Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Last week I shared the pictorial—more backed-off—images from one of our senior sessions. It’s important when doing a senior session to do enough variety to not only highlight the senior’s character and interests, but to give the parents more things to choose from and ultimately purchase!

The following images are the more formal, close-up, portraits that we do on every portrait session.  We learned a long time ago that if you try to be that “pictorial artist” and only do the backed-off, full figures, showing lots of environment images in a portrait session, the clients would invariably want us to crop way-in to make “real” portraits out of them. And the subjects better be looking AT the camera and SMILING too, if you want to make a big sale!

To that end this image was a big hit…
f5.0 @ 400 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 200mm
Even the horse is looking at the camera and “smiling”!

This was a required portrait to show her substantial involvement in the F.F.A. (Future Farmers of America), which is big here in Idaho. So, we did several set-ups with her in the blue FFA jacket. Technically this portrait was done using my favorite lighting technique outdoors.  I simply moved them back into the shade of the barn so that the open sky is the key light on them—lowering the ratio—creating a nice soft light.  Meanwhile, we have a nice background of fall colors due to the timing of the session using the setting sun.  Nice separation is created by using an aperture of f5.0, with good bokeh, mostly due to my focal length of 200mm.

Changing clothes, and horses, I went for a completely different look since it’s now only an hour before actual sunset and the light is warming up…
f4.5 @ 1/2500 sec., ISO 400, Lens @ 200mm
I don’t usually put my portrait subjects in direct sunlight; the most notable exception is sunset at the beach—not so much now that we are here in Idaho! In this case I had a young lady with perfect skin and I wanted DRAMATIC lighting so why not?

Finally to show-off another of her interests she literally changed hats and got out her guitar.  Mom suggested she hop on the hood of their old pick-up truck and we resumed in the right of the setting sun.
 f5.0 @ 1/1600 sec., ISO 400; lens @ 168mm
I’m back on my ladder for these since I did not want to shoot UP her nose (or her dress!); this kept my camera at her eye level.  In addition the black and White adds a different look to the session.

As usual, should you have questions don’t hesitate to ask, comments are also welcome. ’Til next week…

Author:  Jerry W. Venz, PPA Master Photographer, Craftsman
Training site:  http://www.LightAtTheEdge.com
Client site: http://www.TheStorytellersUsa.com

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