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Been invited to a swimsuit photoshoot/meetup help!
Old 07-15-2010, 11:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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A little background:
I have a Canon 40D, 70-200mm f2.8, 17-55mm f2.8, 28-135mm f3.5-5.6. I am familiar with the camera, and controls. I shoot in manual most of the time. I know about lighting, use off camera flash, umbrellas, stands, etc, and can get simple "lighting looks ok to me" lighting. I have been taking amateur 35mm and digital for 25+yrs, and can take a decent image. Most of my images have been of landscapes, sports, or snapshots of people.

Now the problem:
I've been invited to a beach model swimsuit meet-up shoot. It'll be loosely be run by a local pro photog, but it has been relayed to me to get there setup and grab a model and start shooting. I really don't know where to start. I can light her (simply mind you) and take some images, but if I had to pin it down to what I'm least exp in, it would be posing.

Next:
What lens? The 70-200 is awesome, but to get a full body shot, I'd have to be 25' away? The 17-55 is super sharp too, but will it distort her? The 28-135 seems to be a perfect crop body portrait FL, but it's not L quality, and it's not constant aperture. I'd have no choice but to go no wider than f5.6. (I like the constant aperture ones because if I chg FL I don't need to change power on the flash).
So what lens?

What do I do? How should I start? Props? Theme? Mood? Help!

Thanks,
--Rick
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Re: Been invited to a swimsuit photoshoot/meetup help!
Old 07-16-2010, 02:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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If it were me, I'd use the 70-200, although you will not see any noticable distortion with the 17-55 if you stick to the long end. You shouldn't have any trouble getting the shooting distance you need with the 70-200 since you will be at the beach. As far as props and theme go.... Your at the beach with a model in a bikini... use your imagination. I don't think I would pick a midwest farm girl theme. As far as posing goes, you may get lucky, this is a model photographer meet up. Hopefully you'll get a model that has done this a time or two. If not then your probably going to have to direct a little. There are many many good books on posing, but basically keep the hips at an angle to the camera, and if it bends, bend it. The main thing is just have fun, you'll probably come away with some nice images. You'll probably have a fair share of stinkers too. Just learn from your mistakes and you'll be that much more prepared for the next time.
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Re: Been invited to a swimsuit photoshoot/meetup help!
Old 07-16-2010, 02:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I 2nd the 70-200. I shoot almost exclusivly with that lens. As far as posing, here is what I did when I started out. Look at other pictures of girls on the beach that look pleasing to you. Take pictures of them, and leave them on your media card in the camera. Then right before the shoot starts, take a glance at them and pose the model close to one of those poses. Then change it slightly to make it your own, or what you think may work better with the model you are working with as not all poses look good with everyone. Once you get a couple shots in and get a feel for the model, things should start going smooth. If you hit a snag, tell her to relax a minute and pretend you are looking at some of the shots you just took, but really go back to your stash of shots you took off the computer and get a fresh idea.

MOST IMPORTANT!!! Be confident. Even if you are not, you must appear to the model as so. Tell her how great she looks, and the poses look great and WOW these pictures are looking great. Doing the oppisite will make her uncomfortable and this will show in the shoot. Good luck and share with us what you end up with.

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Re: Been invited to a swimsuit photoshoot/meetup help!
Old 07-16-2010, 03:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You guys are a big help, THANKS! The 70-200mm it is. I don't have a 2 or 3 stop ND filter. But my BW CPL is 2 stops, will drop the ambient, and it'll richen the sky. Will it mess up the skin tones? Does anyone shoot outdoor portraits with a CPL?
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Re: Been invited to a swimsuit photoshoot/meetup help!
Old 07-16-2010, 04:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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A lot of this will depend on the time of day you are shooting and whether or not it is a bright sunny day or overcast or cloudy. If you want the short depth of field such as f/2.8 with your 70-200 lens this would work best in a cloudy or overcast day unless you have a lighting assistant to hold a reflector for you. The other option would be to shoot with a strobe but this will make for a longer depth of field to shoot within your camera's sync speed in which case you could shoot with one of the other lenses like the 28-135 which I think is probably a little better than the 18-55 kit lens.

This was shot in the shade so it was easy to use a strobe and still get a short depth of field with lower shutter speeds.

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Re: Been invited to a swimsuit photoshoot/meetup help!
Old 07-16-2010, 06:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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No, no the 17-55mm f2.8 is no kit lens. It's about as sharp a lens as Canon makes. The 28-135 is a kit lens, but anyways, that's why I asked about the 2-3 stop ND filters, to reduce my DOF with the fast lenses. I hesitate to use the 28-135 because it's so slow. IMO, about perfect FL, but slow. As mentioned to me above, space wont be a problem, since we'll be at the beach, but I just feel so far away with the 70-200. It will probably be bright sun, and I plan on using strobes. I see that many people use a CPL for model shoots. That gives me 2 stops, and a purdy sky.
That's a beautiful shot!! What was your ss/aperture/lens/FL/lighting info?
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Re: Been invited to a swimsuit photoshoot/meetup help!
Old 07-17-2010, 12:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Ok I'm not familiar with that 17-55 f/2.8 lens. If you use that one try to keep as close to the 55mm end of it when you shoot to avoid distortion as much as possible. I've been shooting a lot of sunny outdoor shots lately and most of them have been around f/13 to f/14 with the strobes but that's without any neutral density filter on the lens so you might get it down to about f/8 give or take, with one of those filters on your lenses, under similar conditions. Probably still not fast enough to get that short depth of field to work like you might want it to.

The photo I posted was with the Canon f/4 70-200mm lens. Shot at f/4 at 200ths of a second at ISO 100 and at 140mm, with a strobe. Being in the shade helped.
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Re: Been invited to a swimsuit photoshoot/meetup help!
Old 07-18-2010, 12:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I second everything --
• Go with the 70-200 f2.8
• Yes, use your CPL (I leave mine on my camera all the time, even for indoor studio shots)
• Yes, try to put the sun behind the model and use a reflector for a fill on her face. If you don't have someone to hold the reflector (or a light stand), mount a light on your camera ... or better yet on a light stand.
• Don't be afraid to experiment with a wide lens, like a 28-70 f2.8. I've gotten some great bikini shots with my 28-70.

The shot below was taken at Lake Grapevine, Texas. Since the lake is brown and muddy, the model is on a bunch of rocks near the lake. Since it was a very cloudy day, I laid down on the grown to get more clouds in the shot.

Nikon D700 - old Nikon 28-70mm lens set at 42mm (using a CPL) - f/7.1 at 1/250 sec - Fill light from SB-800 speedlight mounted on Stroboframe.

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Re: Been invited to a swimsuit photoshoot/meetup help!
Old 07-19-2010, 12:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Don't show your fear or inexperience. If you are nervous the model may be that too. Then again if she's a 'pro' or experienced then she'll probably lead.
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Re: Been invited to a swimsuit photoshoot/meetup help!
Old 07-19-2010, 07:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks! I will be filling with speedlights on stands, and reflectors if I can prop it up with a lightstand or 2. How do you adjust your CPL indoors? I don't use on often, and maybe I do it wrong, but I look for something with glare/reflection, and adjust it until it removes it. Inside, what does it do for you? What is the benefit?
--Rick
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