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Three finalists from portrait shoot last Sun

Discussion in 'People' started by Steve S, Dec 9, 2005.

  1. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    I can pick out some things I would've done differently, like for starters, always placing the shorter persons in front of the sun's direction, instead of the taller ones, and I'm not totally wild about their poses, or lack thereof, but please feel free to point out anything else I could've done to these to make them better. I know I need lots more practice using fill flash outdoors! Shot in Manual mode with D2X/70-200VR on tripod, using an SB800 for fill flash. Feedback appreciated.
    Their pick for Xmas card inserts:

    First Runnerup they liked:

    Second Runnerup, and the expressions I really liked :
  2. My comments Steve:
    You have some nice shots here and you sure seem to like what you are doing - very important!
    I find the people well shot on all. My comment really focuses on the background. On #2 and #3 I find the backgrounds distracting - too busy - if they are meant to be somewhat formal portraits. These look more like "souvenirs of a nice family moment" - if that what they're meant to be, they are great. I would shoot differently to put more emphasis on the people. If you don't have the appropriate glass for that, do it in postprocessing - not so hard.
    In #1 the people really do stand out, but the background is not so attractive in pale blue (in my opinion). Also, in #1 the man's expression is poor.

    Summary: I like your people composition very much. You obviously communicate and get great expressions. I'd work a bit on the background.
    You're not far off from getting beautiful results. Be sure to post some more!
  3. bpetterson

    bpetterson Guest


    Four people in a photo is tuff.
    To get a natural expression is hard for one, and much harder for four.
    You need to pose the people better.
    The Fathers hands are huge, and the Mother and Son seem to have mangled hands.

    Have ladies push their head forward and men stick their chest out.

    Elevation of camera also is important as to effect.
  4. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Hi Steve,

    I am not a very good critic when it comes to portraiture, so please understand that I offer my opinion more from what I prefer rather than from a technical standpoint.

    Image #1-For the most part, I like the pose. I think the hand positions could have been changes which might improve the composition. The father's hands are absolutely enormous against the daughters torso and I am not real fond of the mother and sons grasp. The hot spots on the father and daughter from the sun is a bit harsh but not nasty...maybe a bit more fill flash or use of a reflector could enhance that image. I like the water as a background and it is blurred nicely. Were they adament about wearing white shirts? I wonder if something other than white would be more flattering.

    Image #2- I really like this image alot. Again, I wonder if wearing something other than white shirts could have helped to absorb the sunlight. Hand positions are better, the daughter's hand position could be improved a bit. Background is nice...some might recommend positioning them further away from the folliage and wall to blur them instead of them being in focus...that's just a matter of personal taste.

    Image #3- I like this image alot as well. The pose is good, hand positions are fine, hot spots from the sun aren't bad, background is fine with me...only recommendation if to use a reflector or additional fill flash to bring the family out...the image looks rather "flat" if that makes any sense...rather one dimensional.

    Steve, I really dislike critiquing images because I would never want to offend someone, so I offer these opinions with the understanding that I wrote as though I was the client and not some camera guru...which I am definately not!!! If you are going to do another shoot of these folks, I would try having them wear soft pastel shirts instead of white to help absorb the sunlight. Maybe rent a reflector to re-direct some sunlight into the front of their bodies so they "pop" out in the image.

    I hope that I made some sense Steve!
  5. Beautiful subjects... heck, if they aren't, they should be models! The little boy is either a spectacular poser, or was having a great time, as all of his smiles look 100% genuine. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of the rest of the family, but I think they were discomforted by the harsh, directional sunlight. My suggestion would be to pose your groups in open shade if you can find some.
  6. I think you handled the fill flash quite well. This is a beautiful family and their pick of image #1 would have been my pick as well. On this image I would have controlled the background darker by perhaps a stop. I like the sun highlights on this image as well. On the image #3 the family looks good but the background should have been blurred some and perhaps a little darker. All in all a successful photo shoot.
  7. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    To Fritz, Birger, the 2 Franks, & Gordon,

    They wanted some casual "around the house" shots, and their yard is really tiny, almost non-existant. They didn't have any of their Xmas decorations up yet either, so that precluded any seasonal interior shots. Also, I didn't know they were wearing white shirts til I got there. I almost croaked when I saw that! I even went to their house the day before to scout locations, and the pickins were slim! Almost their entire backyard is their pool area. Every spot they suggested had a downright awful busy background, so I did the best I could with what I had to work with. I totally agree with the distracting backgrounds in the last 2, and the hand positions left a lot to be desired. Gordon, I made a half hearted attempt at working the camera in full manual, but in the end just settled for what I got. No one had any patience either, which made it hard for me to fool around experimenting with defferent exposure levels. They just wanted me to hurry up and get it done, which just made me more nervous! They are pretty happy with pose #1, and are going to be trading me for their lawn services, and want me to do some more shots later, so all in all, it was a reasonable success. One thing I did learn is that I have a LOT to learn when it comes to outside flash aided portraits, esp group portraits! Thanks for all the good comments and advice guys!
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2005
  8. You bet. You'll never completely please a crowd of fellow photographers. But since this was a pay-job, the only measures of importance are... did the custmer like the results, and will they pay for them :smile:.
  9. And justly so, it is a nice image of some beautiful people. I did cards for two people this year and it is kind of fun to see them use images you have taken. Congrats.:smile:
  10. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Wow there's some great portrait advice here - thanks for asking the question and exposing your work to critique Steve! #1 is certainly the best shot of the 3, and hindsight being so good, it's just too bad the golden light cut off halfway down mom's hair. Still an excellent photo.

    Christmas card photos are a good gig, but such a short season! Have you looked into those custom postage stamps? Very popular for tight shots of kids, pets and grandkids.
  11. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Well, I'm getting 5 wks of lawn care for my work, so everybody's very happy!
  12. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    Although these aren't the best pics I've ever taken, they are pleased and so am I to be getting my lawn mowed for 5 wks!
  13. Steve S

    Steve S

    Feb 1, 2005
    SE Florida
    I really need to stop getting so darn nervous at these shoots. I can't do anything hurried when I'm doing something new, like outdoor shots with fill flash. Of course, they want it to be done RIGHT NOW! To compound it all, I initially had some equipment failure, which was traced, of all things to the Focus Priority and switching the the AF button for focusing. Long story of trial and error, but after dismounting the rig 3 times, I finally figured it out. :confused: 
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