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Portrait shooting tips?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by JDK504, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. JDK504

    JDK504 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    527
    Jun 28, 2013
    I'm taking some portraits this weekend at the beach for a friend. I'll be using my EM5 II with 25 1.4 and 42.5 1.2.

    I have taken portraits before, but I was looking for advice on something I might not be aware of or haven't thought about.

    Subject is 18 female senior portraits for high school. I plan to shoot early morning and later towards magic hour and will avoid mid day sun unless I have good cloud cover (supposed to rain here).

    Any words of wisdom would be great. I'm always open to learning more
     
  2. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    564
    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Denny
    Check out all the You Tube videos on shooting portraits. There are some really good ones.
     
  3. JDK504

    JDK504 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    527
    Jun 28, 2013
    I have done that along with Vimeo. Just didn't know if anyone on here wanted to add their 0.2 Cents
     
  4. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Are you planning to use flash and/or reflectors?
     
  5. JDK504

    JDK504 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    527
    Jun 28, 2013
    I was thinking of getting a reflector? Any good economical recommendations?

    Flash, yes if needed
     
  6. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Fred
    A reflector to control your shadows. A piece of foam board from your local office supply store is quite economical.

    With two or three pieces and some of the girls to hold them you can create shade and fill.

    Fred
     
  7. JDK504

    JDK504 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    527
    Jun 28, 2013
  8. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    765
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Ya, you definitely want a reflector or a hot shoe flash (either on camera or off) to light up your subject even in (or especially because of) daylight. For these types of portraits you want your subject to be brightly lit without shadows in the eyes or under the nose. And a bit of "catch light" in the eyes give it that pro look.
     
  9. JDK504

    JDK504 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    527
    Jun 28, 2013
    I hear ya. I have the flash and ordered the reflectors. I definitely love that light in the eyes . Thanks for replying
     
  10. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    • Like Like x 1
  11. So Thankful

    So Thankful Mu-43 Veteran

    232
    Jun 9, 2015
    Midwest
    Reflectors are a good idea. If you are going to shoot early AM and late PM try and incorporate the sunrise/sunset into your shots. Watch your WB, it can get tricky during those times. I would recommend shooting in RAW so you can tweak WB in post. Gold reflectors work great for portraits. They throw some "glow" on your subject.
    Good luck with your shoot! Don't forget to post some of your results here.
     
  12. JDK504

    JDK504 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    527
    Jun 28, 2013

    I def will! I will probably shoot RAW + JPEG. The shoot is this weekend/Sunday. During football! Can you believe it?! lol Not even paid either - a favor for a family friend. =)
     
  13. So Thankful

    So Thankful Mu-43 Veteran

    232
    Jun 9, 2015
    Midwest
    I have a shoot Sunday afternoon as well. Luckily for me I am not a big Football fan, and I will be getting paid. :2thumbs:
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  14. asystem

    asystem Mu-43 Regular

    112
    Feb 13, 2015
    Finland
    Jack Bauer / Batman / Spiderman
    This is very informative video about composition. For me that part 7 "Dominant eye in the center" has been very good tip and works almost every time for portraits and my style.

    I'm not a big fan of rule of thirds but most of shots in this video works fine for me.

    Of course this doesn't give any tips for lighting but there is millions and millions videos for natural and controlled lighting.

    Btw sorry about my poor English.

     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 2
  15. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Lots of good talk about lighting, etc. here. Once those basics are handled, though, shooting portraits is all about continuously engaging the subject. (Search "Karsh engaging the subject" for some thoughts. Example: "After setting up, Karsh would engage his subject, shutter release in hand. He would then wait, squeezing the bulb only when he felt he had captured a moment of truth.")

    Or, for Avedon, using an 8x10": "Rather than crouching behind the lens, as he had done for decades with his favored Rolleiflex, he now stood beside the camera, engaging his sitters face to face."

    Chat them up, tell jokes, etc. When there is a shootable moment, shoot 5-10 frames almost as fast as you can. Some will have eye blinks, mouth open, eyes wandering, etc. but maybe you will get lucky with one. This is a luxury that we have that the old film masters did not.

    Check/watch for eyeglass reflections. If this is a problem, have them position their head a little downwards or to the side.

    Subjects get bored easily. Some lines I use:
    • (for a group) "Is everyone comfortable? Yes? That's because you're not close enough together. Squeeze in until you're not comfortable any more." Often a good shot will materialize when they are moving. Just shout "Look at me" Tighter is better for group shots anyway.
    • "OK, chin down. Lick your lips. Bring your head back up." This one is pretty weak but it does break the boredom very briefly.
    • 'OK, we no longer say "cheese." We say .... (pause) .... PORNOGRAPHY!" This works once per subject or group, but you can milk it one more time by surprising them with a different word at the end.
    Stuff like that.

    I have been meaning to try something like these: http://www.cameracreatures.com/#!shop/c1mhs I see no reason why one couldn't work it for a few laughs with adults, maybe surprising them with the squeeker.
     
  16. JDK504

    JDK504 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    527
    Jun 28, 2013

    Great tips! I might get that camera squeaker! Its nearly impossible for my 5 year old to look at the camera. I swear that silly clown looks everywhere else but at me ;) Even my 14 month old knows how to do it!

    Maybe just a stage, who knows. I will have my nephew there to bounce the light (his gf) and to keep her relaxed and giggly. I'm sure to capture something that will work. I do thank you for the time to respond with your words of wisdom!

    Much Obliged,

    Ken
     
  17. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Well, can the 5 year-old see you or are you hiding behind the camera? If you can set up a situation where you have the camera on a tripod and you are using a remote release* then the subject can see and interact with you. In the Karsh and Avedon clips above, both had the camera on a tripod.

    *My cabled release was ~$10 on eBay. I have the Panny Android app also but I have found its shutter release to be clumsy and slow to react. YMMV.
     
  18. JDK504

    JDK504 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    527
    Jun 28, 2013

    I think it's a phase. She was great before but now she's in a funk. I do have the Olympus act. I'll have to try it
     
  19. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    I think the most important thing is to relax and be confident. If you are awkward, your subject will be awkward, and the photos will be awkward. Like oldracer said, engage your subject and take lots and lots of shots. Good luck and have fun! Let us know how it went!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    765
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    Another tip for shooting portraits. Keep shooting at random times. You can always mumble something about checking the lighting or whatever, but the point it if you keep shooting all through then the subject after a bit stops noticing the shutter going off and relaxes. For one thing you might get some great candids, but also when you are lining up real shots they don't tense up. If you ONLY shoot for the real shots, then every time you tell them you are ready they feel they have to get into a pose, smile, tense up, looks overly posed. If you are just shooting constantly through out the shoot regardless if the model is ready & posing or simply fixing their hair they stop tensing up at shutter-time since shutter-time is all the time. :)
     
    • Like Like x 1