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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> So I've been asked to do senior portraits...
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07/15/2018 11:26:35 PM · #1
A friend has asked me to do senior portraits of her daughter. It's been a while since I've taken a DSLR out with a subject for a location shoot -- I shoot portraits but mostly on film and in my studio (this work is what got this friend's attention). So I need to augment and update my digital gear.

What's the absolute least I need, because I refuse to weigh myself down on location with gadgets? I'm thinking no more than two lenses -- one good zoom and one good prime. As for lighting, I'm going back and forth between carrying a small strobe with a battery pack vs. a wireless flash on a grip. And, of course, I'll bring some different size 5-in-1 reflectors, and some unlucky schlub to assist me.

Regarding modifiers, I hate umbrellas but will use them if I have to. Looking for something simple, portable and effective, I came across this: https://www.fjwestcott.com/lunagrip. It's the LunaGrip from Westcott, a newer gadget which is basically a flash grip aimed at a reflector/diffuser. I'm intrigued. Anyone here use it?

I'm welcoming any thoughts at all. Thanks.
07/15/2018 11:31:20 PM · #2
I'm hardly one to give advice for portraiture as I don't specialize in it or even dabble, really, but as someone who has been asked several times in the past to take staff photos of fellow employees, I found an 85mm lens to be a great focal length choice for portraits.
07/16/2018 01:23:20 AM · #3
You have the right idea- less equip = more freedom and nimbleness to shoot. Take someone to be a movable light stand if needed. Sounds like you know just what is needed. Good luck!

Message edited by author 2018-07-16 01:25:52.
07/16/2018 10:15:40 AM · #4
That Lunagrip looks like a good design... wonder how the build quality is?
07/16/2018 10:17:22 AM · #5
I think you are overthinking it. Do you know what I bring for senior portraits that I do?... One camera, one lens (my 24-105 zoom) no flashes, or reflectors....Although and extra person and a reflector would be handy to have if you have someone to do it for you. I don't think you need flashes unless you are planning on doing some inside shots, they won't do you any favors outside.

Most kids like outside shots and as long as you pick some good locations and pay attention to the lighting in each situation you should be fine. The great thing about senior portraits is that your subject is usually pretty easy to work with. Not stressed out like a bride and not crazy with little kids you are trying to manage in a family portrait. Suggest some good spots you know have good scenery and lighting without flashes. If they have a spot in mind go check it out and see what you will need for it or what time of day would be best to shoot for it.
07/16/2018 10:38:08 AM · #6
I think one lens is fine, unless you wanted a couple unique perspectives.

If you already have a flash and a way to fire it off camera, that's probably plenty. I'd be nervous to go without a flash of any kind, but it doesn't have to be fancy. Shooting somewhat into the sun gives a great rim light, but if you have no way to light the face, you'll be stuck.

41327816944_1bdf4c2d6f_n.jpgIMG_5067 by Kris Milo, on Flickr

41148203335_8cc6a9b047_n.jpgDSCF1038 by Kris Milo, on Flickr

27137437547_7a13fe0c6a_m.jpgPhoto May 09, 3 52 44 PM by Kris Milo, on Flickr

Message edited by author 2018-07-16 10:38:30.
07/17/2018 06:11:10 AM · #7
For use with a flash I would look at one of these

Godox flash holder

Much cheaper than your suggestion and can be mounted on the top of a light stand and use bowens mount attachments.
I have three of the same ones that don't have the handle and find them to be good quality.

07/17/2018 12:13:03 PM · #8
Thanks everyone. I'm trying not to overthink this, but feel like I need to bring at least a reflector and a flash.
07/17/2018 12:13:51 PM · #9
Originally posted by RamblinR:

For use with a flash I would look at one of these

Godox flash holder

Much cheaper than your suggestion and can be mounted on the top of a light stand and use bowens mount attachments.
I have three of the same ones that don't have the handle and find them to be good quality.


I like it and I like that it has Bowens compatibility. Do you use one of these? What kind of modifiers are you using with it?
08/10/2018 03:59:27 AM · #10
Sorry, didn't see your request for information until now.

Yes, I do use one of these but not the one with the handle but am considering getting one for street location shooting.
I use quick ezy softboxes with these fittings but this fitting can also use umbrellas
Hope that helps

Message edited by author 2018-08-10 04:01:15.
08/10/2018 08:33:38 AM · #11
yup Godox flash holder is really good, I have a few and use those for my outdoor events along with one white umbrella and another having silver. This works well and holds flash very tight so even if tip off your flash will be secured. I dont trust the lungrip design as I had a few times flash fell off from the holder.
08/10/2018 02:04:26 PM · #12
Originally posted by sjhuls:

One camera, one lens (my 24-105 zoom) no flashes, or reflectors....Although and extra person and a reflector would be handy to have if you have someone to do it for you. I don't think you need flashes unless you are planning on doing some inside shots, they won't do you any favors outside.



%50 agree and %50 disagree. I spend most of my time shooting seniors with my 24-105 as well, but strobes will do you all kinds of favors outside. You can do some amazing stuff with a gorgeous sunset behind your subject but you'll need a flash to light them up properly.
08/10/2018 03:29:14 PM · #13
Have fun Brian! Your friends are very lucky to have you do this. And I'm sure they won't mind if you bring the film camera along.
08/15/2018 08:15:36 AM · #14
Thanks everyone. This is coming up soon. I'm trying to keep the technical stuff dead simple so I can focus on posing and mood. I have a 50mm 1.4, 17-70, and a 28-80. (My SD15 has a 1.7 crop factor.) I ended up getting a decent TTL flash and, yes, the Lunagrip. I'll also have reflectors and someone to hold them. This is just what I have; I'm not going to feel obligated to give every piece of gear some use.

Originally posted by PennyStreet:

Have fun Brian! Your friends are very lucky to have you do this. And I'm sure they won't mind if you bring the film camera along.

Well, of course that's going to happen! I'd like to do a "supplement" on slide film with my TLR. This is my comfort zone, after all.
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