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Photography QnA: Informative Topics on Photographing People

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Category: All About Photography : Photographing Specific Subjects : Informative Topics on Photographing People

Looking for informative topics on photographing people? Check out this Q&A for great suggestions!

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Photography Question 
Charles E. Mann

member since: 2/10/2006
  1 .  Reflectors: White vs. Gold
I've bought a set of reflectors that I like some of the looks I am getting. My problem is when I use the white it doesn't seem strong enough, but when I use the gold it looks better but overpowering, blinding even. Are there some tricks that may help? Thanks in advance.

7/31/2008 8:46:21 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
  The white reflector provides the softest, most even fill. Silver gets a harder fill. And gold begets the same harder fill AND changes the color temperature of that fill. Gold is best used for skin tones.
I never use gold, though, since I prefer to twiddle color temp in PP, because that can be more delicate and precise than using a gold reflector.
Have fun!

7/31/2008 9:48:54 AM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/16/2004
  I've recently moved to San Francisco from Orange County and shoot for a lot of swimwear companies. I've noticed in SoCal the models were obviously much more tan so I used gold reflectors more often. The silver is my most frequently used up in San Francisco. I used the white usually with a strobe since it's so minimal. You can even shoot a strobe through the white and use it as a diffuser. All and all, it's all kinda personal preference...

7/31/2008 9:14:20 PM


BetterPhoto Member
  Gold is used for warming skin tone mostly. Silver is a highlighting reflector. White is used most often and is the reflector that is most often sold. I mainly use white. I use silver very rarely, and use, like Oliver, gold for beach shots.
Have fun and keep shooting!

8/3/2008 1:27:41 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/9/2005
  Charles,
You didn't mention the size of the reflectors or material. These will also determine the overall effect besides color.
The brightness issue is easily handled by moving further away with the reflector if too bright; now you have to deal with "light spill". Different subject.
As mentioned, reflectors come in many sizes, shapes and reflective material. Some provide "hard" light, some "soft" and everything in between. Some reflect nearly 100 percent of the light "mirror" some reflect a low percentage such as a deeply textured flat white reflector.
Some cover a very small area, maybe just a subject's face, while some cover a huge amount of space such as photographing a full size jet aircraft and covering the walls of the hanger with white (or any color necessary) material if necessary.
It all comes down to size, material and reflectivity.
all the best,
Pete

8/3/2008 8:28:47 PM

Charles E. Mann

member since: 2/10/2006
  Thanks for the help everyone. I don't rememeber the size of the reflector, it folds and pops open, 18-22 inches? I diffently don't know what it's made of. I was talking the brightness of the gold, it made the subjects squint badly. Will try the moving farher away wih the Gold. the white I even tried moving closer, I was trying to fill shadows. will look into better materials.

8/4/2008 8:30:03 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
"it made the subjects squint badly"

If you use a reflector outdoors, in bright daylight, your subjects will of course ALWAYS squint: they're looking directly at a reflection of the sun, for gossakes!

Outdoors, in bright daylight, it is MUCH better to use fill-flash* while the subjects have the sun at their backs or sides: no undue squinting.

Have fun!

8/4/2008 10:18:52 AM

A C
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/6/2004
  get a larger reflector?

if I'm in the shade, the white doesn't do much good unless I grab some of that sun that isn't in the shade

make sense?

So I'll have my subject close to the edge of the shade (if I want them in the shade) so my reflector doesn't have to be. Then I use the white side

8/4/2008 4:52:15 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
And then your subject is again/still looking straight at a reflection of the sun! And squinting...

8/4/2008 11:24:23 PM

  I've found that using a large sheet of white foam core available through arts and crafts stores, produces a more reflective capability that my white Lite-Disc. I attach it to the PhotoDisc holder on a light stand when I don't have someone to hold it for me. Then, I aim my flash (or the sun) at the foam core and bounce that into the shadow of subject.

Or, when capturing subjects in open shade, and I don't want the harsh light of a flash directly on the subject, I use the larger light source (the flash bounced to the foam core) as my main light and the ambient light as fill.

This is a tip an local portrait photographer-instructor in Louisiana taught us as an inexpensive bounce lighting solution.

Bounce lighting when it comes from white foam core does not cause squinting unlike the sun, or gold/silver reflectors. It also produces good tonality on the skin with outdoor portraits from my experience.

8/5/2008 11:49:01 AM

Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/16/2004
  I shoot for clothing companies all the time...how I make a living. I use 2 reflectors all the time a 3 ft 5x1 and a 6ft 5x1. I recommend you just buy a 6fter on EBay...they fold up compact but a foam core piece doesn't. I think I paid $40 for it online...I mean how much cheaper can it get???? my local photo store would sell it for $175.

8/5/2008 12:33:21 PM

  Oliver, Charles has a set of Lite-Discs, already. I was just offering a more reflective alternative to the White Lite-Disc which is not that reflective in comparison. And, you are correct, the Lite-Discs fold up and are easier to carry than the foam core, but the foam core is highly reflective and is another inexpensive solution, which cost me less than $10/sheet.

8/5/2008 1:11:57 PM

Charles E. Mann

member since: 2/10/2006
  Thanks again BP family! All the advise is well recieved, can't wait to go try some of your ideas.

8/7/2008 7:50:03 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Heather House

member since: 6/25/2007
  2 .  Toddler Photos
I have been asked to take photos in an outdoor setting for their 2-year-old son. Does anyone have any suggestions for toddler shots?

6/12/2008 7:05:16 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
"Does anyone have any suggestions for toddler shots?"

Sure, Heather: type 'toddler' in the search box, hit Enter, and read up on the subject.

Have fun!

6/12/2008 8:22:22 AM

Mandi M. Wiltse
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/30/2007
  Heather-
I'm fairly new at "taking" pictures, but the more I take of my just turned 3-year-old son, the more I want to take!! Kids are so much fun. Go to a nice park and just let the child be themselves. Kids are unpredictable ... that's what is so fun about them and why you can really get some amazing shots. Especially around the age of two, their facial expressions are endless, and you never know what your going to get from them.
I have some photos in my gallery if you want to take a look. Nothing too spectacular - still learning my camera. Play around! It'll be so much fun!! :)
Good luck!!

6/12/2008 9:41:29 AM

Kathryn Love
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/8/2004
  I have 3 grandsons ages 3, 2, and 1. I find that always keeping the camera in my hand or very close is best. And sometimes, it's click, click, click, click ... there are always some goods shots after filling the card :) Posing them is a pain, so spontaneous and candid shots seem to prevail.

6/12/2008 1:03:17 PM

A C
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/6/2004
  Make sure you talk with the parents and have this scheduled for a time of day when the little guy is happy. My toddlers were usually better in the morning rather than evening (unless it was after a nap). If you do some posed shots, make sure to get some of those candid shots in as well. With young children, I get better results and more cooperation if I'm willing to let them choose some of their own poses.
Also, to get the kids warmed up, I sometimes let them take a picture with my camera. I keep the strap on my neck and all ... I just let them look through the viewfinder and push the button. At 2, he may or may not be a bit young; I did this with a 2-year-old a few weeks ago and it really helped break the ice!!!
Make sure Mom and Dad are dressed for the occasion. I know this photo shoot is all about the toddler, but when young children are fussy, they ease up when Mom or Dad holds them. Parents often like these shots a ton because they show that special bond they have with their child (last time I did pics of just the child, Mom wasn't dressed up or with makeup .... one of the larger prints she wanted was the pic with her and son ... I had to do more touch-up work in Photoshop, because she wasn't ready).

6/12/2008 6:05:01 PM

Mandi M. Wiltse
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/30/2007
  Great shots Cherylann! You just gave me a ton of ideas. Looks like you've captured kids in their so called "element" posed or not it looks like it's about the "child" not the picture.

You're great inspiration! I'm leaning to child photography.

6/12/2008 8:23:40 PM

Heather House

member since: 6/25/2007
  I really appreciate everyone's responses! Wow! This information will help a lot. Thanks so much!

6/13/2008 6:24:22 AM

Dennis H. Hernet

member since: 2/14/2006
  And don't forget to use a lot of "reverse psychology" if you want kids to do what you want them to do. Kids will NEVER do what an adult wants, especially during a photo session so just tell them "not to look at the baby" or "don't blow out the candles" and you'll end up with some great shots ... almost guaranteed. And like previous message ... never put the camera down, always stay alert.

6/17/2008 7:50:34 AM

  Little ones like to smell the flowers once you have shown them how. And it makes adorable pictures.

6/17/2008 4:51:59 PM

Mandi M. Wiltse
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/30/2007
 
 
 
here's a few that I did of the six month old I was talking about. He was sooo much fun!! Captured the drool and snot nose!

6/17/2008 8:17:31 PM

Mandi M. Wiltse
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/30/2007
 
 
  devyin
devyin
 
  devyin 2
devyin 2
 
  my favorite
my favorite
 
 
here's a few that I did of the six month old I was talking about. He was sooo much fun!! Captured the drool and snot nose!

6/17/2008 8:23:30 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
As they say: a face only a mother could love...

6/18/2008 2:12:57 AM

Mandi M. Wiltse
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/30/2007
  YOU'RE VERY RUDE!! WE COULD ONLY IMAGINE WHAT YOUR KIDS LOOK LIKE!! :(

6/18/2008 6:32:42 AM

Danea Burleson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/30/2002
  New to posting on the boards and had a couple of comments. To the original poster. Just click away. Remember to get down to their level. Try different angles, above, level, below. Angle your camera for different perspectives. You are bound to get a few great shots!

Mandi your son is adorable! Fun shots too!

As for the w.smith...I have been reading through the forums and noting his comments. It was obvious he had an attitude and then I came upon this and was completely disgusted at his above comment. Not sure how he's getting away with being such a jerk on these forums but he's definitely one to ignore...or report.

6/22/2008 12:30:48 PM


BetterPhoto Member
  W may have an attitude, but he does chim in with some good information at times. If you cut through the static, you may find the results. As for shooting toddlers, keep your camera at the ready. I am supposing that you are going to a park. just be ready for the great frames. IA child in their own element is a wealth of the best photography. Relax and have fun.

6/23/2008 5:42:00 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
"YOU'RE VERY RUDE!! WE COULD ONLY IMAGINE WHAT YOUR KIDS LOOK LIKE!!"

Oh, and shouting at the top of your lungs and posting disgusting details like "Captured the drool and snot nose!" is not?

LOL!

6/24/2008 12:00:27 PM

Mandi M. Wiltse
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/30/2007
  I guess your right. No need to argue with your ignorance is there?? Maybe if you had kids you'd know that, that is in fact part of their nature.

Maybe the lord did ALL of us a favor and didn't let you reproduce!! We can only HOPE!!!
LOL!!!

6/24/2008 1:59:32 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Wrong again, dear. You can also pray. Seeing as you think you have friends in high places.

But FYI: this board is about photography. Not about kids or oversensitive egos. Please stay on topic.

Relax, and have some fun with our common interest: photography. Isn't that why you came here?

6/24/2008 2:25:03 PM

Mandi M. Wiltse
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/30/2007
  maybe you should listen to your own advice.

I posted some photos of a child and you in turn said nothing about the nature of the photos regarding photography. Instead you posted one of your usual "sarcastic" remarks which you are oh so well known for on here. Needless to say picked on an innocent child!

So when you can start giving some constructive criticsm, I'd gladly be willing to take it as a grain of salt.

I'm relaxed. I just wish you'd take some time to think about the things you post. Unless it is your intention to post hurtful things??

6/24/2008 3:01:54 PM

Danea Burleson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/30/2002
  "Wrong again, dear. You can also pray. Seeing as you think you have friends in high places.

But FYI: this board is about photography. Not about kids or oversensitive egos. Please stay on topic.

Relax, and have some fun with our common interest: photography. Isn't that why you came here?"


LOL.

Mandi, he really doesn't get it. He's just trying to push your buttons. This thread actually WAS about kids and you posted in response. I agree that he has a lack of knowledge, most of his responses are of the "search it yourself" nature.

It would be a much more fun a place, without people like this but it looks like we don't have much of a choice were he is concerned. It's just to bad there wasn't an ignore user button as there are on other forums..haha.

6/24/2008 3:28:47 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Relax your gluteus maximus, dear.

6/24/2008 3:29:47 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
 
And I got an email about the other thread?

6/24/2008 9:10:36 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
If you say so.
What email? What other thread?

6/24/2008 9:37:43 PM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  The flash bracket/concert photos thread where I made the joke about English people being grumpy.

6/24/2008 10:10:19 PM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Seems mothers and grandmothers qualify too, doesn't it?

LOL!

6/25/2008 3:10:27 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member
gregorylagrange.org

member since: 11/11/2003
  You know you would've liked that baby if it looked like Winston Churchill.

6/25/2008 10:31:05 AM

W. 

member since: 9/25/2006
 
Sadist!
Baby's aren't supposed to smoke cigars!

6/25/2008 11:07:25 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
 
 
 
There is a lot of info on childrens photography here, try reading
"The Studio Photography Threads"
I'm sure you get a LOT out of them
1-23 parts.
Here is part #1
PART1:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/QnAdetail.asp?threadID=17534

as you move into the other threads you will see discussions on Posing all age groups,templets, doing business and starting a studio.
I had people asking for this info so I created CDs as well to help, you can see them on Ebay or by emailing me.

I hope this helps,
Debby TAbb

6/27/2008 10:34:41 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
  There is a lot of info on childrens photography here, try reading
"The Studio Photography Threads"
I'm sure you get a LOT out of them
1-23 parts.
Here is part #1
PART1:
http://www.betterphoto.com/forms/QnAdetail.asp?threadID=17534

as you move into the other threads you will see discussions on Posing all age groups,templets, doing business and starting a studio.
I had people asking for this info so I created CDs as well to help, you can see them on Ebay or by emailing me.

I hope this helps,
Debby TAbb

6/27/2008 10:35:44 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Adrienne Brand
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/13/2004
  3 .  Beach Portraits
I'm going to shoot a friend's family on the beach this weekend (digital, but in BW), and I've been doing some research. This is some of the advice I'm going to try to follow. Am I missing anything?
Protect the camera. ISO around 200. Keep an eye on DOF. Take shots toward the dunes as well. Watch the horizon. Polarizing and/or UV filter. Exposure bracketing. Spot metering. Fill flash when needed.
What color clothing is best? Someone here at BP said red, but the mom wants BW photos. Should I shoot in color and convert in PS or shoot BW photos straight-away? I also have a 52"-round diffuser - should I bother to bring it or will it blow me away?
Thanks!
~ Adrienne

6/25/2007 12:21:49 PM

Adrienne Brand
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/13/2004
  Ooh - forgot these:
I'll have my lens hood with me too. I'm going to ask the family to not wear patterns. And I will tell them to bring any simple props as needed (pail/shovel). I might bring seed/bread to lure in some seagulls. What's the best for white balance? A friend loaned me one of those new gadgets. Thanks again!

6/25/2007 12:24:35 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  I'll pick out a few of your points to comment on.
- If you are using a digital camera (which you are), you should ALWAYS shoot in color and convert to B&W on the computer. They may see the color images and love them. If you shoot in B&W, you are limited to B&W.
- Your lens hood should definitely be used.
- Set your white balance to Auto or Daylight - don't waste time with a white balance gadget.
- I would advise against the seagull idea. The people are your subjects - don't detract from them. Also, seagulls don't take posing directions well. ;-)
- I've seen lots of beach portraits done with khaki shorts and white shirts, or denim shorts and white shirts. I don't think the color of the shirts matters that much, as long as all the subjects are coordinated. I always ask clients to avoid wearing any shirts with words on them. I just don't like seeing that in a portrait.
- If the 52" diffuser is a reflector, it may be handy if your group is not large, and you have an assistant to hold it. Otherwise, don't bother.
- What time are you planning to shoot? Morning and evening are better for avoiding harsh shadows in eyesockets. No amount of fill flash will help you on a bright beach at noon.
Chris A. Vedros
www.cavphotos.com

6/25/2007 1:30:08 PM

Adrienne Brand
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/13/2004
  Oh - thought I put that in there. I scheduled them for 10 AM cause I figured if the weather is bogus, we can return around 4 and try again. What do you think?

Thanks for your help!

~ a

6/25/2007 2:14:44 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/14/2005
  I would start earlier than that. Unless you're in a place that is usually foggy and hazy in the morning, you should have plenty of light by 9 AM. If you schedule for 10, then someone runs late, allow some time for setup, shoot multiple poses, etc., you'll end up with the sun quite high in the sky.

Of course, I'm in the deep South. The timing may be different on Long Island. You can look outside at 10 AM to see how high the sun is there to get an idea of what your shadows would be like.

Good luck,
Chris A. Vedros
www.cavphotos.com

6/25/2007 2:30:28 PM

Adrienne Brand
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/13/2004
  That makes complete sense - I'll tell them 9 AM and "shoot" for the best.

Thanks again - this has been a great help. (If you think of anything else let me know!)

Maybe I'll post a few results?

~ Adrienne

6/26/2007 4:54:21 PM

Amy L. Buckenmayer

member since: 4/2/2007
  Hey Adrienne,

First, I would avoid shooting anytime between 10:30 - 2:30 on a sparkling sunny day to avoid extreme highlight blow outs in the sky and on your bride. It also can produce the harshest shadows on your subject. If you have a light reflector and a willing friend, you can channel the sun and bounce light where you want it. Light in the early morning and late afternoon is the warmest and will make a HUGE difference.

Second, you mentioned exposure bracketing which is going to come in SO handy when trying to get your bride's whites white and any blacks black. Watch your histogram, and shoot up a stop and down a stop to be completely sure the whites don't come out gray.

Finally, one of the greatest things I have ever been taught: When shooting people always use your AF and focus on their eyes. If you use the eyes as the focal point, it will be the sharpest part of the photo and completely draw the viewer in.

Best of luck and HAVE FUN!
Amy Buckenmayer

6/29/2007 1:55:13 PM

Rom A.G.

member since: 2/16/2005
  What the mom wants today, is not what she will want tomorrow. Better to shoot color and convert to b/w.
In bright sun light use ISO100, f/8, 1/200.
When Sun is down, ISO200-400.

6/29/2007 7:12:02 PM

Adrienne Brand
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/13/2004
  I think nerves definitely plays a big part in it! Even though I've known the family forever, I was still nervous!

The sun was ridiculous - that time of day was impossible to shoot.

The seaweed on the beach also threw off the exposure because it was so dark!

Here's a link to one of the photos:


http://www.betterphoto.com/gallery/dynoGallDetail.asp?photoID=4218794

7/17/2007 7:46:32 AM

Respond | Ask Your Own Question
 
Photography Question 
Melinda Hambrick
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/19/2005
  4 .  Moving Subject, Low Light
 
I have a Nikon D50, and I'm trying to shoot pictures of a friend who wants a photo of himself walking down a railroad track with his guitar slung on his back. We went out recently on a foggy, overcast morning. I wanted to use the natural light, and I used a tripod. Based on what I saw on my LCD screen, everything looked great. But when I got them home, none of my images were sharp. If I had set a high enough shutter speed to capture him in motion, the overall lighting was too dark. If I lowered the shutter speed to let in more light, the track was sharp but his motion made him out of focus, and often, the whole picture was blurry. I had the white balance set at "cloudy" and the ISO at 200. I've attached a couple of pictures as examples. Can you advise me on what to do when I re-shoot these pictures? Also, what can I do about pictures appearing well-lit on my LCD screen, but way too dark on my computer when I get them home?

4/13/2007 3:28:25 PM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/24/2005
  Melinda, I assume you want the subject - your friend - to be sharp as well as the track. If you need the entire scene in focus, you'll need a small aperture - large f/number such as in the f/16 - f/22 range. This, however, would require a slow shutter speed, making it difficult to get the moving object in sharp focus. You could use the external flash if you have one, or even try the on-camera flash, but with little chance of success I think.
I think your problem likely lies with where you are focusing. You could try to use the continuous focus setting which follows the moving subject. Another way, and maybe simpler, would be pre-focusing at the point where you want the subject to be when you take the image. Pick a place and put in a marker such as a larger stone that won't be noticable in the image. In fact, I see a larger stone at his feet in one of your photos. Have the subject stand at that point and obtain a sharp focus. Now, without resetting the focal point, take the image when he gets to that marker.John

4/13/2007 4:28:13 PM

Melinda Hambrick
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/19/2005
  Thanks so much for the suggestions! I like the idea of pre-focusing. I'll definitely give that a try.

Melinda

4/13/2007 5:53:44 PM

Mike Rubin
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/15/2004
  Why do you need to actually have him walking, Couldn't you just pose him as if he were walking? Just a thought.

4/13/2007 6:46:00 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  Not just a thought. Look at the photos you have and duplicate his stance.you cannot get dof and slow shutter speed any other way.even with pre focusing your still going to get a slow shutter speed.
f8 and 800 might get a bit closer,but I really don't think so.kinda throws the dof out.
your pushing some limits there.

4/13/2007 8:44:29 PM

Melinda Hambrick
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/19/2005
  Thanks for all the great advice. It definitely helps to have input from others. I like the idea of posing him - it does seem the most foolproof way.

Melinda

4/13/2007 9:41:23 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  >>"... and the ISO at 200."<<
Agree with Chris on the duplicate thread. At ISO 200 you're not getting a shutter speed fast enough to stop the subject's motion. Raise the ISO. Setting 400 will give a shutter speed twice as fast which should stop the motion. I like the shallow DoF in the sample shots, I would not go with a smaller aperture.

4/14/2007 7:11:04 AM

Melinda Hambrick
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/19/2005
  Thanks, Jon. I'll give that a try. I wondered if the ISO was too low, but I had read somewhere that it was usually best to keep your ISO on the lowest setting your camera offered in order to reduce graininess. I knew my friend was planning to enlarge the image a little, and wanted to avoid that. But I'll definitely try 400 and see if that helps.

4/14/2007 7:32:01 AM

Joe Ciccone
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 3/7/2005
  A couple of things I might try in difficult lighting situations...
1- the ISO...actually 800 might have been a better choice, the additional 'noise' might have hardly been a problem in the misty conditions.
2-instead of playing with the White Balance...shoot RAW/Jpeg.... with the RAW shots you have total control over the White Balance.
3-try using #12- Bracket Setting in your Camera's menu... it will give you 3 shots at different exposures, or if you only want to shoot Jpeg, can be set to shot 3 choices of White Balance.

4/17/2007 5:39:21 AM

Solomon Kraner

member since: 4/12/2007
  Hi Melinda,
I agree with the advice to raise the ISO if you are not going to make a large print. Also remember that the cameras white balance is catching all incoming lights and average them. Do not point the camera high to avoid the light from the sky.

4/17/2007 8:18:15 AM

Melody L. Hollowell

member since: 6/11/2006
  Hi Melinda,

Did you meter the light where he will be? and also I like to use my histogram to determine whether I have the right exposure or not. My instructure said to not rely on the LCD because it can be misleading.
Have you used the auto white balance?
I have very good success with that and concentrate on the right exposure. Experiment with everything and find out what is good for you.

Melody

4/17/2007 8:24:20 AM

Melinda Hambrick
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/19/2005
  Thanks all, for the great advice! I'll let you know how it goes when we re-shoot.

Melinda

4/17/2007 10:41:06 AM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  you won't like anything over 400 iso.
experience will only catch the fog and light and result in a capture.your going for a mood.
well I did get a laugh out of instructure,let it go.
plan as you will,those conditions are not in the yellow pages.best of luck,sam

4/18/2007 8:12:01 PM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/4/2005
  Why not try a different time, like late afternoon when the sun is going down and the light would be more golden maybe. You may also have more light tot work with. You can add to this "folksy" look by adding more golden and sepia colours in PhotoShop.... or just keep it B&W and give it a "diffuse glow".... and maybe add "more" grain for that rough look. Grain can be good, depending on the topic and subject matter.
I use Canon, but assume Nikon can also adjust your LCD screen to better match your end result with dark display pics. Trial and error until you get it right.
PS: This topic... "man-on-railway-tracks-with-guitar-on-back" has been done a million times and is somewhat cliched. Why not start off with this in mind, but look for a new angle on the subject as you progress.

4/19/2007 8:54:13 PM

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Photography Question 
Robyn Gwilt
BetterPhoto Member
robyngphotography.com

member since: 7/15/2005
  5 .  Slower Shutter vs Higher F/stop?
When shooting a group in low light/shade, would you go for a slower shutter speed to gain a higher F stop? Say, 1/30s/F16? Or, rather, go for a higher shutter speed (eg 1/160 and drop to F5.6 or thereabouts)? I would use fill flash, by the way.
Thanks

1/13/2007 1:41:21 PM

Donald R. Curry
BetterPhoto Member
wildlifetrailphotography.com

member since: 3/2/2006
  The higher f-stop will give a greater depth of field, ensuring the entire group is in focus.

1/13/2007 6:49:23 PM

Mike Rubin
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/15/2004
  Depending on your lens, distance from the group and how may rows of people, you may want to concentrate on the f/stop. Most consumer-grade lenses get soft when you stop down to f/16 or more. I'm not an expert on portraits, but would try to use the f/stop that is considered the "sweet spot" for the lens you are using.

1/13/2007 7:44:40 PM

anonymous A. 

member since: 9/19/2005
  1/30 should be quite fast enough, Robyn, unless your group is running amok! The greater depth of field is more valuable to you in this situation.

1/13/2007 9:45:32 PM

Robyn Gwilt
BetterPhoto Member
robyngphotography.com

member since: 7/15/2005
  Thanks Donald and Mike - I realise the higher the F/stop number, the better chance of the whole group being in focus - but with a group of say 10 people, chances are someone's going to move slightly, or would you say that it wouldn't be that noticeable at 1/30s, and rather go for the F11 , 14, or 16 if possible?

1/13/2007 9:45:59 PM

Robyn Gwilt
BetterPhoto Member
robyngphotography.com

member since: 7/15/2005
  Thanks David - sorry I replied at the same time - I guess you answered the question. As getting the whole group in focus is more important.

1/13/2007 10:36:20 PM

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Photography Question 
Lynsey Lund
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/14/2005
  6 .  Background and Skin Tones
I'm shooting an engagement session in about 2 weeks. The couple wants to go up to Red Rocks near Denver. The place is gorgeous, but as the name implies, the rocks are all the browny-red. If they are positioned in front of the rocks, is there anything I need to know about how that will affect their skin tones? I'm worried about that red being reflected into their faces and making them appear a different color. Should I have them wear/stay away from certain colors? Does white reflect it more in the face, would green counteract anything? One last thing...I'm still learning the whole white-balance thing. I shoot with a D70 ... is it OK to leave it on Auto in this kind of situation, or should I try to use one of the other modes? Thanks for your experienced input!

10/28/2005 8:35:59 AM

  I've been there: beautiful place. I wouldn't think that with their backs to the rocks that reflection would be much of a problem. ...

10/28/2005 11:31:10 AM

Ryan Jones
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/14/2005
  Auto white balance is perfectly fine. The D70 is a very capable camera (I use it) and will adjust the white balance settings wonderfully. If you have access to Nikon Capture or Photoshop, then white balance is no issue at all! I recommend shooting all your pictures in Raw format (NEF for Nikon) for when you open the images in the previously mentioned programs, white balance can be adjusted to anything you want. When you work in Raw, you can almost "retake" any image on your computer!

10/29/2005 2:49:02 AM

Maria Melnyk

member since: 5/2/2004
  Make sure that their clothing complements the red rocks. Although I love white clothing for photographs, I would use something along the lines of off-white, or earth tones, or any warm-toned solid colors. I often want the couple to stand out from the background (that's one reason for the white clothing), but this sounds like something where you would want to give the rocks a little more attention.

11/3/2005 10:09:00 PM

Lynsey Lund
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/14/2005
  Thanks for all the comments....I appreciate the info! I shoot on Sunday....its supposed to be a nice day. Lets hope they turn out well!

11/4/2005 6:22:39 AM

Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/26/2005
  Another Colorado photographer!! Yeah!! I can't wait to see the images! Will you post some and let us know after your shoot! :)

11/4/2005 6:46:33 AM

Lynsey Lund
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/14/2005
  Sure will...unless they all suck then I'll be too embarrassed =o) Should have some up the end of next week or so.

11/4/2005 6:59:31 AM

Melissa  L. Zavadil
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/26/2005
  I am SURE they won't suck!! Redrocks at is worst is STILL beautiful!! :) You will do great! Trust in yourself and have the confidence!! :)

11/4/2005 8:24:20 AM

Lynsey Lund
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/14/2005
 
 
 
Well, I finally got my photos uploaded and edited. They decided they didn't want to go to Red Rocks (darn, I was looking forward to it). We went to a park in Westminster (I think, might have been Broomfield or Thornton?) called Lake Arbor Park? Anyway, it was pretty nice, here's a couple good shots. Thanks for all the advice, I want to shoot up there so I will use the input someday!

11/18/2005 12:15:18 PM

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Photography Question 
Sharee M. Keener

member since: 10/13/2005
  7 .  Using a Backdrop Outdoors
I have been asked to do a shoot outside using a backdrop. It is light gray with a sheer sparkle fabric overlay and a few props. I will be shooting in a shady area with little or no direct sunlight. It is a small youth sports team's homecoming. I am concerned with shadows and overexposed areas of the image due to the uncontrolled environment. Is it possible to get good sellable shots with this shooting condition? If so, how would I go about it?
sincerely, shareebee

10/13/2005 6:16:28 PM

John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 8/18/2005
  No direct light means even exposures. As long as the light is sufficient, the photos should turn out okay if you do your job. With only indirect lighting, contrast and overexposure shouldn't be a problem.
You don't tell us what kind of camera you're shooting. If it's digital, then you can take a couple of test exposures and check out the histograms/images for proper exposure. Or, you can always measure exposure off of the light grey background ... or bring an 18% grey card to meter from.
If you have the gear (strobes), then you can always use them and set your exposure so that the available light meters a stop or two darker.
Not a hard problem. Just get out there and spend a few minutes shooting and you'll answer your questions.

10/14/2005 4:38:33 AM

Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member
imagismphotos.com

member since: 2/27/2003
  Sharee,

If you are going to be in complete shade, exposure should be the least of your concerns -- it should be fairly consistent. However, wind could be a nightmare using a backdrop. Will you somehow be sheltered from the wind? If not, you'd better bring some serious anchoring devices. Hope your shoot goes well.

God Bless,
Greg

10/18/2005 6:12:45 AM

Karen E. Michaels
karenemichaels.com

member since: 8/24/2004
  If you are using film, take the polaroids as your tests. No one can control the weather, so, Bricks or slate roof tiles make good anchors, or you may be able to move to the side of a building or dugout. Good luck, and let us know how your work turned out. Peace, karen

10/18/2005 9:58:05 AM

Sharee M. Keener

member since: 10/13/2005
  Thanks for all the advice! I am trying to get it moved indoors. I hope everything works out either way.I am using two fairly small umbrella lights with my Canon 10D. do you think I will need any additional flashes? Sharee

10/18/2005 7:04:58 PM

Greg McCroskery
BetterPhoto Member
imagismphotos.com

member since: 2/27/2003
  Sharee,
As long as your lights will allow you to get at least f8 aperture for good depth of field, you should be fine with two -- any more lighting equipment for this kind of a group photo is probably overkill. I regularly shoot large wedding groupings with nothing more than a bracket mounted flash and my clients are more than pleased with the results.
God Bless,
Greg

10/19/2005 9:34:40 AM

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Photography Question 
Megan McKenzie

member since: 9/18/2005
  8 .  Backdrop Materials
Does anyone know that, if I buy my own muslin material to make a backdrop, will the seam be visable in my pictures? Other than muslin, what is another good material to use? I heard that you can also use vinyl. Any help would be great.

9/18/2005 3:42:52 PM

Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/1/2004
  If you buy the muslin in 108 or 120 inches, you shouldn't have a seam. You can get it this wide at most fabric stores ... at Hobby Lobby, it's about $5.97 regular price, but they run 33-percent off and on!

9/18/2005 6:27:13 PM

Scott 

member since: 8/19/2005
  I have used a wide variety of materials to make my own backdrops. I have purchased canvas and painted it by hand, and I have also used king sized bed sheets (the higher the thread count the better) and dyed them as I wished. For specific colors you can go the "Rit dye" site and they have a color blending chart. If you need to have a seam, make it so it hangs on the floor where your backdrop goes from vertical to horizontal ... it's practically invisible that way. And if you position your subject matter far enough away from the backdrop, it won't be visible at all. However, I still like muslin the best and it's just as easy to customize.

9/20/2005 11:04:51 AM

Haley  Crites

member since: 3/23/2001
  I bought muslin and did not have a seam. I sponge-painted it, and it turned out really nice. I also dyed one that was OK, too. You could buy velvet material. I also have heard about vinyl and would be interested in learning more about that too!

9/20/2005 11:45:01 AM

  I have been using king-size sheets. I pick them up at discount retailers, and they're a great size without a seam. I buy 2 of the same color ... they cover the wall and floor space. Just a thought!

9/20/2005 6:07:14 PM

Kathy C. Tugwell
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 6/16/2005
  You can make anything a backdrop. You can buy the paper backdrops for 40.00 - you can paint them or just use them as is. Sheets, Curtains, paint-drop cloths (canvas ones). If you do get the muslin and have to put a seam in it, just drape it where the seam is. Have fun with the backdrops ... and experiment.

9/20/2005 6:59:47 PM

Sandra 
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/31/2002
  Hi Megan,
You can buy a canvas drop cloth in large size, in the paint dept. at hardware stores (including Home Depot). A 9 x 12 you can get under $20. You can dye them, paint them or use them as is ... they come in beige or white. Hope this helps.
Sandra

9/20/2005 7:31:14 PM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/13/2004
  Oh wow, canvas in that size for less than $20?? I'm definitely going to have to check that out!

9/20/2005 8:51:23 PM

Sandra 
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/31/2002
  Hi Andrew,
I live in Louisiana and we have a store called "Big Lots". It's a discount store - sometimes they have a Butyl drop cloth 9x12 medium weight for $7.99, and it works GREAT as a backdrop. You can also dye or paint it. If you have a Big Lots where you live, check them out.
Sandra

9/20/2005 10:35:37 PM

Linda R. Baker
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/31/2004
  Everybody has some great tips. I use fleece material, it comes in all colors( so you don't have to paint) and sticks to the wall with velco tape. I have also used felt that you buy by the yard and 2 yards makes a nice back drop for head & neck portrait. Again I use velco and secure it to the wall.
Good Luck,
Linda

9/28/2005 2:21:04 PM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  I just got some muslin at Joanne Fabrics over the weekend that was 108 inches in width, I got 10 yards at $4.99 a yard and the lovely thing about Joanne's is I can usually get a 50% off coupon either in the mail or in the sunday paper, so I got enough for two 15ft long backdrops for only $25.00 with the coupon...

I am wanting to tie die one to try to achieve a mottled look, I bought 4 colors to blend...What do ya think about hanging the muslin on a clothes line and then using spray bottles and spray/mist the die on. I am wondering if I might have better control over the mottled look that way in stead of tying the fabric and dipping in a bucket...I'm gonna do it this weekend, if it turns out okay I'll post a pic in this thread...

I am also going to lay a piece out flat on my drive way on top of plastic and drizzle and sponge two colors, school colors so I can take senior pics for my nephew. A friend suggested that I get maybe have a spray bottle near with water and maybe mist some areas also....We'll see if it turns out.

I seen the canvas at HD/Lowes but they were dingy and ivory and I wanted a white white background and wasn't sure about bleaching the canvas drop cloths and wasn't sure it woudl fit in my washing machine.

I too have used king size flat sheets for backgrounds as well and they work great. I have a background stand now but before I got this one my husband put together some pvc and I had a homemade stand and I would sew a pocket in the top of my fabric/sheet kinda like a curtain so I could slide it on to the the pvc, which worked great.

If you live near a Joanne Fabrics store or any fabric store, check with them they will probably have 108 inch muslin fabric. I'll let ya know if my tie die and painting work like I have it pictured in my head.

~Donna

9/28/2005 6:02:51 PM

Liza M. Franco
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/26/2004
  Donna, sometimes if you dampen fabric with a spray bottle with water in it first it will let the fabric dye spread instead of being absorbed all at once in the spot where it was sprayed. The colors may bleed into each other nicely that way.

9/28/2005 8:05:50 PM

Nicole Kessel

member since: 4/30/2004
  A drop cloth! Why didn't I think of that! Thanks, Sandra!

Megan, you can buy muslin in wide widths at most Wal-Mart stores, too! They also sell black velour which is fantastic for a solid black backdrop.

9/28/2005 8:48:04 PM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Liza thats what I was thinking too so keep your finger crossed for me. I'll let ya know. I am actually going to wash the fabric first and leave it wet and then start spraying the different colors of dye. I think with it all spreadout and hanging that I will have control over the colors and be able to step back and take a look and see where I need more of one color or the other.

9/29/2005 3:16:59 AM

Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
  to get a nice mottled canvas look, try dying it the base color then using house paint mixed with water sponge the other colors on.
dry flat.

9/29/2005 7:14:24 AM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
 
 
 
Well, Okay I am including a pic of how I hung the cloth. I used a clothes line out back and because the fabric was 9 ft by 15 ft. I ended up having to fold it in half and hanging it length wise on the line and ended up spraying both sides. I mixed the dye up in the cheapy spray bottles from walmart one bottle for each color and I used dark brown, navy, medium blue and purple, and then I just kept spraying and spraying and I was real happy with it. I'll know once it drys and I get to use it with the studio lights how its going to look.

Now I am going to go do the painted background with my nephew's school colors. My plan is to lay it out on plastic sheeting and drizzle paint, sponge some and rag some. I'll let ya know how it looks.
~Donna

10/2/2005 8:11:54 AM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
 
 
  pic 1
pic 1
 
  pic 2
pic 2
 
  pic 3
pic 3
 
 
Well, Okay I am including a pic of how I hung the cloth. I used a clothes line out back and because the fabric was 9 ft by 15 ft. I ended up having to fold it in half and hanging it length wise on the line and ended up spraying both sides. I mixed the dye up in the cheapy spray bottles from walmart one bottle for each color and I used dark brown, navy, medium blue and purple, and then I just kept spraying and spraying and I was real happy with it. I'll know once it drys and I get to use it with the studio lights how its going to look.

Now I am going to go do the painted background with my nephew's school colors. My plan is to lay it out on plastic sheeting and drizzle paint, sponge some and rag some. I'll let ya know how it looks.
~Donna

10/2/2005 8:12:10 AM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
 
 
 
Here is a couple different pics of the painted background. I think it turned out pretty neat.

10/2/2005 10:59:13 AM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
 
 
  pic 1
pic 1
 
  pic 2
pic 2
 
 
Here is a couple different pics of the painted background. I think it turned out pretty neat.

10/2/2005 10:59:22 AM

Cyndee Wanyonyi
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 4/7/2005
  What kind of paint do you put in your spray bottles? Do you mix the water with the paint??

10/4/2005 1:14:38 PM

Donna L. Cuic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/5/2003
  Cynthia, The purple/blue muslin I used Ritz dye that ya get at the store and mix with water....the blue/gold muslin I got a quart of indoor house paint at walmart, the cheap stuff. I never used paint in the spray bottles, just the dye in the 1st one, the paint I sponged on with a natural sponge and then dipped a brush in and drizzled over the fabric...I then used the spray bottle w/plain water and misted water over the paint to make the paint bleed onto the fabric....it all went pretty slick....
~Donna

10/4/2005 3:10:43 PM

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Photography Question 
Kimberly A. Totten

member since: 5/27/2004
  9 .  Photographing a Large Group
I have been asked to take an outside family portrait (four families) that include 9 adults and 6 children. I have the 28-135mm Canon IS Lens and shoot with the Canon Digital Rebel. I was pretty confident with this set-up until I started reading some other questions and answers regarding large groups. Everyone seems to recommend a 50mm lens. Do you feel my lens will be adequate to make a sharp, clear picture without any distortions?

6/9/2005 12:24:39 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/21/2004
  I think you'll be allright ... 15 people isn't that big of a group. You've got a good camera and a good lens. The light will be the important thing.
sam

6/9/2005 7:03:39 PM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/27/2001
  Be wary of doing this at the wide-angle end of your lens. It's better to keep to a more "normal" focal length and back up some. Using a wide angle with group photographs can cause an unnatural looking perspective "distortion" of people near the frame edges, especially with people's heads, and especially if their heads are near the corners.

6/10/2005 12:00:01 AM

Kimberly A. Totten

member since: 5/27/2004
  Thanks John and Sam for your reponse!

6/10/2005 6:31:08 AM

  What I've learned when using a wide angle lens to photograph a group of people is that the people on the outside of that group look broader than the people on the inside. Unless the people are skinny, they will appear to have gained signficiant weight. And, if they are already heavy set, you might want to place them into the center of the frame, or use a "normal" lens and place your camera above the group, such as from a balcony. Have the group look up at you.

Wide angle lenses distort, especially at the edges, where they broaded the subjects, by it a mountain or a person's body. Especially with women, most of us don't desire to visually gain weight by being placed on the outside edges of a group when a wide angle lens is used to capture that image.

6/14/2005 2:40:15 AM

  What I've learned when using a wide angle lens to photograph a group of people is that the people on the outside of the frame appear broader in girth than the people on the inside. Unless the people are skinny, they will appear to have gained signficiant weight. And, if they are already heavy set, you might want to place them into the center of the frame, or use a "normal" lens and place your camera above the group, such as from a balcony.

Wide angle lenses distort, especially at the edges, where they broaden the base--add girth to the subject, be it a mountain or a person's body. Especially with women, most of us don't desire to visually gain weight by being placed on the outside edges of a group when a wide angle lens is used to capture that image.

6/14/2005 2:45:49 AM

Norbert Maile

member since: 7/28/2004
  Don't worry. Keep in mind that you do have a 50mm lens right now,,, and a 35 and a 100. You get the idea. set it at the highest you can, and still get everyone in the shot. It will look great.

6/14/2005 10:38:43 PM

John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/24/2005
  Kimberly, there is an excellent article in Shutterbug magazine, april 2004.

address:

http://www.shutterbug.net/features/0404sb_howto/index.html

VR

John

6/15/2005 10:42:40 AM

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Photography Question 
Christine S. Sines

member since: 3/5/2003
  10 .  Outdoor Portraits: How to Eliminate Shadows?
Can someone help me with eliminating shadows on a subject's face when taking a portrait outside? I have been taking some senior shots outside and, for example, if we are doing a "tree" shot there are shadows of the sun shining through. What is a good way to stop this, or at least calm them down a little?

4/30/2005 9:08:06 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Two options:

(a) Use a reflector, or
(b) Use fill flash.

5/1/2005 1:55:36 PM

Josh Hudson
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 7/26/2003
  The best way to do an outdoor portrait is to use a GOBO (GO between). This can be any material translucent or opaque that shades the subject from the sun. I prefer a GOBO that cuts 1/2 stop or 1 stop of the suns direct light.

Then you can use a reflector or flash to fill in the light again. Always meter for your background and then light your subject accordingly (1/2 stop more than the background).

That means if you are shooting in a park that meters at f/8, 1/250sec. Then but the gobo up. That will remove all shadows because chances are the shadow side of the subjects face will be f/5.6 and a 1 stop gobo will even the shadow and the highlights of the subjects face to both be f/5.6.

Now you can put in just a little bit of reflected light back into the face and meter that light so that it is f/8 or f/9. This will give you a subject that is slightly brighter than the background giving prominence to the subject over the rest of the image.

The light you have reflected in will be softer light and controlled so you can make whatever shadows you want and where so that it is the most pleasing.

5/3/2005 12:40:12 PM

  Or you can shoot on an overcast day -- wonderful for portraits!

5/3/2005 2:16:47 PM

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