Practice Portrait Session with Faith

I’m lucky to have a willing portrait subject just up the street. Thanks, Faith, for helping me out! You’re adorable and awesome!

I approached Faith as she was swinging on the play set in my backyard. The natural area of the yard looked like a good place to start. It was somewhat chilly that day and I liked the fur on her hood, so I decided to have her leave her coat on. I had her sit in an Adirondack chair, and working from what I recently learned from a Udemy online course by Jon Haase, tried some poses with her hand up near her face.

In the first photo, the back of the hand is facing the camera making it look too bulky. I asked Faith to turn her hand and took the next two images. Much better! A 70-200mm lens and flash mounted on a flash bracket pointed at the subject was used for all photos. Camera settings for the three photos below: 1/100 sec., f/6.3, ISO 160. The lens was at a 144mm focal length and I used a +2/3 flash exposure compensation for additional fill light.

Next, I practiced with the legs. I had Faith sit at the edge of the chair and lean forward. This brings her face closer to the camera and extends the neck. When a person sits all the way back in a chair, the knees and feet are usually closest to the camera. To create angles with the legs, I had Faith bring her knees together and move her ankles out. It felt a little awkward for her, but she stuck with me! Camera and flash settings were the same as the first three images. Used a little Nik Glamour Glow for this one.


Then we walked over to Faith’s house. Her house has one of those great front porches where you can sit and watch a storm roll in, or just hang out on comfy furniture and drink wine with friends. My front porch holds a potted plant and packages from the UPS delivery man.

We tried some shots with her standing near the porch column, but they didn’t turn out well enough to process. We did have fun experimenting with having both her and I lie on the ground facing one another.

The background may be a bit busy in this one. In addition, there’s some softness due to the fact that I was shooting at 1/60 sec. with a 160mm focal length. That’s much too slow for that focal length. And, I had the image stabilization (IS) off! Geez! Professional photographer and friend, Mike Baker, confirmed that the shutter speed to use when hand holding a camera should not be slower than the reciprocal of the effective focal length of the lens  even if I’m using a flash. A shutter speed of 1/180 in this case would have been a better choice. If I had the IS on, the shutter speed could be a bit slower.

***Something to remember:  The flash freezes the subject’s motion, not the photographers.***


Eliminating most of the background, moving in closer, and asking Faith for a solemn look made this image work. The fact that I had the camera resting on the ground helped get this image sharp even though I was still at 1/60 sec. and a focal length of 176mm.

IMG_4050 clone crop soft sepia define

Next we went in her backyard where her dad just built a shed. We tried this one with her coat on. 1/60 sec., f/6.3, ISO 125, 85mm focal length.

IMG_4067I thought her t-shirt might work better with the background, so I had her remove her coat. Nice light and soft colors. I see a connection in this next image. She looks relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera. A small genuine smile and bright eyes!


Thanks again, Faith. I enjoyed working with you!


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