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Thread: Portrait Photo Techniques: How to...?

  1. #1
    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    Default Portrait Photo Techniques: How to...?

    Hi all.

    I've invited a friend of mine who showed me her make-over shots to let me photograph her as well. I don't have a studio nor know how to use one so I have decided to go outdoor and shoot photos of her.

    I've been reading online forums, discussions and articles on portraiture (is that what it's called?) but would like to get your views and tips since this will be the first time I have a model to pose for me.

    I'd like to hear your views on things like what she should wear (I'm thinking of going to Sunset bay, Sentosa during 5-7pm, any other suggestions too?), how she should pose (I know I shouldn't restrict her to look this way or face that way too much, but what I'd like to know what looks good, or rather "flattering"), lighting and shadows and it's effects etc etc.

    I'm only using a cp5700 which has an 8x zoom (around 35-280mm equivalent?) at f/2.8 - f/4.0. So I'm wondering if the aperture is small enuff to limit my DOF so that I can isolate her in the foreground and get a blur background. I know it will not be as good as those SLR type shots, what with normal lenses and all with apertures as low as f/1 or something like that.

    Please, any tips or help from you all would be greatly appreciated. I'm basically going to just try it out for the first time and see if I net any good shots of her, but would like to "arm" myself with information so I can learn better with and through the experience.

    Thanx in advance!
    Last edited by jOhO; 17th May 2003 at 06:17 AM.

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    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    oh and also stuff like fill in flash, since i may be taking backlit shots with sunset. i'm just using the built in flash in the camera. would that work?

    thanx again!

  3. #3

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    built in flash will give u redeye effect best is to use hotshot flash or even better: off-shoe flash

    f2.8 to f4 is ok

    look for cloudy day then the sunlight is all evenly scattered ie not harsh=> good lighting

    portrait poses: best not be too technical and deadpan. one method is to engege model in conversation (eg ask open ended questions, compliment, etc) then shoot away as good moments arise

    what she can wear: spagethi strap+jeans, sunny dress, scarf, hat, shades, windbreaker for posing, bikini, scuba diving suit...ie limited only by your imagination. flip thru fashin mags for ideas... make sure u spell out every detail of your plan and that she is comfortable with it

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    The DOF at f2.8 on the 5700 is going to look the same as an SLR at about f11-f16. Try to keep her far away from distracting background elements when possible and shoot relatively close to maxmimize the shallow DOF. However, keep the focal length to >50mm to avoid any unflattering perspective distortion.

    Alternatively, consider breaking the mould for some shots and include the whole background if it compliments the image.

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    Sentosa... lovely.

    Well, first off, pray for good weather. I'm not trying to discourage you but you do need the weather on your side. ( Think of the shots you could have made with the evening sun today. )

    Now, sand is a pretty good reflector, so you need to use that to your advantage, and try not to have the sun in your eyes/camera unless you want to do a silhouette shot.

    Talking about silhouette, you need to remember, sentosa would have alot of cluttered background, as well as distractions o do keep an eye out for that.

    As for poses and such, start going through magazines and if possible, tear out the shots where you spot any pose you like.

    Clothing: What do you want her to wear? Is there a concept to it? Do you want a theme? PS: If you are trying a beach shot for the first time, try to avoid white. Hard to meter andd in the setting sun, it can look washed out...

    Do not go there unprepared and clueless. You need to know what you want the model to do, and how you want her to pose. If you hesitate, or seem lost, the model will feel the same way.

    Talk. Communicate. She must know what you want. You may think it's a cliche but in all honesty, the simplest thing is usually the hardest thing to accomplish... which is to set her at ease. Consider the human scalp, the facial structure even if you want to make a good shot. There are alot of variable but the best way to go about it is to give it a good and learn from your experience and the mistakes made.

    I do wish you the very best of luck in your portrait shoots.
    --
    "High Wired, Dream Sired"

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    Mr Wolf is good at portraits

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    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    thanx for the reply everyone!

    clive:

    i'll probably try not to use any flash at all, since i have no hotshoe of offshoe flash (yet)

    yeah cloudy days are good for ambient light? but too cloudy will be too dark also rite? would i need a tripod for shooting portraits in the day? won't be using small apertures so my shutter would be pretty fast? and sometimes i use exposure compensation to get a faster shutter (that works too rite?)


    zerstoner:

    yeah.. seems like the f values in a digicam and in an SLR gives really really different DOFs...

    so should i zoom in all the way and ask her to stand further, or use wide angle (50mm and up like u adviced) and get nearer to her?

    wolfgang:

    aiyah unfortunately she told me she was gonna wear a white spag sundress. is it a big problem if she does wear white? yeah i guess if the sun is directly on her then her dress is gonna be pretty damn bright.
    ____________________________________

    wah seems like portrait shots quite cheem. anyone got more to add?

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    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    hi all... this thread a bit old, just wanna update, i didn't get to shoot that friend of mine at sentosa, but now i have another model...

    she wants to take those "attitude problem" type photos, becos she reckons she looks like crap when she smiles so any suggestions in that respect?

    she like quite stressed leh, keep asking me wat to wear and make-up how and where to get changed becos she might want to wear different outfits, and oh of course.. location.

    i need to think of a location with "attitude".... pls help, cos admittedly, i'm as blur as she is.

    i guess one thing is good, she's really eager, and er.. so am i!!

  9. #9

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    well, ask her to wear whatever she feels comfortable with, this is important as any discomfort/unease will show in the pics...
    makeup wise, remember to watch out for oily and shiny patches when she perspires..
    i guess somewhere urban would be good for the kind of shoot u are thinking of...

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    From what you say, I think the best is to make her comfortable.... Try talking to her, making her feel at ease and then just snap away....

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    Originally posted by jOhO
    hi all... this thread a bit old, just wanna update, i didn't get to shoot that friend of mine at sentosa, but now i have another model...

    she wants to take those "attitude problem" type photos, becos she reckons she looks like crap when she smiles so any suggestions in that respect?

    she like quite stressed leh, keep asking me wat to wear and make-up how and where to get changed becos she might want to wear different outfits, and oh of course.. location.

    i need to think of a location with "attitude".... pls help, cos admittedly, i'm as blur as she is.

    i guess one thing is good, she's really eager, and er.. so am i!!
    if she's comfortable in jeans and a simple t, then let it be.. the important thing for the shoot is to catch her wanted look - attitude... expressions, poses...

    in fact, I would snipe her off once in a while to build up her emotions and from there you can see "a lot of" attitude coming your way

    *just becareful she doesn't smash your camera.. heh heh heh

    but the word of advice is true: talk to her, make her comfortable.. dun straight away shoot her when she appears, instead, talk.. go for a drink, take a nice stroll (like romancing her mood) then you take a few shots as test. The purpose is to play it smooth (coz she's not a model by profession so won't give you the desired result in a flash) but you can lure out the emotions.

    For all you know, you wil find you have a different result as intended but that's what protrait photography all about: individualism.

    Have fun!!

    Cheerz!!

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    Places with attitude... hahaha... well, if she's the sporty type - a private gym or games room but the best place so far where I find a lot of attitude is the Pool Table.....


    try your luck!

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