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Photography Question 
Dara A. Hughes
 

profesional pictures.


I am about to take some proffesional pictures of a family. I have 2 rolls of 25 exp. film and some ideas but not that many. its mostly just 3 kids that I'm gonna be taking the pictures of so could you please give me some extra ideas of some positions or poses I could use while taking these pictures?
It will be on Saturdays so if you could kind of make it speedy that would be great! Thanks!


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7/3/2003 8:11:27 PM

 
John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
  Dara,

Wow!! The only portraits tougher to do than children is pets! The subject of posing . . . especially children . . . is much to extensive to try to answer here for you.

First question that came to me is how old they are! How you pose them and how you go about posing them is very age dependent. Second question that quickly followed: are you doing this indoors (where? . . . home, studio, some other location such as church, school, etc.) or outdoors (where? . . . in general terms)?

Don't know how much you've worked with children before. If you've got some experience you should be OK. If not, you'll have to "wing it" and do the best you can. Toddlers can be very difficult subjects with short attention spans and spells of crankiness. Adolescents can be less than cooperative at times if they've firmly decided the portrait sitting is not something they want to do, regardless of what their parents want them to do, and that they'd rather be somewhere else doing something else. It can be bad enough they deliberately torpedo and sabotage everything to spite their parents. I've also encountered very inquisitive adolescents who are curious about the camera and other equipment. Satisfy their curiosity (to the extent you can safely) and make them feel important, and you'll often have a friend. I've gone so far as having one fire a strobe "to help me test it." Attention span depends on age. Nearly all teens are hypersensitive about their image and appearance. If they feel like you really care about that, you'll get their cooperation. If not, you won't. It can help sometimes to have a dialog with teens about what kind of pose and from what side/angle they think makes them look best . . . and cater to that with at least a few of the shots at the beginning.

Not that I haven't had disinterested and sometimes less than cooperative adults (some of whom have been certain they know more than I do). During one particular grouping, one of the adults kept jumping out to stand behind my shoulder and double-check how I was setting everyone else up. It had to have the "official seal of approval" before I could trip the shutter. Drove me nuts.

The adult issues don't happen very often, but the children ones are not uncommon.

My suggestion is using a search engine such as "Google" and finding professional studio sites that specialize in children's portraits. Study their on-line samples for the age ranges you'll be shooting and make notes about the ones you like. You will find younger children often with "props" . . . toys such as stuffed animls, large balls, or something similar. These give them something to keep their attention and provide a distraction from what you're doing. Ask the parents to have a couple of their favorite toys similar to the type you find on-line.

This has rambled a little, but hopefully will help you get through Saturday in one piece.

-- John


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7/3/2003 10:25:45 PM

 
John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
  Dara,
Just noted you mentioned 24 exp. rolls of film. This must be a consumer film of some type. Other than some very specialized films, pro films only come in 36 exp. rolls.

Consumer films are not the best for portraiture. They are intended for general purpose photography. While they're usually acceptable for skin tone color rendition, they can also be a bit punchy with saturation and higher contrast. May be too late for this one, but for the future you should consider using a professional portrait film which is designed to have more accurate color, not as much saturation and smoother skin tones.

Kodak makes a family of professional films called Portra specifically for wedding and portraiture, and they're different in a number of aspects from general purpose films. The ones to consider are Portra 160NC, 400NC, 160VC and 400VC. Use the ISO 160 if possible to keep tight grain for better enlargements. I don't recommend Portra 400UC. Why Kodak put it in with the rest of its Portra family baffles me as it is super saturated and totally different from the rest. It appeared about the time their Supra general purpose film family was being discontinued; Portra is their only professional color negative now.

Fuji makes similar wedding and portraiture films, NPS and NPH, and Agfa makes Portrait 160.

-- John


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7/4/2003 6:05:23 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  25 exp. film in all likelihood is APS. I don't think any of the professional films mentioned are available in APS.


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7/4/2003 7:57:09 AM

 
John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
  If it is APS, then MY BAD with a serious brain lapse. I think in terms of 25 frames and 37 frames with 35mm film as that's what I always get from it without trying to squeeze anything out of the beginning or end of roll.

If it is APS, you're absolutely right. There is NO pro film in that format. The consumer film selection for APS is very limited. Only thing available is color negative, and only in a couple of speeds. Even what's touted as B&W for APS is really color negative that renders shades of gray.

-- John


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7/4/2003 8:16:03 AM

 
Dara A. Hughes   Thanks for all your help
The answer to the questions above from John the ages of the kids are 4 2 and 10 months. I know it will be hard to keep their enthusiasm but since I am just a beginner it will be good practice. And we will be in our church so hopfully before tomorrow you will get this. Thanks again for all yalls help.


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7/4/2003 1:05:49 PM

 
John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
  Dara,
You will have to work with the 10 month old much differently than the 2 and 4 year olds. You undoubtedly know that already. I'm trying to remember at what age infants can support their own head fairly well . . . and believe that 10 months is past that. However, you may still have to devise something for the infant to lay on.

The "baby on a blanket" photograph sometimes isn't as easy as it looks. An infant separated from mom can turn on the water works very quickly. In a studio I've seen a padded bench without a back used with the mother laying on her back on the bench. A soft blanket is laid over the mother's stomach and chest and the infant laid on top of that. The photograph is only of the child and blanket without the mother showing but laying on mom's stomach and chest keeps the infant from having a "separation anxiety" attack. How workable and successful this might be depends on the build of the mother (her figure) and how secure she feels doing this (to keep the infant from falling). It can work in a partially reclined recliner as well if you can get up high. A tight shot won't show which way is up or down if you compose it well.

Just an idea . . . look at other infant photos and go from there. There's no problem including some with mom too. Some of those can turn out very nice and tender.

-- John


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7/4/2003 2:59:08 PM

 
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