Sunday, January 2, 2011

How I Got The Shot #3 - Outdoor Child Photo Portrait

A client came to me and was in a quandary - they had not had any success getting a good portrait of their high energy son.  They asked me if I could help them out.  As I do with all my clients, I gave them my best and here is what they got.

Check out the details after the break...

Creative Process:
High energy.  Yep, this kid had plenty of energy, so where better than to portray that than with an outdoor venue.  I picked a local park that had plenty of room, lots of backdrops and interaction points.  Also, sometimes children act a certain way when their parents are around - if you have kids, you know what I mean.  Have a relative or friend watch your kid and they are angels - they come home and they act like a child possessed by demons.
To that end - my wife is great with our kid and kids in general.  I enlisted her talents and had her interact with the child.  Turns out this worked perfectly.  We had the parents hang out a few yards away from where we were doing the shoots.  Close enough that the subject didn't feel like they were being left but far enough that they could be themselves.

A local park with lots of free space and beautifully groomed areas - perfect for backdrops.  Since it is a free, local park, there was no extra expense to have to deal with either!

Nikon D50
Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6
Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8

EXIF Info:
Shot in Aperture Priority at 1/400th - f/5.6 - ISO 800 @ 160mm - Spot metering
Shot in RAW

Lighting Setup:
All sunlight here for this shoot.  You've got to be very judicious in what time of day you are shooting in and where you position the subject.  Shoot in the shade without strobes and you risk the subject being too dark or the background blown out(depending on how/where you are metering).  At times, a good reflector and/or diffuser panel can work wonders.
Please note - if you need to use flash, do so.  There is no law that says you cannot mix ambient and flash.  Do what you need to do to make the shot.

This particular shot was taken under a bridge in a Japanese rock garden.  The light stones from the ground reflected a lot of daylight up into the subjects face, providing a natural fill/reflector.

Post Processing:
Pretty simple really.  Basic Camera RAW adjustments, some levels adjustments and we are done.  You know, get the best shot you can in camera and that will help keep your post processing time down and give you cleaner images to boot.

And for those who like lighting diagrams:

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