Year book portraits


bridgendboy 16 989 United Kingdom
10 Feb 2019 8:52PM
Hi all,

I've been asked by my local school, if I would volunteer to spend a Saturday taking pupil portraits for its yearbook.

Obviously, I'm super keen to do it, but I've never really taken portraits before, and only own one Nissin i40 flash, which I hardly ever use.

I want to make sure the results are more than just snaps, so any advice on set up and required lighting gear would be gratefully received. (I've got all the camera and lenses I need, so I'm just looking for lighting advice and tips).

Cheers all

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

10 Feb 2019 9:18PM
One flash off camera bounced out of a large brolly or small softbox. Would be my option

Aim to get a Rembrandt tringle if possible, (Google it) add a reflector to kick light back into others shadows. White card on a chair, with the option to cover in tinfoil will do.

You can pick up light stands, tiltable brolly holders with flash shoe and brollies cheaply online, look for Brewer or Phot R. I think Phot R are at the Photography Show.

Consider hiring a flash head and lighting modifiers for the day.

Or, see if you can get a wireless off camera trigger set for the flash.

The other cheapo option is to bounce the flash up and to one side off a large white collaboration reflector held at a 45 degree angle above your head by an assistant with strong arms, or ask the pupils to assist you.
sherlob Plus
12 3.0k 129 United Kingdom
10 Feb 2019 11:07PM
It's great that you are willing and excited at the opportunity. But stop a moment and think... isn't this a job they would usually pay a professional for? A few questions I'd be asking:

1. What if pupils or their parents want copies of the images - can I charge for these? If so, how much?
2. Will I need a DBS check? If so, will they pay for this? If not needed, then why (because it should be essential imho)?
3. Will I be covered by their liability insurance?
4. What exactly will the images be used for? If I can't sell copies to parents directly, will the school be doing this?

I'm sure there are many more questions that the seasoned pro's on the site would ask.
Jestertheclown 10 7.9k 252 England
11 Feb 2019 6:51AM
Been there and done that.

Quote:
1. What if pupils or their parents want copies of the images - can I charge for these? If so, how much?


I did the job voluntarily and was able to deal with the parents directly and supplied prints at one zize only and at cost price.
The school and I each kept 50%.

Jestertheclown 10 7.9k 252 England
11 Feb 2019 6:54AM

Quote:
2. Will I need a DBS check?


No.

Provided someone who does have one; ie. a member of staff, stays with you the whole time you're there, (and safeguarding policies should dictate that they do) you don't need one of your own.
Jestertheclown 10 7.9k 252 England
11 Feb 2019 6:59AM

Quote:
3. Will I be covered by their liability insurance?


Technically, you'll be working for/at the school so you should be covered in much the same way that any supply/peripatetic teachers (for example) would be.

I'd check though.
Jestertheclown 10 7.9k 252 England
11 Feb 2019 7:03AM

Quote:
4. What exactly will the images be used for? If I can't sell copies to parents directly, will the school be doing this?


The OP has said that the images wil be going into the students' yearbooks.
In fact, on the strength of that, if they're anything like my daughter's yearbook, image quality won't be an issue!
As for selling them, see above and speak to the school.
That's something you'll need to sort out.
11 Feb 2019 7:37AM
DBS checks only needed if you regularly attend a location. Otherwise schools would lose out on all those people occasionally popping in for assemblies, visiting speakers etc

Of course, some schools and charities have become so fixated by DBS checking (along with a paranoia about PAT testing everything) that they lose out on volunteers.
Jestertheclown 10 7.9k 252 England
11 Feb 2019 8:37AM

Quote:DBS checks only needed if you regularly attend a location. Otherwise schools would lose out on all those people occasionally popping in for assemblies, visiting speakers etc


That's not really correct.

You need to have a DBS check or be escorted at all times, by someone who does, regardless of the reason for or frequency of, your visits.
Philh04 Plus
13 2.0k United Kingdom
11 Feb 2019 8:52AM
A word on the lighting... by all means search out Rembrandt lighting but don't get too bogged down in trying to achieve a perfect lit triangle on the cheek opposite as you will be constantly adjusting.... choose as simple a lighting set up as possible. Now the Nissan i40 isn't particularly powerful, but you need to use as large a reflective or shoot through umbrella as is possible and the light should be as close as possible to your subject (the larger the source in relation to your subject the softer the light) place it at 45 degrees round from your camera position and pointing down at about 45 degrees, aim for a good catchlight in the eye. Fill the shadow side with a large reflector placed so that it does not create a second catchlight.
By having your main source close the light will wrap around better but will fall off quicker due to the inverse square law making the fill important.
You also need to decide on short or broad lighting, short (lighting the side of the face furthest from the camera) can be more flattering as it slims the face whereas broad (lighting the side of the face nearest the camera) can make a narrow face broader, both these can be achieved by simply turning the body one way or the other.
Of course you also have to consider your background.
Personally with limited lighting equipment and knowledge of lighting techniques I would be looking at shooting outside, you will still be able to use your flash as a fill....
bridgendboy 16 989 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2019 9:53AM
Cheers all.

I'm a governor at the school and they know I take pictures, so I'm not offended that they are trying to get it on the cheap. Schools have no money any more, thanks to the government, so I'm more that happy to help out. I'd be more annoyed if they didn't try to find a way to limit the costs!

Thanks for the tips on the lighting. I'm viewing it as a good learning opportunity!

JackAllTog Plus
9 5.4k 58 United Kingdom
11 Feb 2019 6:24PM
If you do use your flash then take lots of batteries if there are lots of kids.
Sitting them on a stool may help keep them in one place for lightning.

Of course you can practice the set up beforehand with anyone.

What lens were you thinking of using?
Philh04 Plus
13 2.0k United Kingdom
11 Feb 2019 7:45PM

Quote:If you do use your flash then take lots of batteries

Yes... A very good point that I didn't even think of Smile
GeorgeP Plus
11 36 17 United States
12 Feb 2019 6:21PM
One last thought - lots of photos with flash means your flash will probably get warm/hot. One of mine has an internal temperature cut-out. It can be frustrating to have the flash decide it is too warm and shut down until it cools. I have rented a light, stand and modifier in the past when doing "pics with Santa" at a church Christmas event. That worked well . assuming you are close to somewhere that rents lights for a reasonable price.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.