"Photo club needs big time help in shooting mature couples at formal event....."
My fellow Nikonians..... We really need your help with this formal event.
The photography students at my college have been asked to take formal couple, and candid photographs at the Gala Opening of the new Alabama Center of the Arts on Friday. Most of us have done a good deal of shooting all kinds of images over the last year, but this one is special, and we would really appreciate your help and guidance with this shoot.
We will be set up in the Fourier next to 2 statues where we will take formal shots of the couples as they enter the building. None of us are experienced at shooing formals of mature couples. By the way.....this is a black tie event, so they will be dressed to the hilt.
We are planing on taking 2 strobes and shoot through umbrellas as lighting. We have softboxes and large reflector umbrellas, but thought they would be a little much for this setup.
We would really appreciate any ideas and guidance you could share with us on lighting positions, posing, etc.
For example, posing the adult male....For young men (seniors and grooms) we usually have them pose with at least one of the hands in a pocket. Mature, successful men might not go for that. How would you pose them?
Should we have the couple make a V, or stand side-by-side?
Our school is very short on experienced photography instructors right now due to Alabama educational changes, and our current instructor has not been a lot of help.
We are pretty confortable with our cameras and settings, but not with posing and shooting mature adults.
Sorry this is so long, but it deals with a lot of issues we have not faced yet. Please share any comments and/or advise that you may have with us, so we can make this event a success. It stands to generate a good deal of revenue, and attention for the club, and for the university.
#1. "RE: Photo club needs big time help in shooting mature couples at formal event....." In response to Reply # 0
Well, lots of crickets, so I'll take a stab.
First, this is really not a New to Photography kind of question. You're really asking about posing first, and lighting second. I have no expertise in the former - my advice is to look into a book on this kind of thing. (They do exist, but I haven't read them.)
On lighting, the first thing I'll say is that this sounds like the classic "wedding" set of issues, including men in black (not capitalized! ) and women in white. These are often a challenge for the metering systems and photographers, and my experience is that most of the matrix meters get this at least a little wrong and often quite wrong. So whether or not you're using flash, you should be aware of this and take steps to address it. Otherwise you'll be doing a lot of post processing work with overexposed tuxedos and underexposed gowns.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#2. "RE: Photo club needs big time help in shooting mature couples at formal event....." In response to Reply # 0
>Should we have the couple make a V, or stand side-by-side? >
Do you mean you expect to make group photos of couples (the V thing)? The more they are, the more blinking you'll get ! In such a case I would put the women first and the male side by side but a bit behind. The ladies spend much more on their formal attire then the classical dark garb men wear in such situations. The men's hand problem would be almost resolved. Don't move them too much around and if okay, shoot as they come, mature people dislike being bossed around and expect the photographer to manage... And keep the champagne guy around !!!!
#3. "RE: Photo club needs big time help in shooting mature couples at formal event....." In response to Reply # 2
Jacques is very much right about moving them around too much. Know what you want for their pose and help them into it. If you want them to do something, tell them why.
Here are a few tips for you, which you might find useful. I've done many portrait sessions at events over the year with my portable portrait studio, and often older couples and individuals are photographed at events.
When you're talking older couples, they know what they look like and I've found are generally ok with it. If they are still together, or even recently together try to shot to show their feelings for each other. The results will be great.
Don't let their hands be central to the photo. Make that their faces and eyes. That being said, the hands can still be part of the photo. I often have them holding hands, or have the man's hand over the woman's.
Any same sex couples...treat them similarly.
One of the poses I really like have the man behind the woman, shoulder to shoulder. She's worked harder to look great and it's nice to show her off that way. Just make sure the man's face is entirely seen. The man's hand on hers in front of her can work. It has to look natural. Consider trying to have him looking at her, by his head turn and eyes, but not so far to take away from his part of the image.
Whatever the pose, make sure they are comfortable with it. If they aren't happy with your direction and posing they won't look good in the photograph.
Watch your focus. With two heads in the photo you're going to need more of a depth of field than you would otherwise need for a one head portrait.
Have some chairs ready for a seating pose. You need to be able to have that for seniors who need it.
Posture can be a real problem for some seniors. Be prepared to deal with it in the way you frame and position the photo. Padded seats can help those with posture problems when seated, for example.
Don't make your subjects remove their glasses. While it may make it harder to shoot them, let them keep their glasses on.
You might want to shoot from slightly above their eye level. This can help eliminate "old" necks and chins.
Be sure of your background. You don't want it to take away from your couples by color or by being too busy. You may need to have you're own background. I always bring my background stand and have a variety of backgrounds available when I'm shooting portraits.
#4. "RE: Photo club needs big time help in shooting mature couples at formal event....." In response to Reply # 3
Exactly, very well said.... While I have no pro experience on such event , I did have to shoot some (friends marriage and architectural events ) without the luxury of a real lighting stand, but all what Ned said is what I felt in those rare occasions !!!