Need Some Advice on Shooting Portrait In a Forest

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Name
Anthony
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#1
Hi all, I need some advice. In a few weeks I am looking to shoot a portrait pic of my girlfriend as she is over from the US for a while and she wants some pictures done. I have shot landscapes before, but I have never done portraits.

I have a Canon 1000D and I have a Nifty Fifty, 75 - 300 Tamron an 18-55 Kit lens. I know shooting in portrait is good, but I was wondering if I would be better using my 50mm at around f/2 or f/2.8, I know 100 or 200 ISO is best, but I am unsure if I need a fast shutter lens or not and if using a tripod would be better than handheld. Thanks for any advice you can give me. Thanks

Anthony
 
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#2
The use of f2 will mean that you really need to get focus bang on so I would actually recommend around f5.6 or at least f4.0

The best ISO is the one which will give you the best exposure at the aperture and speed you will use, and even though 200 ISO will give you a virtually noise free image that's not much good if you get either camera shake or out of focus images.

A tripod may help but in this instance only if your girlfriend is seated because if she moves when using a large f stop an OOF image will result.

And, finally, you will need to use a white sheet or card to set the white balance, otherwise, since you will be shooting in a forest, you may get a coloured tint on the images.

Hope that helps.
 
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1,246
Name
Lee
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#3
I would go with the 50mm & 18-55mm. Depends entirely whether you're talking headshot portraits or more landscape/environment portraits? The former I would stop down a little. The latter you can manage wide open because of the greater camera/subject distance - I've shot those at f/1.2 manual focus before no issues. In any case, I'd take a mixture of both styles. ISO is wherever it needs to be to give you a suitable shutter speed.

I'd also be aware of the WB as already mentioned. Plus, the weather. Bright overcast would be perfect. Dull it'll all look too flat. Sunny, you'll have bright dappled lighting to deal with.
 
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acharris77
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Anthony
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#4
Thanks all, Some very advice. I will give them a try and see how I go and what results I get. Thanks again, appreciated.
 
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Redsnappa
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#5
Forests are darker than you think. Consider using flash.
 
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Ian
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#6
Good advice above. I also try and keep the shutter over 1/125 at 50mm to avoid subject movement & shaky hands.

Woodlands can be gloomy even when the sun is out, so Auto ISO is your friend. Set that to kick the ISO up if your shutter falls below 1/125, set aperture to f4, point & shoot.

For (female/feminine/softer/insert correct PC term here) headshots, off-centering your subject, collar bone at 45 degrees to camera, and getting above your subject are three simple things to try and remember. Eye contact is just as good as "Looking dreamily off into the woods", so don't restrict yourself. I find that things like this are more about interaction. You'll get better images of your subject if you're interacting and conversing and joking, than if you're faffing with your camera (and/or flash) while your subject watches their patience evaporate. If you're inexperienced, make life as easy for yourself as you can.

I'd take an image that's over or under by a couple of stops but captures someone's character, rather than a perfectly exposed image of someone looking fed up. Your mileage may vary of course :) Digital has a ton of latitude.

Also consider plain clothes. Stripy/garish colours can detract from an image (unless that's a look your after). No point in making an image B&W later because "the hat was bright pink" when you could have just taken a simpler coloured hat.

Good luck!
 
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John
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#7
I live in a forest and regularly shoot portraits there. Parts of a forest can be quite dark, with dappling to contend with, but other locations, particularly on the fringe, in a clearing, or near a waterway will be open above, giving plenty of light, but still having the feel of a forest. The best time to shoot, I've found, is golden hour, and I always shoot with either my 50mm or 85mm primes, wide open. Once you've found a good location, the easiest way to start, would be in Aperture Priority Mode, with the widest aperture you have, and ISO 100 and raise the ISO if you experience motion blur.

I'd avoid darker areas for now, as these are best served with off camera flash techniques.

Good Luck! arthur.jpg arthur 2.jpg
 
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