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1st time prom portraits - horrible experience - suggestions to salvage things

Discussion in 'People' started by mikefitz6, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. I may have had a horrible experience, but boy did I learn a lot today. First off, no one is expecting any pictures from me, so I am pretty safe.

    Also, please find the humor in this.

    2 big lessons

    Prepare (duh)

    Speak up for yourself

    I found out just before my sons soccer game today that I would have a chance to take shots of him and his group. This was set up so parents could get a few shots. After the soccer game we rushed home with less than 80 minutes to get my son ready - he grumbled the whole time as any 18 year old does at his parents. My son left to pick up his date We were down to 15 minutes to drive to the site and get ready. I kept wanting to go early to scout things out, but my wife knew my son did not really like the whole idea, so she didn't want to get there too early.

    No problem. I knew it was by a lake so I figured I could find some shade and using f2.8 to f5.6 get a nicely blurred background. I wanted to use my somewhat new SB800 on TTL-BL. I have never done this, but I have read that this would give a nice exposure on the kids while preserving the background. I figured out how to do it and practiced with a few shots at home, on a hallway (yeah I know!) while my son was still getting ready.

    I finally convinced my wife "IT WAS TIME TO GO!!!!!". I am not a dumb husband, the shouting was on the inside. We got to the site and no kids yet. Good, I can try a few shots. About 20 to 30 yards away is a nice gazebo sitting on a small peninsula jutting into the lake. Sunlit background, shade in the foreground. I pull out my camera..... and I cannot get the TTL-BL mode to show up. I try reading the book, nothing. Pull out the batteries to hopefully 'reset' the SB800... no TTL-BL. I tried various camera and flash on and off combinations, different lenses.. all the while getting more frustrated. I never did get the TTL-BL to pop up again. In fact, the little bit I have used the flash, I noticed that it would show the focal length on my lens as I zoomed in and out. It never did that either. The first time that has ever happened.

    The kids finally show up ,,,, and they are directed across the road 20 yards in the wrong direction. I start to run along the side of the lake. As I got to my wife she said "Don't go over there - the photographer is taking pictures and you can't bother him." OK, I am just an amature, I don't want to crash his setup. So I stop about 20 yards away, my son and his date had not showed up yet, but I was still a little anxious. I was surprised the photographer had the kids posing in the direct sunlight. Finally my son showed up and as I walked over to the group I notice the 'photographer' is a couple of dads with a P&S. The kids are all squinting. They are getting hot in the tuxes. The girls are worried they will get dirt on there dresses. Now I have a bunch of overexposed pictures with blown highlights and no way to fix them.

    I finally spoke up enough to get the kids in some shade. By then they were all anxious to go. I was nervous. The flash still did not work right. I had the wrong WB because I was in a hurry to take a few shots. My son is obviously getting more disgusted with me. And so on and so on. :redface:

    All the pictures are darker here than they are on my screen.

    Could anyone give me an idea how to crop these? I do have full length shots, but I have them standing in dirt....Oiy. Any other suggestions on PP would be appreciated. (Again, they are not so dark on my screen)

    Anyway, I learned a lot. I still have to figure out what I did with the flash.



    My son and his date. I think he finally started to smile when he realized how flusted I was!

  2. These photographs look fine on my screen. Nice job.
  3. Mike,

    I'm sure that these are much better then the point and shot shoots! These are just fine.

    As far as the ttl/bl ....did you put your camera into spot metering? The metering need to be in matrix metering for ttl/bl to be available.......which makes sense if you think about it.....

    If not that , was the flash fully seated in the shoe?

  4. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Very pretty pictures
  5. Michael, first, these are outstanding pictures...very nice. Don't be so hard on yourself...they are superb.

    Second, Mike above is thinking just like me...did you check your metering?

    Regardless, very nice images, and they must have been better that a P+S in direct sunlight.
  6. sonuj2


    May 11, 2006
    Naperville, IL

    Don't be so hard on yourself. The pictures are just fine. As for the blurred background that you were looking to get, the first thing that comes to mind is the positioning of the couples .... too close to the background. Secondly you may not have used a big enough aperture to render the background blurred. your pics do not have any EXIF information so could not see the aperture used.

    Mike has already pointed out to you that maybe you had your meter set to 'spot' which is why you did not see the TTL-BL on your flash.

    Again, GREAT pictures!!
  7. Thanks everybody.

    As a matter of fact, I did put the camera on spot metering! To be honest, I am delighted that may be the easy explaination. Dumb photographers, I can fix!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 15, 2007
  8. Well, I can't offer any suggestions for cropping or anything else, but I will give your son First Prize for his choice of women. :tongue:
  9. I don't know if this has been mentioned already, but the flash problem you were having was because of your metering choice. For TTL-BL to function, you need matrix metering as opposed to spot. The crops are good except for the 2nd pic, I would crop a little off the bottom where the young lady's leg is showing... Other than that, good job. You need to give yourself a little more credit.
  10. Well, now I don't feel alone - well not quite! I had my first experience with shooting portraits last Sunday - DISASTER! Your photos look wonderful to me! Nice background, nice exposure, nice lighting.
  11. Mike, I think these look pretty good. Not only are they sharp and properly exposed, you even got good expressions from the the kids.

    BTW, many folks favor TTL over TTL-BL anyway because it gives you easier control of the relationship between BG and subject exposure.
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