter speed at 1/400 and the aperature at 5.6. I used a 70-200 mm lens.
This was not to difficult of a setting and there were no shadows to contend with and I believe it produced a nice outdoor portrait.
Play with your settings with friends and family in different lighting conditions. even our models are willing to pose for no charge if I can get them one good shot for their portfolios.

Regards
Gary


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10/9/2005 5:40:58 PM

 
Maverick Creatives
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/1/2004
 
 
   atwdigital
atwdigital
© Maverick Creatives
Canon EOS 20D Digi...
 
 
Guess it's easier if I post it here rather than having you hunt for it.


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10/9/2005 5:45:27 PM

 
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