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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk
Thread started 13 May 2017 (Saturday) 11:00
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Advice requested for first "professional" shoot. Senior pictures

 
wyntastr
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Joined Mar 2012
Bradenton, FL
May 13, 2017 11:00 |  #1

I'm hoping to get a little advice here about my situation.
First, I'm a hobbyist who loves taking pictures of my girls' sporting events, softball and lacrosse, as well as various birding journeys, etc. I've never sold or have been asked to take shots for a fee. Until this week.
My daughter's softball coach approached me to take senior pictures of her oldest daughter. I was very hesitant, as I feel a senior portrait session is a pretty big deal in a HS senior's life as well as her family's.
I've never really done portraiture before, like really set up a shot complete with lighting, posing etc. She doesn't seem too worried about it, insists on me doing it, will pay me etc. I know I'm more stressed about it than they are!
Anyhow, I seek the forum members' advice on what I should expect, how many shots/locations/poses I should shoot, what gear should I bring/use and what should I charge for being a noob.
I plan on using my 1D III, 70-200 f/4, ef 85 f/1.8, and Helios 44-2 for some neat bokeh shots. I do have speedlights w/triggers and a softbox/stand for fill lighting if needed. We plan on being outdoors at a beautiful location by Sarasota Bay. The Ca' d'Zan gardens at Ringling Museum.
Thanks for reading.


60D - 1D Mk III - Rebel T3 - Rokinon 8 fisheye - Tokina 12-24 f/4 - 40 f/2.8 STM - 50 f/1.8 Mk I - 85 f/1.8 - 70-200 f/4L - 80-200 f/2.8L Magic Drainpipe - 300mm f/4L - 100-400L

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Nogo
I could have been worse....
Joined Dec 2013
All Along the Natchez Trace (Clinton, MS)
May 13, 2017 11:30 |  #2

First thing to do is check with the location and see what their photo policies are. Many allow casual photos but place restrictions on photo shoots.

Other than that, I would practice on your own daughter on a day before the shoot to work out the bugs. Personally I love the shots early or late in the day using high speed shutter to control the ambient light.


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ksbal
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Joined Sep 2010
N.E. Kansas
May 16, 2017 13:57 |  #3

learning how to pose people, is something you need to work on and experience before you start 'getting' it.

have them find stuff they like on pintrest, and try to mimic the posing and lighting.

Posing will be the biggest hurdle you have here, and that only gets easier with experience.


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Jimconnerphoto
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Southern California
May 19, 2017 13:13 |  #4

Agree with previous comments. Practice with your Daughter, contact the venue.
Shoot a ton. I typically deliver 60-100 shots on Senior shoots. I typically shoot 600-800 pics total. Multiple locations and a variety of poses/backgrounds and a few outfit changes.
Discuss the outfits beforehand. The outfit should be something that reflects the seniors personality but nothing trendy or that stands out too much. You want a picture of the senior, not the outfit.
Practice choosing backgrounds that are not too distracting and that balance well with the exposure. Expose for your subject and let the background under-expose about 1/3 of a stop.
Have fun!


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TeamSpeed
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Post has been last edited 5 months ago by TeamSpeed. 2 edits done in total.
May 19, 2017 13:19 |  #5

I have found that the more comfortable the senior is, the better the shots will be and the more creative or fun they will have in their posing. We have used a university property for alot of photos (many different unique areas), and we have found walking around and talking, then throwing out ideas of where to shoot before actually starting the work seems to put them at ease.

We also have used wifi to send photos from the camera to a tablet, where my significant other is walking with the parent(s). It used to be with Eye Fi (which I don't use any more), I could lock an image and it was the signal to send it over. Now I am using the Canon software, and so far, there is no way where I can select what to send to the parents as I am shooting.

At the end of the shoot, if the parents are available, I will do a few family shots to throw into the package. They always seem to appreciate that, and it seems to differentiate me from other photogs in this area.

Don't shoot at the top of the day, terrible time IMO unless you are under foliage. Try to do a morning or late afternoon shoot if possible. Might be good to invest in some large reflectors, and a battery strobe perhaps. These help to place light onto the shadow areas reducing those very harsh contrasts you might get.

Last tip, make sure you are cognizant of the background objects, no matter how blurry you think they will be. Whatever is in the background is your "backdrop", so watch for those poles or trees projecting out the person's head. :D

I still have alot to learn about introverts, the last one I did a shoot with was difficult, and partly because I am more introverted than extroverted. It was difficult to get any expressions from her at all. :(


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TeamSpeed
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May 19, 2017 13:30 |  #6

Two more I thought of...

There is a time and place for very large apertures, but don't overuse the effect.

Not a time to use it...

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/The-Senior-Experience/Shelby/i-LPHnNvX/0/38c29dcb/O/5P1B3427proof.jpg

This was a time I felt I could use it....

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/The-Senior-Experience/Shelby/i-fRn4kwb/1/6e5ed935/O/5P1B3611proof.jpg

Regarding sun contrasty shots... here is what happens when you shoot in the open sun, with no diffusing by clouds or otherwise. Sometimes you may have to go to black and white to bring a shot back.

IMAGE: https://photos.smugmug.com/The-Senior-Experience/Wyatt-Senior-Shoot/i-Tc3hdnR/0/ee2f0d56/XL/5P1B4056bwproof-XL.jpg

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wyntastr
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Joined Mar 2012
Bradenton, FL
May 19, 2017 13:33 |  #7

Thanks for the advice everyone.
To those of you that don't deliver actual prints, only digital files, what do you charge?
Do you go with a blanket sitting fee, and deliver a set amount of files, or do you charge on a per photo basis after letting the client make the selections? As a beginning amateur, I'd like to know a ballpark I should quote to potential buyers of my service. I'm not a pro, but it's still my time, and I feel I can deliver some nice results.

I did the shoot already and after importing the ones I felt had potential, edited and delivered 40 to her on a memory card. Upon meeting them at the location, she gave me $150. I felt that was fine. I just want to have a kind of consistent range should anyone else want me to do the same for them. She may let other parents know that I did a good job!


60D - 1D Mk III - Rebel T3 - Rokinon 8 fisheye - Tokina 12-24 f/4 - 40 f/2.8 STM - 50 f/1.8 Mk I - 85 f/1.8 - 70-200 f/4L - 80-200 f/2.8L Magic Drainpipe - 300mm f/4L - 100-400L

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TeamSpeed
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Post has been last edited 5 months ago by TeamSpeed. 3 edits done in total.
May 19, 2017 13:39 |  #8

I charge a trip fee per day (so if we split a shoot across days, I am compensated), then a blanket fee for 2 hours. Any more time than that (within reason), I will throw in a small extra charge. My fees include very light touchup work, if the senior requires more than that, there is a fee for that as well.

I will run about $200 for a senior shoot in 2 different locations. It often isn't convenient for them to hit two places and change up clothing all in one day. A couple shoots involved athletes, so the 2nd day was at their school in the sports complexes/fields/track​s.

I don't really print, but I offer those services at reduced prices (over labs in the area). I can print up to 13x19 at a cost of just under $2.00 for them, but charge about 4x that. I do deliver an online smugmug gallery for their use for a period of time, and then deliver all processed "keepers" to them via some medium or dropbox. I do print 8x10s and 13x19s for myself to fill a portfolio often.


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RDKirk
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Joined May 2004
USA
May 19, 2017 13:48 |  #9

A point on the business end:

Remember that although you need to make the senior happy, the real customer is the mother. The customer is always the mother. Stay in contact with the mother; the mother is who makes it happen.

In the end, you will have at least two purchase directions: Images to please the senior and images to please the mother--those will probably not be the same images.

For instance, the senior might want something edgy; the mother wants something serene. The senior might want "game face;" the mother wants a nice, big smile. Do both; sell both.




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wyntastr
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Joined Mar 2012
Bradenton, FL
May 19, 2017 13:58 as a reply to RDKirk's post |  #10

In this case, I'm frequently in touch with the mom because she's my daughter's softball coach. I did sent her an email asking her to give me an honest critique on how she liked them. She said she quickly looked through them and liked the results a lot, but did say that her daughter (the subject) really loved at least five of them, which according to her, is saying a lot. So I feel good about the results.

I will post a couple of them tonight when I get home to see what you all think. Would love to get some professional critique from the members here.
Thanks again for all your replies.


60D - 1D Mk III - Rebel T3 - Rokinon 8 fisheye - Tokina 12-24 f/4 - 40 f/2.8 STM - 50 f/1.8 Mk I - 85 f/1.8 - 70-200 f/4L - 80-200 f/2.8L Magic Drainpipe - 300mm f/4L - 100-400L

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TeamSpeed
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31,937 posts
Gallery: 60 photos
Joined May 2002
Northern Indiana
Post has been last edited 5 months ago by TeamSpeed. 4 edits done in total.
May 19, 2017 14:20 as a reply to wyntastr's post |  #11

I don't presume to know your post processing techniques or tools, but google for Nik filters. Google offers a whole suite of plugins free of charge, and some of those Color Efex ones are pretty good (as long as you don't go overboard) for senior shots. The Viveza B&W filters are very cool.

EDIT: Here is that suite: https://www.google.com​/nikcollection/ (external link)

Remember this is all FREE!


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wyntastr
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Joined Mar 2012
Bradenton, FL
May 19, 2017 14:35 |  #12

I think I downloaded the Nik collection, but I primarily use Lightroom for my PP.


60D - 1D Mk III - Rebel T3 - Rokinon 8 fisheye - Tokina 12-24 f/4 - 40 f/2.8 STM - 50 f/1.8 Mk I - 85 f/1.8 - 70-200 f/4L - 80-200 f/2.8L Magic Drainpipe - 300mm f/4L - 100-400L

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wyntastr
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Bradenton, FL
May 19, 2017 21:05 |  #13

Here are a couple from the shoot. Let me know what you think.

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60D - 1D Mk III - Rebel T3 - Rokinon 8 fisheye - Tokina 12-24 f/4 - 40 f/2.8 STM - 50 f/1.8 Mk I - 85 f/1.8 - 70-200 f/4L - 80-200 f/2.8L Magic Drainpipe - 300mm f/4L - 100-400L

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Advice requested for first "professional" shoot. Senior pictures
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