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Photography Question 
Sherry L. Davis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/4/2007
 

Group of 9 portraits, I need advise please


I have a session Thursday with a group of nine. I am not sure how to position them right, and how far from the backdrop they should be. My biggest backdrops are 10 x 20, actually that is all I have bought so far is 10 x 20. It is for a real estate company, they want a group portrait. I really need some tips and advice with this one. Any one have any good examples for a group about this size? I have read some on this, but not enough time to order more books and get them and read before Thursday. I have never tried a group this size, with all adults. I would really appriciate all advice very much! Thank you!


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12/10/2007 5:17:12 AM

 
W.   
Hi Sherry,

What are they planning to use that photo for? For print? In a sales brochure? Or for a magazine ad?
Who is the target audience the photo is aimed at? Pensioners? Adolescents? Dinks? (Double Income No Kids)? Etc. etc. I'd say that may influence the style of photo you want to take. And the style of photo they are looking for.

Or is it for a yearbook, or some such? Or to frame and hang over the mantle piece?

What is the relationship between those 9 people? A boss and his underlings? Equal partners? Siblings perhaps?

These are the kinds of things you need to ask yourself. And THEM! Then slowly an image will take shape in your mind. That's the photo you're going to make.

Have fun!


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12/10/2007 6:38:40 AM

 
Sherry L. Davis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/4/2007
  W.S., it is for a Real Esate company, the agents want a portrait taken together, then after the group portraits, I will take individual portraits. They want it the group portrait for the paper, and some of them want copies for themselves. Yes, it will be the boss and his wife, plus 7 agents. I think my problem is since they aren't family, (except the owners are husband and wife), I am not sure honestly if anyones hands should touch the other person, like in a family portrait, the parents arms and children's arms can lean on each other (not lean but be placed there). So it's the two owners and 7 real estate agents. The headshots that will be done seperately are for brochures, business cards, etc... Thank you!
Sherry


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12/10/2007 6:46:08 AM

 
W.   
For the individual portraits I can't see much opportunity for 'interpretative' photos. With creative, arty, lighting, or some such. Given their application.

About the groupshot: so I take it that photo is to portray a company. Not a group of friends. Or relatives. So I wouldn't have them touching eachother. But you could apply some creative lighting here, if you and they! wish. To make the photo more interesting. Like sidelighting?
Are they supposed to look straight at the observer, stiff-like? With faint smiles, but no teeth? Or can they interact with eachother and look more spontaneously 'caught having a pleasant talk'.


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12/10/2007 7:17:20 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  No sweat Sherry. I've done a lot of these. What I would do is forget the background. It's too small and trying to position 9 people on it, especially at the edges/sides is pretty tricky. I shoot real estate people outdoors in one of three settings.

If it's a whole crew, like yours, I may shoot them out in front of their office building, loosely posed but yet connected somehow. Coldwell Banker in California, for example, usually rents high end, fancy spaces with elaborate exteriors. Remax, not so fancy but not bad. Independents often have old houses they work out of that make for nice backgrounds.

Outdoors in front of a listed property is good with their sign as a centerpiece works as does a scenic location in say a park or along a beach if you've got one close by. Again, whatever you decide, connect them up somehow when you shoot. They can be clowning around and talking, laughing and putting their hands on one another's shoulders, or variations of both. Get some straight-laced shots too.

Keep the lighting simple. One light, maybe two for fill and scout the location for the best time of day to shoot there. Set up early, get meter readings or however you determine exposure so you're about ready to shoot when they arrive. And take a fair number of exposures, bracketing as the light changes.

Whaddya think?
Take it light ;
Mark


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12/10/2007 8:32:45 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Sorry, forgot about the individuals. That's usually a separate deal. What they're trying to do is capitalize on your time which is nice of them, but otoh the owner may be trying to piggyback the cost of both shoots together for the price of one. If you shoot these on location that may be somewhat difficult this time of year given the outdoor lighting.

What I suggest is that you shoot the individuals separately, either at their office with a background set up if you want, or without. Or shoot them in a studio setting with a regular portrait background and charge accordingly. Real estate agents are notoriously (how do I say this tactfully?) CHEAP !
Be well.
M


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12/10/2007 8:37:35 AM

 
Sherry L. Davis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/4/2007
  Thank you so much, Mark. I still have a problem, if we do it outside, there is about 2 1/2 feet of snow. And, about 10 degrees, I don't know if they will go for it outside. I didn't think a 10x20 was big enough. I understand they are cheap. They asked, I did tell them this much for the group for the sitting fee, and so much per person sitting fee, when they asked. So, I bet they try to make it one price, too, anyways. I am going to check out some outdoor spots I know they have, and call and ask about doing outside portraits, but with all the snow.... Any suggestions if we can't do them outside? I do have a wall that is big enough to fit them all without a backdrop, it is tan panelling, but I don't think that will be a very pretty backrop though. Do you have more suggestions if we can't do it outdoors?
Thanks again so much! Sherry


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12/10/2007 10:07:25 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Hey Sherry. While I've lived in N. California for a long time, I came here from Chicago. There I learned when life gives you snow, make snowballs. Lots and lots of them. Outdoors, playful shots, turn it into a party for them maybe complete with Grogg (sp?) or eggnog. That gives you an opportunity to reshoot the summer stuff at the beach>

Portraits...well, separately, indoors in their office.

Take care. Oh, and you're very welcome. Let me know how it turns out.
Mark


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12/10/2007 6:54:18 PM

 
W.   
"I am going to check out some outdoor spots I know they have, and call and ask about doing outside portraits"

Don't "ask" them, TELL them!
YOU are the photog!

Instead of worrying about an indoors background, outside you probably have a multitude of park-like snowscapes you can use. Nicely in focus, OR specifically out of focus ('bokeh') if you prefer.

Doing the GROUPSHOT (that's NOT a 'portrait'! A portrait is a photo of a single person looking into the lens) is also an excellent opportunity for your polarising filter to be used to its full extent!

Don't forget to compensate exposure for the snow.

Bracket!

Shoot RAW!

Good luck and have fun!


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12/11/2007 3:56:19 AM

 
Sherry L. Davis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/4/2007
  Thank you again, Mark. you are right, it is a groupshot, not a portrait. I did check out some places yesterday, and found some along the beach and at the park. Thank you for reminding me to compensate for the snow and everything. I really appriciate your advice very much. Have a great day!
Sherry PS.. I will tell not ask. Thanks!


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12/11/2007 4:08:43 AM

 
W.   
And when out in a sunny snowscape shooting people, try using fill-flash at half power!


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12/11/2007 8:06:32 AM

 
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