Posts Tagged ‘portrait photographer’

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Check out the rest of the photos we’ve got online on the SmugMug Gallery!

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Photo: Story and Tips

Shooting just for fun
I’ve written about this in the past about how often I go on just for fun photoshoots and get pictures of the people I’m with (like +Liz Draper who’s a local photographer) I had them model and as you can see in the pictures so did I even.
I’ll have to find that article about how and when I’m totally cool with doing pics for the heck of it.

Flowy Water
We often see the flowing water theme in landscapes but perhaps not enough with portraits.
I’m sure all skill levels will read this but just as a recap: the lower your shutter speed (longer time) the more flowing it looks.
I shot this whole series without a tripod and on the smugmug gallery you can go in and see photo details to see the times if you so desire.

If I remember correctly from 2 seconds all the way to 1/20th of a second.

No Tripod… no problem
I love being creative with how to get low shutter speeds without a tripod. When I travel and I’m in big cities it’s a pain to carry around a tripod all day long just so you can have one at night. So I frequently use all sorts of poles or walls or any of the many, many things you find along the sidewalks… or use the ground. I get some unique pictures because I’m putting the camera in places I might have never considered.

So for a couple of these I was using nearby trees and some of them a ledge that was a bit higher. I think for one or two I was handholding… I’m pretty sure you can tell on one or two of them. (If you see a black “void” around the subject)

Sieze the moment with flash
Even with putting the camera in steady places it’s not perfect because the subject will be moving, but it’s not a reason to not take the pictures.
Flash can help.
There’s some technical reasons going on (which I refrain from getting into at the moment) but just suffice it to say you’ll capture and seize the moment with flash which helps a lot with low shutter speeds.

Testing new stuff
I usually won’t go and play at pictures without trying something new I can use safely here on a for fun shoot before I take it to a paid shoot.

I was testing out two things this time: a battery pack for my speedlight (sb-900) and a flash bender which i was using as a snoot to direct the light straight onto the subject without much bleed onto the surrounding area. It worked well because we had to be sometimes 20ft from the subject standing on the bridge over the river with the flash pointed like a sniper at the subject while I stood from the angle you see here (first picture).

Verdict on the things I tested…
Well it wasn’t a long shoot so I’m not sure how long the battery pack will last but I’ve done 2-3 short shoots with it and it’s still going. And I might consider having a different device for my snoot as the one I was using was a little small for how huge the sb-900 is compared to all the other typical speedlights.

I love the spotlight look and I also love the colors. Because it was just after sunset the light was a lot cooler and we were able to warm her up a bit with the light so it’s a pretty stark contrast between warm and cold light.

Random models
I had some friends from church doing a picnic of sorts nearby. Of of my friends is into photography and he came and watched a bit so we threw him and his fiancee into a couple pictures.
On the last picture you can see the nice dramatic pose… in clothing that certainly did not match. eh? haha (Like them nice green running shorts for the dramatic dip with dramatic lighting?)

Not too slow
I went to a pretty low shutter speed but liked the look of the river at a somewhat faster speed so you could see just how rough the river was running.

Anyway those are some tips and the story behind the pictures.


I had a feeling it would be an enjoyable Saturday and it was. Good times were had by all, it was Fun.

And we also got some OK pictures out of it. haha

We took a little adventure to Antelope Island (in middle of the great salt lake) with the Cooper sisters.

I knew them because for years Kristina has been commenting on my blog and her sister Stephanie has been getting into photography. Years ago I even offered to re-edit some of Kristina’s bridal pictures.

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I love shooting for fun… aka… being around good people and shooting  just for the joy of it.

Often I’d have a lot more fun taking pictures than not… at any activity or party I’d probably be having more fun with a camera in my hand. I interact better, I still socialize. On one hand I know what I’m doing so much that it doesn’t stress me out at all and on the other I do enjoy figuring things out, so even if it is dificult lighting I prefer a good challenge.

However lest we misunderstand what shooting-for-fun involves

When is photographing “for fun”?

  • When it’s more about the social interaction than the pictures.
  • When at any time I can put the camera away and no one would complain.
  • When there are no high expectations to complete.
  • When we’re smiling, laughing and having a good time.
  • When people are happy I’m taking pictures of them.
  • When they’re grateful.
  • When it doesn’t cost me money.
  • When I can edit as few or as many as I want.

When is it work?

  • When I have to put aside part of my schedule in advance.
  • When the pictures are going toward an expressed purpose.
  • When someone requests a photoshoot.
  • When there is a higher level of expectation.
  • When I have to work hard in the way they believe I should.
  • When I start getting lots of instructions.
  • When people are not grateful but still expectant.
  • When I’m not only the shooter but the creative director.
  • When they start saying “You’re the photographer, you tell us what’s best”
  • They want me to give them free prints or print rights (and digital files)

A possible third option

  • There seems to exist another option “Shooting Work… For Fun”
  • It’s when I offer a gift or do a special like my yearly “charitable shoot” and say people can come get pictures for no cost or donate to charity.
  • It seems to hit many of the “for fun” areas and some of the “work” areas.
  • Expectations do exist but while money is not being exchanged the level of gratefulness is higher.
  • In these cases I am the one that offers the shoot. (requests on their end are limited)
  • OR they come up with the ideas, cutting down my work
  • more complicated than that… but you get the point.


And just so you know… this shoot qualified perfectly for a “For Fun” shoot.

I mentioned I’d be willing to do such a thing upon hearing all 3 sisters would be in town. I set up my own level of expectation which did include they’d pay for gas and stuff.

Notice I didn’t say much about how much time something takes me. Nor money.

  • Both of those things might change levels of expectation and how fun something is, but it isn’t a determining factor for me about work.
  • A “for fun” event usually isn’t paid for in advance but the expenses might be paid for, or a voluntary gift given after.
  • Also it might take up a lot of time. Our outing lasted most of the day on Saturday and I spent many many hours editing. It was still fun… and I got some good portfolio pictures out of it.

They were perfect “customers” for a “for fun” event. We weren’t in a rush, they offered to buy my food even, they were enjoyable to be around.

I didn’t feel like doing OCF (off camera flash) so I didn’t, I went back to my roots and just dealt with the mid day, sometimes cloudy, bright day.

Going Through Pictures

I had them come pick through pictures knocking down the original 750 pictures down to 250… then I went through them and selected ones I wanted to show off.

Having them come go through the pictures was part of the fun for me… one of the things I enjoy most about photography is seeing what people think and how they react. Having people go through the originals isn’t something I do a lot, but when I feel they have a strong positive opinion of my photography I don’t mind them seeing behind the curtain so-to-speak. And when I’d enjoy them being at the office for a little while. It does help limit my work… though often it takes up more of my time… but it’s more enjoyable.

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OK so coming off of a blog post in which I kinda poked at the studio crowd a little.
(All in good fun right?)

Now my thoughts on Model or Senior portrait only photographers.

Last time I think I used the word “Cheating” for studio types 😉
I think i’ll use it again… haha
But this time it’s the cheating that I really really like.
It’s all said in good fun… or is it 😉 Mwahaha

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More people More harder
I think we can all admit that the more people you add to a photoshoot typically the harder it gets.
So that being said… shooting one individual is the easiest number.

When they’re the Model types it gets even easier.
I suppose it becomes more about your skills in setting up shots and being creative, than it is about how to interact with the people. (Obviously those elements are still there to a degree)


Case in point: Angela

I did her wedding last year in California.
You may remember her beach bridals

She’s getting into photography so we did a little trip looking for places, training on photography and taking pictures. Full Gallery



Another case
Even more fulfilling was taking pictures for Nichole.
She wasn’t very into it and you’d think she’d be since she’s an actress.
Heck she has the lead role in a play right now.
But she was a bit shy and didn’t quite know what to do.
I kinda had to coerce her into even doing the shoot.
Very different from Angela… and yet the pictures of Nichole were great. They captured her very well.
Who she was and so forth. I’m very happy with it. Full Gallery

Thanks for the fun days to both of you! Enjoy your pictures and show them off!



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The point?
So the point of this all is to say:
Dang!!! Individual portrait sessions are so much easier, specially when they are the fun types, the outgoing and the posers…
I’m not hating on Portrait only photographers… I would do it ALL the time if there were a better market for it all.

Supply and Demand
And there probably is a decent market. But see the thing is every person photography wants to do it, but not everyone wants to do weddings.
The need for individual shoots isn’t very high and the price is pretty low.
It’s understandable… it’s supply and demand.
Meaning not as much demand and yet the supply is huge.
Sure we can focus on it until our quality leads to higher prices.
But i guess I just am too lazy… either that or I do love weddings. The concept and the challenge.

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There are difficulties
There are some things that make individual portraits hard.
For instance if they aren’t good at posing they have no one there to interact with to make them more comfortable. So it’s more sink or swim. Hit or miss.
I can usually tell a couple to interact with eachother… when it’s one person… I can’t do that can I?


Not everyone should nor can do poses like these

In the end

I’m more or less saying I would LOVE to do more of these types of shoots.
So come on down good looking people wanting pictures.
Where are you at? Don’t you just want some fun pictures to put on your blog or facebook?
Get some good pictures for those dating sites… invest in your future, invest in yourself. haha 😉

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