Questions on Portrait photography with NEX-6 + SEL50f18

Started Dec 7, 2013 | Discussions thread
OP justincarlson Forum Member • Posts: 89
Re: Questions on Portrait photography with NEX-6 + SEL50f18

Thanks Ron for the great tips. This is not a paid things and really no special expectations, essentially it's either this or people just using their smartphones for photos. I figured this would be a good chance to at least try taking some people shots because it's something I really haven't done much of. Over Thanksgiving I did try some family portraits with the 16-50mm kit lens (sample below) and was pleasantly surprised, although the lighting outside was pretty much perfect. Indoors I find the camera to be quite slow with noise even on low ISOs, so I'm hoping the 50mm prime will help in this area.

RonFrank wrote:

I was a paid Wedding and portrait photographer for a couple decades. My thought is you are not ready to take on this assignment unless your client has zero expectations and is paying zero dollars.

Not trying to be rude but your missing the lighting, the proper lenses, a camera that can shoot in low light and focus properly, and the skills and confidence to pull this off. Backup equipment is a requirement in case something breaks, bring a bunch of batteries, and a portable backdrop is a good idea. I used to carry a couple mono lights with umbrellas as well.

If there is no money involved, and no expectations than have fun and do your best. If your equipment situation is lacking one way to compensate is to move the subjects to you, and pick an area that is well lit where you can use whatever light you have to max advantage. You could get away with one flash if you could bounce it off a ceiling or wall.

I do not think a Nex or A series has the ability to handle this job unless you can put the subject in a spot where they do not move with decant light. If I had to use a Nex camera, I would setup a photo area near a wall where I could bounce a light and use the wall as background.

If they are not interested in a photo spot another option is to crank up the ISO, and hope for the best. Not a great approach, but an option. Unfortunately most find Nex cameras lacking in low light situations with subjects that move.

When covering receptions in variable lighting conditions I used an onmi bounce ($29-40) with a full sized flash, a flip flash bracket (stroboframe) and a DSLR with a 24-70 f2,8, and my backup DSLR with a 70-200mm ( for singles/couples). My percentage of keepers was maybe 90% with the other 10% throw away due to blinking mostly.

I generally shot 2-8 shots of each group depending on size. That gave them and me a selection. Most people will select a photo that they like of themselves regardless of how others in the photo appear. People are selfish like that.

Shooting candid takes skill and practice which is one reason I prefer to get the subject attention, and do a quick grouping. If you subjects are parallel to the camera they will be in focus. If they are more perpendicular some may be OOF. I generally shoot at f5.6 as using narrow DOF like f1.8 will result in the majority being OOF. If you can not get more than one eye in focus you have zero chance of having a group of 2 or more in focus.

You need to be positive, and take charge when necessary. Another approach is the fly on the wall approach, but I find that is more difficult to pull off. As most people are very aware of a photographer its hard for them to act as if you are not there. I prefer the interactive approach giving people direction when needed. Being comfortable around strangers is a requirement and putting people at ease is a must. Alcohol can help (for them, not you!)

Have fun, and learn!

 justincarlson's gear list:justincarlson's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-6 Sony Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* E 24mm F1.8 ZA Sony E 50mm F1.8 OSS Sony E 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OSS HDRsoft Photomatix Pro +1 more
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