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The senior portrait is a traditional rite of passage for a high school student. But senior portraits aren't what they used to be: staid, format portraits shot in front of a mottled gray background. These days, an effective senior portrait conveys the personality of its subject, and is often shot on-location or outdoors.
In this course, photographer and educator Derrick Story details the art and the process of modern senior portraiture, from working with the subject and his or her parents to plan a shot list, to shooting indoors and out, to delivering the final shots. Along the way, he examines gear and workflow considerations, including lighting, sharing proofs, and post-processing.
And because senior portraiture is a potentially lucrative business, the course concludes with a discussion of various business angles, including developing a pricing strategy, connecting with local high schools, marketing through social media outlets, and more.
A lot of photographers think that they need a very big space of, you know, a professional studio space. And actually, there was a time when I thought that, too. However, the last ten years or so, I've been working in here. Which is, this is a townhouse I converted into a studio. And this room here, this shooting room is 10 by 11 feet. 10 by 11 feet. And it works fantastic. Now, I've done a few things to make it work. Let me give you a virtual tour of this room, so you have some idea of how I get great senior portraits when I have to shoot indoors right here where I'm sitting right now.
Now off to the side here I have a window. Window light. And you know, I like natural light. And one of the things that I look for in a shooting room is good natural light coming in. I probably have four or five hours of natural light a day right here. Now, what I like to do is add a little fill light a lot of times for the portraits and what I do is I just use a reflector right here on this side. Now, I have a variety of reflectors, so if I have someone helping me, they can hold it, position it or I have a stand for it, either way it works fantastic.
And most of the time just with the main light coming in here. The reflector right here. I'm in very good shape. Now, if I have to add a hair light, I can. And I have this wonderful backdrop. These poles, this backdrop set here, all collapse into a bag that fits in the back of my car. And, on the poles, I have a few lights that I can use for the hair light. I have some shower hooks. Which I use to hold the muslin backdrop. Now, I do buy a real, photographer's muslin backdrop.
And it has the nice grommets that fit into the shower hooks. And I like to have three or four, if I can. Just a couple different colors. So, that whatever the subject is thinking, or depending on what they're wearing, or their skin tone. I can have a nice backdrop to go with it and then of course you have to have a stool or you have to have a few stools. I'm 6 foot 7 working in this 10 by 11 room, so my stool might be a little different than someone that I would use that's only 5 foot 2 or 5 foot 4.
Other than that, this is it. I make this work and, you know what? It's very comfortable. Make sure the air temperature is nice, you know, add a little heating. Have a bathroom. Have something cold to drink and you will get great portraits, not in a professional studio, somewhere just like this.
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