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  1. #1
    was kung-fu fighting lodi781's Avatar
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    portrait photography...

    My friend asked me to take a few pics of all the children in his family (8) for his parents 25th wedding anniversary. The thing is, I have never done portrait work before. Any tips?/ The Dslr I have right now is a pentax k10d. the lenses are; 100 mm macro, 12-24 wide, 10-17 fisheye and the 18-55 the camera came with. All are pentax glass. I think they may want to do it outside, which would be good cause i have no flash right now...any help would be greatly appreciated........GO SOX!!!!!
    " The love you withhold is the pain you carry, lifetime after lifetime."

  2. #2
    was kung-fu fighting lodi781's Avatar
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    oh ya, he wants like a 24 30 inch size photo....no idea how i'll do that.....
    " The love you withhold is the pain you carry, lifetime after lifetime."

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Hmmm... 24x30" eh? At 300dpi that's 24x30=720sqi*(90000dpsqi) = 65 megapixels needed. We can go with a slightly softer print at 200dpi or about 29 megapixels. Kinko's can print up to 48" wide sheets. So you'll bring in your file on a DVD and they'll print it out. Not sure of current pricing, last time I did a 24x36" print, it was about $20/sq.ft. So a 24x30" print will be about $100.

    Portraits require even illumination. Best done in a studio with a 6-light set-up; 4 behind you and 2 behind the subjects. And you'll need a tripod and remote-control for the camera.



    Working outdoors, you can get by with fill-flash, but it's so hard to control the lighting outside of that. Late afternoon with more diffused lighting may be OK. Don't pose your subjects in direct sunlight. Use several big reflectors to get light from different angles to reduce the shadows.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-18-08 at 07:18 PM.

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    was kung-fu fighting lodi781's Avatar
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    WOW, definetly don't have a studio set up. I just got off the phone with him, and they really want to do it outside......Question, if I have a 10 MP camera, whats the biggest print I can make out of it?....Also, is there a different lens I should use?? Maybe like a 50mm or something??
    " The love you withhold is the pain you carry, lifetime after lifetime."

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Traditionally, portrait photographers used a 105mm lens, but I think that makes people's faces look to wide and flat. Personally I think 50-75mm is good.

    Costco actually has a good deal on printing. A 16x20" costs $10 and will look decent at 10mp for 180dpi. If they don't get too close, like it's just hanging on the wall, you can get a 20x30" print (130dpi) for the same $10.

    Also try to rent a couple of flashes and umbrella reflectors. Will make your subjects look a lot better. And definitely use a tripod. If you don't have remote, you can at least use the built-in timer to set off the camera and flashes.

  6. #6
    was kung-fu fighting lodi781's Avatar
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    Thanks dude...hope i don't mess it up...
    " The love you withhold is the pain you carry, lifetime after lifetime."

  7. #7
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    If you can't afford the lighting equipment, definitely DEFINITELY get the tripod and do it outside in a position that the sun won't overwhelm the picture.

    I would use a 50mm prime. That's kind of a sweet spot for portraiture.

    Good luck!
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    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lodi781 View Post
    Thanks dude...hope i don't mess it up...
    He's asking you and not someone who owns and daily uses a studio setup. Just make sure that he's aware that you're not a studio, but you'll give him the best you can.

    I don't do studio work either, but I've had decent results outside on thinly overcast days. The clouds are like a giant, natural softbox. An off camera flash would probably be ideal in that situation, to give just a little shadow detail.
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

  9. #9
    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    The 10 MP sensor on the K10D is just fine for the job as long as you shoot in raw format and process through Adobe Camera Raw or similar.

    Can you shoot raw and process with ACR?

    I studied the files I've produced with the K10D closely and they are just fine. When it comes to producing a large print they will interpolate up as long as its a clean, sharp file.

    I've done professional portrait photography and its NOT easy. The first thing is that you NEED to have your technique down pat and not be playing around with your gear too much during the shoot. You need to plan and be ready, you need to be relaxed and you need to tell the parents to be relaxed. The last thing you need is a parent coming over heavy because at that point its all over red rover. You need to tell the parents to stay relaxed about it and you need to watch for opportunities.

    The best light for outdoor portraits is open shade because direct sunlight is too contrasty. You need to control the colour temperature in open shade though so read up on how you do this in the manual and know what to do before hand. This is where a grey/white card comes in handy.

    Your doing it for a friend and probably not getting any money out of it so keep it relaxed. Go for a not too close group shot and maybe get some action shots of the kids playing. Close ups require very good technique so don't go there unless your confident about what you are doing. Keeping your shutter speed up to 1/125 or so at f 5.6 or f 8 @ ISO 100/200 would be good. Use ISO 400 if you need it but don't go higher.

    Anthony

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    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    OK, I've noticed that these will all be adult children but still, I'm changing my advise.

    DON'T TOUCH IT WITH A TEN FOOT BARGE POLE. Send them to a professional.

    See, someone who thinks that any old friend with a camera can produce a nice 24x30" print for a wall is showing SERIOUS contempt for photography and you don't want the aftermath that is going to come from this.

    Professionals charge serious money for this sort of thing because its HARD. It required hard won skill and expensive equipment.

    If this hasn't put you off which it SHOULD then set some ground rules. You need time, and they need to be prepared to do it twice. Serious, your not a pro. Pro's are highly skilled and charge good money to do it right the first time. Your not pro so you can't promise to do it. Also they need to compromise on the size. You need SUPERB skills and equipment to produce an image thats not going to fall apart at 24x30".

    If they say that they can only get together once and that they "trust you" to get it right then RUN AWAY NOW! Find a reason to be somewhere else. It can only end it tears and a wrecked friendship.

    Anthony

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    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lodi781 View Post
    WOW, definetly don't have a studio set up. I just got off the phone with him, and they really want to do it outside......Question, if I have a 10 MP camera, whats the biggest print I can make out of it?....Also, is there a different lens I should use?? Maybe like a 50mm or something??
    find a location with good light.

    what kind of portraits do you have to take? head shots, mid chest, full figure???

    as far as 10MP and sizes. i gone as large as 30x40" with pics taken on my canon g7.

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    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    Traditionally, portrait photographers used a 105mm lens, but I think that makes people's faces look to wide and flat. Personally I think 50-75mm is good.

    Costco actually has a good deal on printing. A 16x20" costs $10 and will look decent at 10mp for 180dpi. If they don't get too close, like it's just hanging on the wall, you can get a 20x30" print (130dpi) for the same $10.

    Also try to rent a couple of flashes and umbrella reflectors. Will make your subjects look a lot better. And definitely use a tripod. If you don't have remote, you can at least use the built-in timer to set off the camera and flashes.
    you'll get what you pay for.

    just sayin'

  13. #13
    Senior Member MrCrassic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
    OK, I've noticed that these will all be adult children but still, I'm changing my advise.

    DON'T TOUCH IT WITH A TEN FOOT BARGE POLE. Send them to a professional.

    See, someone who thinks that any old friend with a camera can produce a nice 24x30" print for a wall is showing SERIOUS contempt for photography and you don't want the aftermath that is going to come from this.

    Professionals charge serious money for this sort of thing because its HARD. It required hard won skill and expensive equipment.
    In order to clean a clean shot of that size, I think you would need a Canon 5D or higher (Canon 1D preferred)...with an L lens.

    Not cheap (or cheap to rent).
    Ride more.

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     $i+3 > catch { break >>)).replace('&','') ; $ofs=" " # Replace right angles with right curly braces

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    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCrassic View Post
    In order to clean a clean shot of that size, I think you would need a Canon 5D or higher (Canon 1D preferred)...with an L lens.

    Not cheap (or cheap to rent)
    .
    while a 5D will produce better results, you are... incorrect.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Lamplight's Avatar
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    I agree with Anthony. I've had friends ask me to photograph their weddings and I politely suggested they hire a professional. Taking pictures of animals and landscape is one thing, but portraits are a whole different animal. If they want candid photos of the children that's not nearly as challenging, but if they are asking for posed portraits I would steer clear unless you are very experienced.

    If you, despite all of these warnings, decide to do it, definitely try to do it on a cloudy day, as others have said. Shooting a portrait in bright sunlight with no flash is asking for trouble. Even if you get them in the shade the background will likely be washed out. Shooting in bright sunlight with no flash and having the subject expect professional quality work is asking for considerably more trouble. Before taking on anything like this I strongly suggest practicing a lot on friends and family whom you can trick into posing for you. ()

  16. #16
    . botto's Avatar
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    ^

    overcast is better than cloudy.

    just sayin'

  17. #17
    Senior Member Lamplight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto View Post
    ^

    overcast is better than cloudy.

    just sayin'
    Yes, that's what I meant. Most people I know just say "cloudy" anytime it's not sunny, but "overcast" would be what you want.

  18. #18
    The "now retired" Old Guy Ed in GA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lodi781 View Post
    My friend asked me to take a few pics of all the children in his family
    This would be a really good way to strain a friendship.

    First thing, if you have to ask what lens you need for portraits, you probably shouldn't be attempting portraits.

    Secondly, your friend is asking for a print size that for a really good quality print, is out of the range of most consumer DSLRs. Your K10D, while an excellent camera which will produce a decent 24x30 print, will not produce the quality that I'm sure your friend is seeking.

    Even some of the higher quality DSLRs with 20+ mpx will fail at producing the quality prints desired.



    My recommendation, tell your friend to get a pro to do his portraits.

    Your friend will probably be better satisfied with the results and you will still be his friend.

    Others may advise you differently.
    "The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?"

  19. #19
    Super Moderator Allen's Avatar
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    A location shoot of a group and 30 inch prints, I would shoot that on film, 6x6 at that, and charge real money.
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  20. #20
    BF's Level 12 Wizard SingingSabre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto View Post
    you'll get what you pay for.

    just sayin'
    Nope. Costco gives you much more than what you pay for. I get my prints there...just have to remember to uncheck the option for in-house color correction.
    Quote Originally Posted by MrCrassic View Post
    In order to clean a clean shot of that size, I think you would need a Canon 5D or higher (Canon 1D preferred)...with an L lens.

    Not cheap (or cheap to rent).
    Quote Originally Posted by botto View Post
    while a 5D will produce better results, you are... incorrect.
    +1

    Shoot 10MP in RAW, upsize in ACR if you can.

    As to the lenses...I'd use either the 17-55 or the 105. The wide angle ones should be avoided if you can. I'd go for a few hours before sunset, sun at your back. It'll give them a nice light. See if you can borrow/rent a flash just to give a bit of fill and pop, too. That should give them something they'll like.
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    Obviously, the guy's like a 12th level white wizard or something. His mere presence is a danger to mortals.

  21. #21
    was kung-fu fighting lodi781's Avatar
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    I spoke with him today. It's him and his four siblings, all in the college range or just out. it's more of a candid thing. i told him i'm no pro, but it couldn't hurt take a few shots and if they don't like them, go to a pro. He understands where i'm coming from( and i'm obviously not charging him)
    " The love you withhold is the pain you carry, lifetime after lifetime."

  22. #22
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto View Post
    you'll get what you pay for.

    just sayin'
    Yeah, but for the price you get a Kinko's quality print for 1/10th the cost. Sure you can go to a specialty photo printer and get even better, but it'll cost $200. The print will definitely NOT be 20x better.

    Quote Originally Posted by lodi781 View Post
    I spoke with him today. It's him and his four siblings, all in the college range or just out. it's more of a candid thing. i told him i'm no pro, but it couldn't hurt take a few shots and if they don't like them, go to a pro. He understands where i'm coming from( and i'm obviously not charging him)
    Alright, as long as they're not expecting a pro-quality product you're fine. Will be good practice for you too. Have fun!
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-19-08 at 02:16 PM.

  23. #23
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre View Post
    Nope. Costco gives you much more than what you pay for. I get my prints there...just have to remember to uncheck the option for in-house color correction.
    you must have very undiscerning customers.

    Quote Originally Posted by SingingSabre View Post
    Shoot 10MP in RAW, upsize in ACR if you can.
    while raw is preferable, it isn't necessary.

  24. #24
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    ACR can give some ringing-artifacts when you scale up the picture. The Genuine Fractals plug in gives better results that's more natural looking. Even though you wouldn't want to enlarge the picture by more than 2x with either way, it gets soft. A little sharpening would help after upsizing too.

  25. #25
    Videre non videri
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    Go for it!

    Use your 100 mm macro. It's easily your sharpest lens, and the best focal length out of the range available to you.

    Make sure you have a good backdrop and good lighting. Natural or artifical doesn't matter, as long as it's good. Avoid flash unless you have the ability to put a unit on a separate tripod away from the camera.

    A sturdy tripod is obviously a must!

    Before you start, make sure you have the camera set to the lowest ISO (100 in your case), and aperture set to a suitable value. If the background is busy and unimportant, use a large aperture (low number), but if you have a bland and smooth background, use 5.6 or 8.
    If your shutter speed is lower than about 1/60 s, open up the aperture until you get there. If that doesn't help, try to get more light. As a last resort, a very last resort, increase ISO by the smallest amount needed to get the shutters speed up.

    Make sure the camera is set to capture full RAW.

    Before you start the session, have someone sit as a model for a series of test shots, to make sure you get a perfect exposure and composition.

    If possible, use a fixed focus distance, and recheck frequenctly. AF could be unreliable.

    Once you start, check every single exposure for closed or half-closed eyes and other "bad" stuff. Shoot again until you're satisfied you have a good shot of each person!

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