View Full Version : Minimum Senior Pictures Equipment
25th of September 2008 (Thu), 20:08
I've been approached by a few people about doing senior portraits. This after they've seen my photos and posters of Aircraft and Sports. Since those are my primary types of photos, I've never really gotten into doing a lot of portrait photography.
So my question... what is the minimum equipment needed to start doing good portrait photography? I'm not planning on having a studio setup, just planning outdoors shoots only.
25th of September 2008 (Thu), 20:36
A camera with a lens is the absolute minimum. :)
If you understand light, and know how to use natural light, and can be patiant and wait for the right time of day, then it can be all you will need.
Your experiance with aircraft and sports will be great for doing this.
If you want more control over the light, then you have to start adding more gear.
An on camera speed lite is a good start for filling shadows under eyes, from there the list is endless:
1 or more off camera speed lights.
Assistants to handle it, etc.....
25th of September 2008 (Thu), 20:37
Whew, ok, I have the camera and some lenses. So at least I'm off to a good start.
I have to get a real flash.
25th of September 2008 (Thu), 21:39
I'm in the process of trying to start something up myself and have been doing a lot of reading on these forums. I'm glad there is this off shoot of the picture posting forum :). Anyway, I would like to know how important are reflectors and having the ability to shoot flash off camera are? Or what about a diffusion panel. I saw a great DIY large diffusion panel to block the rays of the sun...but I guess you'd need an assistant or have a good stand to hold it up to block the sun from being to harsh on your subjects.
So I'll add to your questions:
1) what are everyone's thoughts on taking a long a reflector for portraits. Should I go get one now? :P
2) what would be best to start off with...a soft box or an umbrella? I just got an 430 EX II speedlite so I'm wondering if I would be wise to match that with either of the two and use it off camera?
3) could you take decent photos with just an external flash on camera?
Hope you don't mind me adding to this post. I figured it would help. :)
Oh...hehehe...I see Moppie answered some of my questions to a point. Oh well.
25th of September 2008 (Thu), 21:52
If you have absolute creative freedom, and all the time in the world, then you can take perfectly good portriats with only a camera and a lens.
As soon as you start to make a business out of it, you start to become restricted by how and where you can shoot.
For example you can't always wait for the perfect weather, and the perfect light and have a client show up exactly when you want them to.
So to get around those restrictions you have to create your own light, and that means at least one flash.
From here the more business orintated you become, and the more you become restricted by your clients, the more gear you might add.
But, the more gear you add, and the more control you have over lighting, the more complexity you also add.
A single reflector can make a huge difference to a photograph and it sounds like such a simple device.
The problem is they need someone position them, and someone or something to hold them.
If you can't get a second person to hold the reflector, and it is to windy to put it in a stand, then it is a waste of time having one.
So what you need to do is find a suitable balance that suits what you are aiming to do.
By all means learn about all the different bits of gear you could use, and owning more than you will ever use is not a bad thing.
But don't get hung up on the idea that you need lots of gear to take great portraits just because someone else does.
Just work out what YOU need to take great portraits, and work with that.
25th of September 2008 (Thu), 22:19
Great post...thanks moppie. :) Makes total sense. I've always loved photography...and everyone has always told me I need to make a business out of it...and finally I'm going to try. But before I jump into everything....I've been reading these forums and gaining a lot of knowledge from people who know what they are doing. The lighting stuff is what I'm trying to wrap my head around the most.
30th of September 2008 (Tue), 16:54
I'll second that a single reflector can make a huge difference.
This shot was taken outdoors at around 3pm, when the sun is still quite strong.
The sun was behind her in the left and the reflector was placed in front of her in the right. Without the reflector, the hairs would have been blown out and the face underexposed.
2nd of October 2008 (Thu), 10:51
This post has been very helpful, thank you guys for giving us some examples on how to do this! One other question though, when it comes to reflectors, is there a good brand to get (looking for middle of the road, not cheap, but not expensive)? And when I was looking into it, there is a gold side and a silver side: i've only seen silver, what effects does the gold have on a portrait?
5th of October 2008 (Sun), 03:56
Great post...thanks moppie. :) Makes total sense. I've always loved photography...and everyone has always told me I need to make a business out of it...and finally I'm going to try. But before I jump into everything....I've been reading these forums and gaining a lot of knowledge from people who know what they are doing. The lighting stuff is what I'm trying to wrap my head around the most. My niece has been in the photography business for the last 4 yrs or so and has yet to use an off camera flash and only owns one lens :).. I think her photos are fantastic! tarabyykkonen.com ....unfortunately, she want's to get out of photography because of family/friends/friends of friends taking advantage of her. Hopefully, I'll have my business plan as such that I won't have that issue. :P
Great gallery - really nice composition on many of the photos! Your niece is very talented.
Btw, you said that she only uses one lens - which one?
8th of October 2008 (Wed), 23:08
This is my first year offering Senior portrait publicly and I basically use my Nifty Fifty and available light along with an invaluable 5-in-1 reflector/diffuser and assistant daughter. I have my backdrops even hanging in my garage on a draped rope and just open it up and have them pose outside. I have a speedlight and umbrella strobes, portable light stand other lenses etc but I basically don't use them right now.
- here are my results so far...
10th of October 2008 (Fri), 20:03
And when I was looking into it, there is a gold side and a silver side: i've only seen silver, what effects does the gold have on a portrait?
I use the gold side when shooting right before the sun sets. It reflects an amber color back to the model and it matches well with the color of the sun. There are other uses for it, but that is what I mainly use it for.
Some reflectors also have a white and black side to reflect and take away light.
If you can't afford one right away, you can use an accordian (sp?) style, silver windshield reflector
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