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Author Topic: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden  (Read 1746 times)

thgmuffin

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Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« on: March 14, 2014, 01:58:20 AM »
Hey all, can anyone give me some tips on photographing couples in a rose garden?

I will be using a 6D, a Tamron 24-70, a 50mm f1.8, and a 430 EX II.

My questions are:
Which lens would you use for photographing the individual couples (2 people), the 50mm f1.8 or the 24-70?

Also, would you show more of the flowers (less shallow DOF) or have the blur of the flowers accompany the couples?

Thanks!
 

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Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« on: March 14, 2014, 01:58:20 AM »

Albi86

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2014, 11:41:45 AM »
Use the 24-70 on the long end. Some compression makes people look better, especially women.

For DoF reasons I advice against shooting any wider than f/5.6 for more than one person. It will be difficult otherwise to keep both on them in sharp focus.

For the background blur you can tune it by changing distance between subjects and background.

Since you will be shooting outdoors without possibility to bounce the flash, I strongly advise you use a diffuser or a small softbox.

thgmuffin

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2014, 01:41:42 PM »
Use the 24-70 on the long end. Some compression makes people look better, especially women.

For DoF reasons I advice against shooting any wider than f/5.6 for more than one person. It will be difficult otherwise to keep both on them in sharp focus.

For the background blur you can tune it by changing distance between subjects and background.

Since you will be shooting outdoors without possibility to bounce the flash, I strongly advise you use a diffuser or a small softbox.
Alright, thanks!

So I should avoid shooting at 2.8 for individual couples?

I will also bring a gary fong lightsphere for direct fill flash.

Albi86

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2014, 02:01:09 PM »
Use the 24-70 on the long end. Some compression makes people look better, especially women.

For DoF reasons I advice against shooting any wider than f/5.6 for more than one person. It will be difficult otherwise to keep both on them in sharp focus.

For the background blur you can tune it by changing distance between subjects and background.

Since you will be shooting outdoors without possibility to bounce the flash, I strongly advise you use a diffuser or a small softbox.
Alright, thanks!

So I should avoid shooting at 2.8 for individual couples?

I will also bring a gary fong lightsphere for direct fill flash.

Depends on how far away you are.

There's a magic distance where wide apertures are able to keep your full subject(s) in focus but blur the background enough to make them pop. It depends on the aperture and focal length combination, and on how close you are. If you're too close you risk to have one face in focus and the other out.

RustyTheGeek

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2014, 11:49:53 PM »
I agree on the aperture, keep it 5.6 or above.  Maybe even 6.3 or 8 depending on how close you are.  The closer you are to the subject, the higher the number needs to be.

Your best option might be to use a 70-200 or a 135 prime and get further back from them while also keeping them far in front of the background so it will blur.  The distance would also help diffuse the fill light from the camera.  Unfortunately, the 430 might struggle with distance over 8-10 feet, esp if you used a diffuser.  If you are far enough away from them, the diffuser would not be necessary.

Get a friend and go practice at that venue at the same time of day.  Test different ideas, lenses, flash setups, etc.  Let us know what you decide and how it goes!!  Relax and have fun!
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

thgmuffin

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2014, 01:55:29 AM »
I agree on the aperture, keep it 5.6 or above.  Maybe even 6.3 or 8 depending on how close you are.  The closer you are to the subject, the higher the number needs to be.

Your best option might be to use a 70-200 or a 135 prime and get further back from them while also keeping them far in front of the background so it will blur.  The distance would also help diffuse the fill light from the camera.  Unfortunately, the 430 might struggle with distance over 8-10 feet, esp if you used a diffuser.  If you are far enough away from them, the diffuser would not be necessary.

Get a friend and go practice at that venue at the same time of day.  Test different ideas, lenses, flash setups, etc.  Let us know what you decide and how it goes!!  Relax and have fun!
I see!

Do you really think fill flash is necessary? I would think you would want to shoot at F2.8 for the best blurred out background, but I guess not. I will experiment with 2.8-8 when I shoot this friday. I also have a 70-300 Tamron which already has those apertures you guys suggest...

RustyTheGeek

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2014, 01:00:55 PM »
I agree on the aperture, keep it 5.6 or above.  Maybe even 6.3 or 8 depending on how close you are.  The closer you are to the subject, the higher the number needs to be.

Your best option might be to use a 70-200 or a 135 prime and get further back from them while also keeping them far in front of the background so it will blur.  The distance would also help diffuse the fill light from the camera.  Unfortunately, the 430 might struggle with distance over 8-10 feet, esp if you used a diffuser.  If you are far enough away from them, the diffuser would not be necessary.

Get a friend and go practice at that venue at the same time of day.  Test different ideas, lenses, flash setups, etc.  Let us know what you decide and how it goes!!  Relax and have fun!
I see!

Do you really think fill flash is necessary? I would think you would want to shoot at F2.8 for the best blurred out background, but I guess not. I will experiment with 2.8-8 when I shoot this friday. I also have a 70-300 Tamron which already has those apertures you guys suggest...

You won't be able to shoot at f/2.8 because your long lens can't do it.  Edit:  Whoops!  Sorry!  I mixed up which lens you have.  (And a long lens that could would likely be the 70-200 f/2.8, which is worth more than all your equipment combined.)  And assuming you rented a faster long lens, there will be too much light in the daytime to be able to use f/2.8 unless you used a ND filter.  Even at ISO 100 you will likely not have a fast enough shutter to allow f/2.8.  And even if you did, one of your subjects would be out of focus.  Trust me, you probably don't want to go below f/5.6.  You can blur the background with distance behind the subject at f/5.6 but you can't get multiple faces and prom dresses in sharp focus at f/2.8.

Yes, fill flash will be necessary.  Otherwise you will have undesirable shadows in the faces, esp if you have backlight or a bright background.  Discussing lighting techniques for this is a whole other discussion and it doesn't sound like you have the equipment anyway.  In this case, with your limited equipment, ETTL is your friend and it will be easier to tweak/adjust the highlights later in LR with possibly a little too much light vs too little/more shadows in the faces.

There are several levels of challenge on shoots like this.  Focus, DOF, background, lighting, posing and people management.  Practicing with someone (or several someones) ahead of time would be of great benefit.  Rehearse the entire thing at the same time of day so the light will be the same.  Set up your equipment, pose your subjects, focus, camera settings, people herding, talking to the subjects and finally examine the images in LR and see what needs to be tweaked and what needs to be adjusted in camera.

I would seriously recommend that you get LR 5 to correct and improve the images.  You will no doubt have shadow, white balance, shadow, contrast challenges that you will want to improve (and learn from) after the fact.

Most of what I'm saying here is basic stuffThere are many other CR members here with way more portrait experience than I have that could probably offer more experienced advice and suggestions.

But in this case, I think you need to follow the KISS principle and not add any more equipment or techniques than you can handle.

Everyone here at CR are glad to help and know the stress and concern a photographer faces.  The best way to achieve success is NOT spending a lot of money, it's PRACTICE!!!
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 01:42:42 PM by RustyTheGeek »
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2014, 01:00:55 PM »

mackguyver

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2014, 01:15:14 PM »
Some additional thoughts
- Keep the background clean and simple
- Watch for trees and other objects that could "grow out of people's heads"
- Unless shooting in the golden hour or on a overcast or partly cloudy day, look for "open shade", i.e. a shaded area that is open on the sides so softer reflected light still comes into the frame
- If the light is awful, put the sun behind the couple and use a fill flash.  Leave the diffuser at home - it's meant for indoor use (bouncing off walls & ceiling) and will drop the output of your flash way too much
- Use high-speed sync on your flash (make sure you know how to set it) if the light is bright
- Shoot a variety of poses and framing - don't do full body shots and nothing else
- Err on the side of standing further back and using the 50 or zooming out to 70mm
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RustyTheGeek

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2014, 01:46:57 PM »
Thanks mackgyver!  My post was getting too long but I wanted to say more!  Your suggestions are very important considerations and spot on!  I would add however that the background needs to have some contrast or pattern to help promote the subjects.  It looks like the trees, etc will work beautifully if they are sufficiently OOF.  The OP just needs to avoid too much sky in his shot and not bisect the heads with the horizon.  :-)

IMHO, the OP should really do a practice session to see what his images will look like.  The first time I did something like this I learned sooooo much!!

« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 01:49:44 PM by RustyTheGeek »
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

Drizzt321

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2014, 02:01:10 PM »
As an alternative to fill-flash, if it's not going to be super windy, you could get some of the white foam-core and 2 good stands to reflect the natural sunlight from 45-degree on each side for fill. Advantage is, once you get the locations set, it works rather well for the most part. Just make sure to put a couple of tape marks for where people should stand, and some weight bags to put on the stands to work to keep them from falling over if knocked a bit.
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RustyTheGeek

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2014, 02:12:24 PM »
Regarding everything that has been suggested so far, I can't emphasize enough the value of rehearsing your shoot.  This is where everything will be revealed to you.  Budget at least an hour or two and test lighting, test your posing, test your equipment. Figure out various backgrounds based on where your subjects are standing, how the light falls on their faces and clothing or how dark/bright the background is.  Keep your head on a swivel.  Look at the background from 360 degrees and don't be afraid to move around the subjects, move up and down and observe how the background and light changes in the composition as you move around.  Be careful as you back up, etc or you may end up in that fountain!!  (I can't tell if the fence goes all the way around.)  ;D

Based on the experience level it sounds like you are at, I would probably avoid using reflected lighting (foam core, etc) because I think it will be too complicated and more of a challenge that may potentially stress you out or confuse you when you are in the moment and trying to move around to pose your subjects 'just right'.  Plus, if you still use the flash, it will likely overpower the reflected light anyway and render it moot.

Are you shooting multiple prom couples in a row or are you shooting one couple for as long as it takes?  Are these friends, relatives or are they paying clients?  This would help dictate how much stress you may be under during the shoot.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 02:18:17 PM by RustyTheGeek »
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

RustyTheGeek

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2014, 03:12:35 PM »
OH, and I'm really sorry but I have to say, my dyslexia keeps giving me a double take and a chuckle every time I see the thread title!   ;D
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

mackguyver

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2014, 03:19:24 PM »
IMHO, the OP should really do a practice session to see what his images will look like.  The first time I did something like this I learned sooooo much!!
+1, especially if it's a paid shoot, even if it means getting a friend/relative or even a total stranger to pose for you.
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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2014, 03:19:24 PM »

thgmuffin

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2014, 02:41:29 AM »
These will be a group of friends I know! It will be for their Junior prom (I'm only a Sophomore haha), anyway, I believe they only have allocated around 45 minutes for me (they have dinner reservations).

There will be 6 couples in total.

I have sort of planned it out like this:
Group picture
guys picture
girls picture

Then the individual pictures.

Another friend of mine might be able to take me there an hour before, but it is very unlikely. This is why I am posting here to get all the nice advice from you guys!

After this, I will be a "run around" photographer at their prom (class officers of 2015 "hired" me), in which I will be getting candids and all that nice stuff....

I might also be able to borrow my friend's 100mm f2.8 macro lens!

RustyTheGeek

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2014, 09:26:12 AM »
That's a good run down.  Thanks.  When is the prom?  How much time before the big night?

Just to be clear, when I said PRACTICE, I meant as soon as possible, several DAYS before the shoot, not an hour.

Then, you should get to any shoot at least an hour early (or more) to set up, prepare, make sure everything is good, etc.  I could write a list but in general you should be ready to press the shutter at least a half hour before anyone is due to arrive.  Then you can relax, casually go over your plan and get 'in the zone'.  What people will interpret as a skilled photographer on a shoot is how prepared and smooth you are, not how good the pictures are.  (That comes later!)  If you are still setting up, can't find things you need, tripping over your gear or yourself and appear confused and stressed, this is bad.  What you are shooting for (pun alert) is cool, calm and collected.  Easy going, fun and cheerful.  You are a master of all things photographic, technical and spiritual!  You make the birds sing, the clouds part and the sun vary its intensity and white balance with a wave of your hand! ........... OK ........... I got carried away.  No one can make birds sing.

What I'm trying to say is that the practice session DAYS AHEAD OF TIME will help you be experienced and organized.  You'll know what to expect, you'll have a solid plan that you are CONFIDENT will work because you already tested it, proved it and you already know what images your poses, your camera settings and your plan will produce!  Without proper planning and practice, you are lost.

I can tell you that regardless of age, experience, talent or skill level, everyone gets nervous.  But that soon goes away when you get rolling if you are well prepared and you have a solid plan to follow.  And don't be too surprised when things don't work exactly as you expect.  This is also normal.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 10:02:55 AM by RustyTheGeek »
Yes, but what would  surapon  say ??  :D

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Re: Photographing Prom Couples In a Rose Garden
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2014, 09:26:12 AM »