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Senior Portrait Session

Discussion in 'Formal Portraits and Weddings' started by newbie builder, Jul 30, 2009.

  1. Had fun with this shoot, went for about two hours longer than planned....
    the AB800 w/ vagabond and octabox was the gear winner for the day. Until I get something like a four square that lets me use speedlights in a softbox, I can't get my SB800s to produce the light that a studio strobe in a big light mod will.

    Anywhere, here are a few shots, any C&C always appreciated:

    AB800 w/ medium octabox camera left, SB26 on a justin clamp on the ground zoomed to 85mm lighting the grass behind his feet:
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    AB800 w/ medium octabox camera left, SB26 on a justin clamp on the ground zoomed to 85mm slashing up against the background:
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    AB800 cam left
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    Natural light on these next two:
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    SB800 in brolly cam right, SB26s on either side as rim lights:
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    Thanks for looking! Time for me to go prep now for today's senior shoot!
  2. zahidkm


    Jan 5, 2009
    Houston, TX
    Nice work. I like your lighting. keep more coming.
  3. I find the background in the second and third one a little too distracting for my taste. Note the power meter attached to his ear in the third one. Overall I llike the poses, the settings, etc. Great job and he should be pleased with the results.
  4. rbellphoto


    Jun 8, 2006
    Like the series, but the position of hands in pix 5 & 7 are a bit questionable.
  5. e2blade


    Jul 24, 2008
    Peoria, AZ
    I like the last one. but I agree with rbellphoto. the hands ARE questionable.
  6. Thanks for the comments! Yeah I went back and forth on posting the last one especially...but decided I might as well since I kinda liked the composition. I figure it's not that much more questionable than some of the senior girls I've seen lately wearing fairly risque clothes compared to the old cap and gown or even black turtleneck seniors of yesteryears....
  7. Seneca


    Dec 4, 2006
    Good images. Pose in the last one ... not so good.
  8. photobrad


    Oct 1, 2008
    I think the first few are a bit overexposed. I also agree on the backgrounds using the electric meters...not so good.

    Grabbing your johnson isnt questionable....its simply not good for shots that are being paid for by the family.....maybe if the dudes a rap artist...but not for a senior..sorry.

    Lighting the grass?? Really?

    6 has the most potential....not sure about the hair detail being processed away though, or maybe its just too dark...but seems like it was processed to be dark...

    anyway...overall...i feel that too much emphasis is being placed on using all the lights and modifiers and pw's and stuff....and not enough on the subject himself...and the posing/expressions. It doesnt have to be a complicated lighting scenario to be good...it does haves to be a good expression, and a comfortable pose.....
    just my 2cts

    heres a couple shots from yesterday...natural light only...see what you think


  9. Personally, I think they need fill, especially the first one, but in my experience, neither woman is going to like the bags under the eyes... Nor the rough skin from the side lighting.

  10. I'd lose the second and probably third ones- otherwise a good series.

  11. photobrad


    Oct 1, 2008
    Thats why I shoot people for a living every day and you shoot landscapes and flowers. The lady is 45yrs old... and photoshopping every detail of the faces is soooo not my style. And was also soooo not the point of my comment. Sorry you missed the point entirely. And for the record...both the mom and the daughter pictured absolutely adored those 2 shots.

    Here it is again....the important part of any image is the subject...not the fancy lighting techniques or what equipment you used...none of that matters if the subject itself doesnt work. When I teach, I see people all the time getting so caught up in the "technique" of a shot, they forget the aesthetics of what makes a good photograph....particularly I see this happen when people are trying to learn off camera lighting. Off camera lighting is terrific...but not if the subject matter isnt.......
  12. lf911sc


    Jun 15, 2008
    Monmouth, NJ
    Is that sweat on his shirt in the 5th shot?
  13. While there's no need to get snarky and make personal attacks, frankly fill would make the bags less and take off the harsh skin texture- both of which detract from the quality your images- I'm glad you think they're perfect though, we should be happy with our work.

    I get your point, but rather than seeing mine (even while acknowledging the fact that I labeled it as personal opinion by bolding it) you stoop to personal attacks. FWIW, I shoot enough portraits to get by- but neither those nor my product photography are things I'd sell on a fine art site.

    McDonalds cooks make food for a living every day, that doesn't make them chefs.

  14. The chemist

    The chemist

    Jul 22, 2005

    First image seems OOF and the gentleman in the second doesent add to the shot but then again my main income is not photography.
  15. photobrad


    Oct 1, 2008
    1st image face is sharp...the rest isnt..as it was shot at F-1.6 expressly for that purpose......probably looses a bit in the quick downrez for web..but its plenty sharp...

    the "guy" in the photo is her new husband...so it probably adds just a wee bit to the image for them:tongue:

    I do earn my living doing and teaching this....and have for many years. Not trying to be snarky...but maybe you should consider the source when evaluating the merit of ones comments. Thats the beauty of folks posting their websites....you can see if they have a clue about which they speak. I've shot over 700 weddings....not that in itself means that much...except that you dont stay around in this business...esp in times like these if you cant manage your way around the camera. The evaluation of the op's images was spot on. They have potential, but the emphasis was on the technique not the image....that was my only point...it should not be about the off camera flashes...they should be barely noticeable if done correctly. The subject itself was not portrayed in a flattering way....from a lighting, posing, and compositional standpoint...but hey what do i know:biggrin:
  16. Thanks all for the comments and critiques.

    Re#5, nope not sweat, a shadow thanks to the sun reflecting off some windows and filling in the front.

    Sorry to those offended by some of the posing (no sarcasm meant there, just in case anybody was reading any into that sentence)....I do agree that subject direction is probably one of my weaker points, and these critiques all help. Thanks!


    I do have to respectfully disagree (everybody can have opinions, right? and i very much appreciate you sharing yours) about a few things you said.

    As far as the lighting is concerned, I must disagree with the statement that lighting done well shouldn't even be noticed. I believe there is an artistic decision to be made with respect to light being noticeable--sometimes it shouldn't be, but sometimes it can be too. Some of my favorite photographs have no light that a normal person would ever notice, but on the flip side of things look at most of the magazine covers on a newsstand...no doubt many of them have very obvious lighting, done for artistic effect and impact. I think it's hard to say those aren't qualified photographers responsible for those images, for the most part at least.

    In this session I had in mind a much more heavily-lit look, obviously lit photos, from the onset, probably due to the fact that the previous three sessions I'd done before involved virtually no artificial light at all and so I was glad when I had a subject ready for a slightly edgier look than is often characterized by senior portraits.

    Anyways, thanks again to all for the C&C!
  17. photobrad


    Oct 1, 2008
    Actually you hit it right on the head with what I was trying to say...in a way. The lighting needs to be good...however produced. Good in quantity, direction, and quality. Often the magazine covers to which you refer have excellent lighting...usually so...but equally often its done with those 3 prime directives in mind and in balance. IOW....by being in balance, the emphasis returns once again to the subject......you might enjoy idcphotography.com or planetneil.com for some excellent use and tutorials on the use...and the balanced use...of artificial light. Bruce Dorn of idc...he's simply a master at this. You'll enjoy it alot, I know I do, and I learn from him and others every day even though I've been doing this a long time. Keeps me fresh.

    This is another quickie...its a TTD shot obviously...but it shows the setting sun from the left and a gelled sb800 from the right to match the color/levels of the ambient....not supposed to be a perfect example..just one i had handy...
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    and another from that same session...strong sunshine from camera left...gelled sb800 camera right else she be completely drowned in shadow.
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    again on that same yucky old couch...remember the sun is coming from the back of the couch...not where you see this light coming from...this is my gelled strobe again,only pointed back at me to simulate the sun... and a reflector for fill near me and to my left
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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 5, 2009
  18. ABrownPhoto


    May 3, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Nice series. It is funny because your subject looks like a close buddy of mine, almost TWIN LIKE!!! haha.

    I like the color balance in #'s 6 and 7. #6 is my favorite out of the bunch
  19. @photobrad--

    Yes, that all makes sense to me! And I of course frequent planetneil and idc already, along with strobist and mcnally and about half a dozen others--some amazing light guys out there, aren't there? Thanks for all the C&C ;) 
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