Archives for posts with tag: portraits

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Fall is the perfect time to take gorgeous senior portraits. Nature provides a stunning backdrop and natural lighting is more subdued due to the lowered angle of the sun. Another advantage is the abundance of props, such as leaves to add personality to the shot.

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I set my F stop low for a nice blurry backdrop of color and set my white balance on cloudy when I initially took the shots. However, in post production, I changed the white balance to shade to add a little more gold to the pictures.

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This senior not only wanted outdoor shots, but some of her in volleyball uniform as well. These were a bit tougher because they were taken in a dark gym. With the help of a tripod and remote shutter release, we were able to shine a flashlight on her during a long exposure to get good coverage of light.

I really love the way these shots turned out. The subject was very photogenic and had the most beautiful complexion. I did no post production work on her skin at all.

I have begun pinning ideas for winter portraits, because the leaves are all off the trees now and snow is in the forecast for next week. I plan on shooting those in a completely different group of settings. Can’t wait. 😊

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Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/200 sec.

I posted last time about my new Canon 50 mm F/1.8 lens and how it captures only the subject in focus. I couldn’t wait to try it out for some portraits. My cats were more that happy to pose.

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Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/40 sec.


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Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/125 sec.


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Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/125 sec.

As with any portrait, clear focus must be on the eyes. That meant that I had to manually focus every one of these shots to make sure the eyes were clear.

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Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/250 sec.


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Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/500 sec.

Since the eyes were not visible on this shot, I chose to focus on his beautiful eyebrows and whiskers.

Soon, I plan to try some shaped Bokeh with this lens 🙂

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Canon Rebel, F-3.5, ISO 100, 1/80 SS

Club and organizational photos are very similar to senior portraits. They are a type of environmental portrait, meaning the surroundings are important to the personal statement of the portrait. For these portraits of my son, who is in Future Farmers of America, I wanted to pose him in a farm setting. Fortunately, we live on a farm and we were able to take the photos literally in the backyard.

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Canon Rebel, ISO 100, F-4.5, 1/60 SS

As with any outdoor portrait, natural lighting is one of the most important things. It was sunny when these were taken, so we had to look for areas that were shaded, like the barn door.

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Canon Rebel, ISO 100, F-5.6, 1/25 SS

Hey guys like flowers too. As long as they aren’t too girly. Daisies over the fence serve the purpose nicely.

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Canon Rebel, ISO 100, F 3.5, 1/80 SS

Props are essential to environmental portraits. In the case of FFA photos-tractors, horses, cattle, hogs, etc. My son chose the tractor. I like the way the orange tractor crosses the color wheel with the navy blue FFA jacket. Once again, shade is preferable, especially if the props are shiny and can reflect sunlight back at the camera. I have included the setting data for each photo. I hope this is helpful to some.

You will notice that the ISO is always 100. That is the lowest ISO that my camera will shoot. The lower the ISO, the better quality your photos will be. The downside of shooting at a low ISO is that it takes more time and exposure to get a good shot. I always attempt to shoot at 100 ISO, but sometimes conditions limit that ability. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Keep shooting your children. LOL

    
I have found another great I phone/I pad app for photo manipulation. Afterlight is well worth the $1.99 cost. There are so many combinations of manipulations, I only began to explore and had saved several combinations in my favorites.
Check it out.

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Senior pictures of boys are a little different from those of girls. Boys are typically not as comfortable in front of the camera and it shows in the way they pose. Giving them a place to lean helps.

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This subject liked the way the iron gates looked in a couple of locations we used.

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The main problem that most guys have is not putting their hands in their pockets. Behind the back placement works nicely. As with any portrait, use a low number F-stop and focus on the eyes of the subject. This may mean manually focusing.

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Its graduation time-which means that many high school and college seniors are wanting photos for invitations, relatives and resumes. These types of portraits are usually environmental portraits (as opposed to head shots taken at school). Most seniors like to choose what to wear and where to have the pictures taken. Natural lighting works best, but not bright sunlight. These pictures were taken on a sunny day, so we sought out the shade for these shots.

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For the top two pictures, the subject was under a lattice canopy which let in small dabbles of sunlight. It took a little work to get her placed where they would hit in just the right spot.

IMG_7628 faceThe pictures above and below were taken in total shade under the porch roof of the building. Each of them turned out nicely because there was plenty of light, but not harsh sunlight.

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Posing for pictures is usually more natural for girls than boys. Occasionally, I ask the subject to bring props, such as sports equipment or musical instruments with them to a photo shoot. Sometimes, posing with something in one’s hands is easier. You have to make that call when you meet the subject or talk with them before the shoot. If they seem nervous about having photos done, props are a good way to relieve some of the anxiety.

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One of the great things about living on a farm is you don’t have to fake rustic backdrops. The one above was created against our new outbuilding using the door from the building that was removed to build the new building. The large rock was already in place and I slid the salvaged door behind the rock and covered the window opening with an old burlap sack. I placed an old fuel oil stove next to the door and added some greenery. The rock serves as a seat for the subject(s). I zoom in and voila, no idea this is not in front of an old building.

 

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With a little creative placement of objects, you have great places to shoot children. I have photographed many children (especially my own) in this wagon. The hostas make a great background. For added effect, an old quilt can be added to the wagon (I usually line the wagon with a piece of plastic so rust doesn’t get on the quilt). This is a fabulous place to photograph an infant or small child. Make sure you get down on the wagon’s level for the shot.

 

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This stump under a tree, next to a woodpile is a good place to shoot down on a subject. This works well for adults who are sensitive about lower body image. By shooting down on the subject, you minimize the lower body. They  will look great with the woods in the background.
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I have used this boat before propped against the barn. I plan to think of other ways to use it by itself.
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The barn itself has a nice weather-beaten look and the landscape timbers provide a perfect place to sit.
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My husband brought home this heart he savaged from a junk pile. It is great for pictures of kids or couples. It can be moved to wherever I want.
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It looks pretty in the coneflower bed by itself. I can’t wait to try it with a subject. 🙂

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One of the biggest challenges photographers face is trying to get a genuine smile from a subject. My son is one of those people who really struggles with looking natural in front of the camera.
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I took these pictures of him before his eighth grade dance. He was dressed up and looked very dapper. When I got the shot all ready to snap, his face looked like he was in pain. I managed to get him to laugh and then could snap the picture.
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Everything about the shot below is good except his smile. It looks s bit forced.
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I like this one better.
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The next two pictures were taken at the beach at a kayak dock. He did a little better for these. Maybe it was the more casual attire. 🙂
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The beach is one of the most popular settings for portraits. However, there are a few things photographers need to know before heading out into the sand with camera in tow. First, remember that the air at the beach is full of salt, which is corrosive to the components in your camera. NEVER take your interchangeable lens off on the beach. Microscopic bits of salt and sand get trapped inside of your camera and will damage the sensor. The humidity will also damage the camera. I usually take my DSLR camera out to the beach just long enough to shoot the portrait then take it back into the air conditioning.

IMG_3170Having covered camera damage prevention, let’s move on to how to get the best shot. Most photographers know that the best time to get a portrait is during golden hour, which at the beach is intensified by the sun’s reflection on the water. The shot above was taken just before sunset on the gulf coast of Florida. The nice glow on the subject was cast more by the sun’s reflection than the sun itself.

IMG_3179When taking pictures of groups, the same principle works, unless, as with the picture above, a storm has just passed over and the sky is cloudy. Golden hour doesn’t exist when the sun is not visible. For this shot, I set the flip up fill flash to fire just enough to help illuminate our faces slightly. The shot below was taken the same way on the nearby waterway. I actually like the way it looks better than the beach shot. The trees help to frame the subjects and the buildings and docks add some texture to the background.

IMG_3180I always encourage my students to take vacation family portraits. There will be more on portraits to come in other posts.

Keep shooting 🙂

 

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Pretty much anytime I can find a way to do something creative AND cheap, I give it a try. I saw a long time ago on something (I apologize to whom ever came up with this for not remembering) about putting a piece of clear plastic wrap on the end of your lens and smearing all but the very center with petroleum jelly to create a dreamy effect around your subject.

I am currently teaching a photography class and I always like to give my students ways to be creative without having to spend a bundle, so I gave it a try. The top photo of a fence pull was taken at very short depth of field and the background would have been blurry anyway. However, with the sophisticated lubricant-endowed plastic wrap on the lens, the photo looks more interesting.

The photo below of my cat also turned out nice. The only problem with this method is that it blows the rule of thirds because the sharp focus is in the dead middle of the shot. I suppose I could work on ways to make the focal point out of focus.

Have fun 🙂

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