Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Getting a High School senior to open-up and show different sides of their personality in a two hour portrait session can be challenge. So, to relax them we always suggest they bring things that mean something to them, like a musical instrument or their sports gear (football, tennis racket, volleyball, etc.) to take their focus off these strangers with a camera. We’ve found over the years that when any of our portrait subjects hold something familiar they immediately appear more comfortable in front of our camera.

This is usually easier with girls because they are more apt to bring many changes of clothes and accessories; playing dress-up always brings out their personality! Because they only bring their favorite clothes and accessories they’re happily looking forward to the portrait experience and that attitude shows in the images we create together.

f4.0 @ 1/320 sec., ISO 800; Lens @ 200mm
Two more things we do that makes our seniors more comfortable during a session:
  1. I’m not in-their-face with the camera.  I’m backed-off using my 70-200mm lens—usually at 200mm—that way I’m not inside their personal space. They don’t even know when I’m taking pictures—that makes great candids possible.
  2. My wife Kathi is the one who is personally interacting with them in setting up their pose, arranging arms, hands, legs, adjusting stray hair, fixing clothing problems—what ever is necessary to make them look great.  Besides the more things Kathi fixes up front the less she will be asked to do later in retouching or artwork. 
In the following image, without changing the basic pose, we caught a really nice thoughtful look just by asking her to look away from the camera, without smiling, sans glasses.

f4.0 @ 1/320 sec., ISO 800; Lens @ 200mm
In addition we like to convert some of the color images to monochrome giving her and the parents different looks to choose from in their premier. 

NOTE: Whenever we do portraits of anyone who wears glasses we suggest images with and without them wearing the glasses for two reasons.  1) It shows two different looks, but most importantly, 2) if you should get glass glare it gives us images of her eyes to do some cloning to correct the problem if necessary. In this session she chose to not wear her glasses in most of her portraits.

This young lady brought several changes of clothes, part of her hat collection and her guitar—we all had a lot of fun!

Here she changes her top and brought out the hats…
f4.0 @ 1/160 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 200mm
Another advantage of using my lens at 200mm is the marvelous effect, created by that focal length with a wide aperture, on the background. The soft bokeh effect is really beautiful and it separates your subject from the background.

Again, I like the portraits without the smile—I think the neutral expression leads you to her eyes and tells you more about her.  However, she does have a nice smile…
f4.0 @ 1.160 sec., ISO 400; Lens @ 200mm
Another outfit and hat combo…
f4.0 @ 1/100 sec., ISO 400; lens @ 145mm
Then we changed the pose with her looking right to the camera…

 f4.0 @ 1/100 sec., ISO 400; lens @ 145mm
Like most of our outdoor sessions this was done about 2 hours before sunset with most of the images here done between 1-hour to 20 minutes before sunset. Even though this session was done in August I made the backgrounds look like fall by using the setting sun as backlight with the open sky as my main light.

As usual, should you have questions don’t hesitate to ask…’Til next week…

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

No comments:

Post a Comment