Not a portrait photographer Not a portrait photographer Not a portrait photographer

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Brownie

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That out of the way, My daughter asked if would donate my time to take 'portraits' of a daddy-daughter bowling outing for girl scouts. Of course I said yes. Having only a set of cheap umbrellas, I took the thimbleful of knowledge I have about lighting and bought the cheapest stuff I could to get to the goal line. For as much as I'll use it, it'll do.

I set it up today in my living room for a test run. Less than ideal with the windows back there, and please disregard the mess, I had to shove things out of the way. Please take a look at my setup and tell me what I may need to change. I'll be able to move things a bit more at the venue, I'd like the hair light to be more directly over them, or...maybe not? Advice welcomed. Please keep it simple, I don't expect perfection, as one may have surmised...Not a portrait photographer...

49635493616_b398f9444b_b.jpg test_01 by telecast, on Flickr

This is the result of my first try. My daughter said they had 74 people last year, I hope that's not 74 couples. Anyway, it's going to be snap-n-go. I saw a photo that someone took last year and it was ghastly. Dad was all bent over and it looked like a 200% crop. I'm trying for a step above ghastly.

Do the skin tones need to be warmed up bit?

49635769442_5678499903_c.jpg test by telecast, on Flickr

Thanks.
 

BosseBe

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That out of the way, My daughter asked if would donate my time to take 'portraits' of a daddy-daughter bowling outing for girl scouts. Of course I said yes. Having only a set of cheap umbrellas, I took the thimbleful of knowledge I have about lighting and bought the cheapest stuff I could to get to the goal line. For as much as I'll use it, it'll do.

I set it up today in my living room for a test run. Less than ideal with the windows back there, and please disregard the mess, I had to shove things out of the way. Please take a look at my setup and tell me what I may need to change. I'll be able to move things a bit more at the venue, I'd like the hair light to be more directly over them, or...maybe not? Advice welcomed. Please keep it simple, I don't expect perfection, as one may have surmised...Not a portrait photographer...

View attachment 806915test_01 by telecast, on Flickr

This is the result of my first try. My daughter said they had 74 people last year, I hope that's not 74 couples. Anyway, it's going to be snap-n-go. I saw a photo that someone took last year and it was ghastly. Dad was all bent over and it looked like a 200% crop. I'm trying for a step above ghastly.

Do the skin tones need to be warmed up bit?

View attachment 806916test by telecast, on Flickr

Thanks.
I think the skin tones look fine, there is just a hint of red on the cheeks of both man and child, and it looks natural.
I am definitely NOT a portrait photographer, but that background looks a little busy to my eyes, a neutral grey would maybe be better?

Good luck!
 

Glennn

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Hats off to you for taking this on. Being somewhat of an introvert, I would feel awkward photographing strangers, or even acquaintances, but that's what pushing boundaries is about they say.
Seeing background was a throwback. My 1990 high school senior picture had that same one.
 
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It looks like your fill light is at the 8 o’clock position...I think I would bring it around to the 7 o’clock position, but that would be a personal preference. Do you know what your lighting ratio is? I used to shoot a two light setup with a 3:1 ratio. I liked my balance between the key and fill lights at 3:1. You may try that and see what you think. It looks like the highlights and shadows on the little girls right arm are at the extremes. That also is a personal preference.
 

Brownie

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There you go getting technical. I assume by 3:1 you mean the key light is 3X brighter than the fill light? In this case, it was 5:4., but I had two diffusers on the fill and only one on the key. I just assumed it'd be less harsh because it's closer. The first shot I took the fill was back farther yet. I pulled it forward some, and can definitely pull it around front more and mess with the ratio. Thanks!
 

PakkyT

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My only suggesting is I find the shadows on your faces a little bit more than I would like for a strobed portrait shot. Maybe boosting the 8-o'clock strobe a bit to bust the shadows on that side of your faces or moving it more to shoot straight on?
 

ac12

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You know, what first hit me was the printing on dads shirt. IMHO, really not what he should be wearing for a girl scout pic.
Whereas daughters shirt reads nice.
That would be a tip to give to the dads. THINK about what is printed on their shirt.

OK on to subject:
  • While I personally don't care for the background, it does make it look "modern." So it works.
  • Agree about the fill light, to reduce the darkness of the shadows. I think for this, what you don't want is that really dark shadow, as that would look especially bad on a pale colored skin.
  • The hair light is going to be tricky, as dad is much taller than the daughter, so you are really doing the hair light for him.
  • I would lower the camera height, to be between the height of the girl and dad, so you are not looking down on the girl.
    • The difference in height issue is worse with a TALL dad and a short daughter.
    • At one point, it was a style. But I do not like the "looking down" on the subject look
    • I would position the camera as far away from the subject as I could, to reduce the visual angle between their faces. That will help reduce the look of "looking down" on the girl, and "looking up" at dad.
    • A couple posing option that I've seen, which try to address the height difference issue.
      • Use a chair for dad, and a tall stool for the daughter, which will get their faces closer to the same height.
        • But you need adjustable/different height stools to adjust for height difference.
      • Dad seated, and daughter standing next to or in front of him.
      • But this will add time to the shoot. Just 30 seconds per pair x 70 pairs = 35 minutes more total time.
Keep in mind that if this is a production operation, to shoot 70+ pairs, you will have little time to adjust the lighting and posing stools for EACH pair.
Dad's height could range from 5'2' to 6'10". Similar with the range of daughter's height. The height difference could be large.
So you want the lighting and posing set-up to be "generic" and workable for most subjects, with minimal adjusting needed.

Logistically you will want to find out how MANY pairs to shoot.
If it takes two minutes to bring in, position, shoot, and move out, the pair, 70 pairs will take 140 minutes, over 2 hours. That would be a LONG wait for the last pair. So you need to stagger their arrival, and/or have a place for them to wait while they wait their turn. Or shoot half on one day, and half on another day.
 

Brownie

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@ac12 I was think about taking a step stool for the girls if the height difference it too great. These will be from kindergarteners on up, so different ages. Saw the shirt, agree, nothing I can do. I won't have contact with any of them. Logistics are already sorted. They will come in a troop at a time, so anywhere for 4-8 girls/dads. The others will be bowling/eating and whatever they do at these things. This is a 2 hour+ event.

I don't plan to adjust lighting unless I run into a problem. Good comment on the hair light. Not using a tripod, but good point on the height, will adjust as necessary.
 

ac12

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@ac12 I was think about taking a step stool for the girls if the height difference it too great. These will be from kindergarteners on up, so different ages. Saw the shirt, agree, nothing I can do. I won't have contact with any of them. Logistics are already sorted. They will come in a troop at a time, so anywhere for 4-8 girls/dads. The others will be bowling/eating and whatever they do at these things. This is a 2 hour+ event.

I don't plan to adjust lighting unless I run into a problem. Good comment on the hair light. Not using a tripod, but good point on the height, will adjust as necessary.
Step stool, good idea.

4-8 pairs at a time is a manageable number. I was worried about 70 pairs all at once.
 

Bushboy

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I think the background is really bad. Spoiling a sweet set up!
Good luck, brave effort.
 

demiro

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I think the t-shirt is indicative of the expected quality, and I can't imagine anyone wanting big prints. Probably sharing on social media and maybe printing a 4x6. I'd be tempted to use one of the portrait modes on my iPhone in a decently lit room and be done with it. @Brownie good for you for kicking it up a few notches. Hopefully your effort is appreciated.

I don't like the background, but I think it is kind of perfect for bowling pics.
 

Brownie

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I think the t-shirt is indicative of the expected quality, and I can't imagine anyone wanting big prints. Probably sharing on social media and maybe printing a 4x6. I'd be tempted to use one of the portrait modes on my iPhone in a decently lit room and be done with it. @Brownie good for you for kicking it up a few notches. Hopefully your effort is appreciated.

I don't like the background, but I think it is kind of perfect for bowling pics.
The T shirt is a joke T shirt for people with a sense of humor. The people attending this will be from all walks of life, Doctors, attorneys, nurses, engineers, auto plant workers, clerks...anyone with a daughter in girl scouts. Your post seems to imply that those attending will be low brow because it's a bowling outing. Please bear in mind that this is an event for little girls, it's not an outing to the local country club.

They will each get a 4x6, so you that part correct.
 
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Do you have a reflector that you can use to bounce some light on the faces? It would take away some of the harsh shadows around the nose and eyes. We just did a portrait shoot this past week with our photo club (my first “real” portrait shoot, so I’m no expert) and as soon as they had us bring in one or two reflectors it made the world of difference... immediately softened the raccoon eyes look.

you can use anything white... doesn’t have to be a real reflector... can be white foam board if you have some handy... or the back of a white foam board sign at the venue that isn’t being used at the time... you’ll have lots of helpers who would love to be one of the photographers helpers!

Should add... we used one strobe set at an angle of about 45 degrees off left and slightly above head level looking down... a black background, although other setups around the room had white, and a patterned one too! We had a 4’ reflector on the right side and to the right of the “models” to bounce light from the strobe back on the subjects, especially their faces. We also had a smaller 3’ reflector on the left side even out some shadows, although I don’t think it really affected the photos much... just made the holder feel useful. And finally we had some new LED hand wand light thingie that was held at various areas and angles around the subject... did a nice job on hair and have a flare for the dramatic but in your setup it wouldn’t be necessary.

most of all... have some fun with it... we had a ball at our session
 
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There you go getting technical. I assume by 3:1 you mean the key light is 3X brighter than the fill light? In this case, it was 5:4., but I had two diffusers on the fill and only one on the key. I just assumed it'd be less harsh because it's closer. The first shot I took the fill was back farther yet. I pulled it forward some, and can definitely pull it around front more and mess with the ratio. Thanks!

LOL...not too technical. Back when I shot banquets for a college alumni association, I would have similar lighting with two strobes. The way I would set up the 3:1 ratio is setting the key light firing only and checking exposure with light meter. Once I had it set for the output I wanted, I would turn it off and then set the fill light to output one stop below the key light.. This would then give the 3:1 ratio from the exposure of the fill light to the combo light that the key and fill were illuminating at the lighting overlap. 70 couples will be no big deal. You will get your lights set like you want, have your camera at the proper distance from the subject, have the couples stand on a couple of pieces of tape on the floor and fire away. I always put a tape “X” where I wanted each person to stand, I always had my camera on a tripod, focus set for manual and usually shoot at f8 to make sure my depth of field would cover every thing. I would also have my camera set for manual so nothing would change during my shoot. At the time, I had a dolly for my tripod so I would tweak my camera position as needed. This was back in the film days with medium format and prime lens but all this applies to the digital world. Enjoy the shoot...
 

PakkyT

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I think the t-shirt is indicative of the expected quality
Are you seriously making snide comments on what the event results will be like based on what 👕 someone is wearing in a test shot to see how the setup works?
:coco:


Do you have a reflector that you can use to bounce some light on the faces?
He has a third light, see the first photo above.
 
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