shooting 18 kid portraits in 20 minutes

Started Jun 29, 2008 | Discussions thread
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shooting 18 kid portraits in 20 minutes
Jun 29, 2008

I was asked to shoot portraits of the 12 year old children in the class of my son as they're leaving school. The goal was a booklet for the teachers. All the children brought a favourite item for the photo, anything from an earring to an image of a deceased dad. My son is the one with the phone. I told the parents I'd put the shots online.

I decided to test my new 220V battery/converter for my strobes, shooting outside. I had a backup plan B, shooting them with exsisting light, and a total disaster plan Z, using exsiting photos for I shot them all in the studio a few month ago.

When I came to the playground it became obvious that the shooting location I had carefully selected the day before would be swarmed with kids. I was shooting them during the lunchbrake, so I should have know. Anyway I decided quickly on a big tree as background, put one light together and made a parent hold the stand for it was windy. The other parent was managing the kids so I could only use one light.

Thus I decided to use the existing light under the tree as fill. The color is greenish/blueish under a tree in the shadow, but since the background is somewhat the same color and I know that most people will therefore not notice the color cast, I decided to take the risk. You only live once :-). I had to use a slow shutterspeed also because of the low light level. This invoked some unsharpness, mainly in the shadows where the strobe didn't freeze the scene. However, I feel a little camera shake can make a shot much more dynamic once in a while so I didn't get too worried.

I shot the kids one by one taking about a minute for each. Total shooting time was 20 minutes. These kids know me and I photographed them all before so it was pretty relaxed. I didn't direct them very much but basically just pushed the button and let them be themselves.

The shots are in the first reply to this post. The parents loved them, I hope you like them too. They were taken with a D300, 35-70 f/2.8 @ 70mm f/5.6, 1/40, ISO .7 under 200.

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