advice for first ever baby shower shoot

posted February 19th, 2014
Hey guys,
Although I am still somewhat suffering with my eyesight on the left side, I have no choice but to risk all and go ahead with this shoot..

It is for a friend of my sisters so I feel slightly relieved taht I will know at least 1 person there, but this is my first shoot at this side of the camera and I will honestly say I am crapping myself...
I totally want to impress and get some great shots, I have a few in mind... the lady is wanting some clothed bump shots too... as well as the usual guests arriving, possibly present opening, that kind of thing....
But I could do with any ideas you all have... I want to go in there and come across as professional yet fun to ensure my name gets passed around... I dont have access to any backdrops before the day so is there anything I can throw in a bag to use in order to get some great shots of just the group, and accessories (where do I start lol) ... and I am also unsure to the lighting situation as it will be inside a club so what could I use as reflectors?

Anything you can tell me will really help a whole lot..

I truly want to go there and enjoy myself yet ensure some great shots are taken in the process...

thank you all in advance
x
posted February 19th, 2014
I have a saying when I first meet people on set.

It all about having fun so they should enjoy themselves because I am going to. :)

put your camera on AV and shoot with the fastest setting and keep resetting your focus on their eyes.

put on a flash if you have one and turn it down to -2.

If you have a set time for photos drag them to a spot where the background is nice but blur the heck out of it using a shallow DOF.

Smile and joke around.

If you are getting photo of kids at the event don't push them too far as they tire easy and it might take some time to get the shots.

get down real low and get shots at eye level to your subject.

Capture the emotion in the laughter and surprise as they open gifts and get photos of the gifts lined up.

when taking group shots make sure you aperture setting is at such at something like f9 to allow all the subject to be in focus but dont forget to change it back.

watch your backgrounds and watch your backgrounds. :)
posted February 20th, 2014
I'd recommend getting a list of the shots she absolutely wants so no one forgets.

as a baby shower veteran guest I will tell you that things can get a little wild after 5 rounds of Baby Bingo and cake. ;-)
posted February 20th, 2014
Two biggies from Brendan there. Focus on the eyes,and then focus on the eyes again! :) You can compensate in post for most tone deficiencies, but if the focus is not right, then nothing much can be done to salvage the shot. And watch for stray background lights and keep them out of the frame. A harsh blown highlight will overwhelm your foreground subject and it's one of the few tonal problems you really can't do much about after the fact even with the best of editors.
posted February 20th, 2014
@agima I'm newbie, but funny thing is I'm going to baby shower this weekend. When you talk about setting F9, blur background, and shallow DOF, doesn't this all happen with the F9 or lower?
posted February 20th, 2014
@fivefingerofdeath Relatively f/9 is rather narrow, but DoF and background blurring have more to do with placing the subject relative to the background. If the background to subject distance is significantly longer than camera to subject distance, you will end up with a nice blur even at f/9.
posted February 20th, 2014
@agima @frankhymus @hippiechick13 some really solid advice there, thanks guys...
I have never even attended a shower so am totally unaware as to what to expect, Games? well thats thrown me, I just figured it would be a group of girls giving the expectant mother a few gifts for baby...
I can see this is going to be a great learning curve for me..
Just hope I have the confidence to direct the group. :)
posted February 20th, 2014
@clairelouise it all depends on the area. In my area there are always games before lunch. Then the presents are opened and then we have cake.
posted February 21st, 2014
@hippiechick13 I believe it is a relatively new concept here in the uk.. (yorkshire seems to be the last to jump on any given band wagon lol)
posted February 21st, 2014
@clairelouise oh then you're probably fine! I didn't realize you were in the UK. We tend to really overdo everything in the States :-)
posted February 21st, 2014
@hippiechick13 haha yeah, hence never attending one before... Hopefully with it been a new concept for us the guests will not know what to expect from a photographer so I should be ok...
I am thinking that I should be taking a little more that a camera and a few ideas in my head though :)
posted February 22nd, 2014
So, setting f9 or lower, setting the flash to -2, then shutter speed fast? What would be fast. Being mid day with large windows ? This is really helpful, nothing else I'll have bunch of good photos of family.
posted February 24th, 2014
Is there any way you can check out the venue ahead of time to get an idea on lighting? Maybe ask if you can come early and help set up and that will give you an idea of where the best places to shoot from would be and also I'd ask what games are being played and what shots they really must have and if they have a general schedule of events so you're not off getting group/crowd shots when the dad to be shows up to surprise the mom with roses or something... just kinda want to talk with whoever is throwing it to see if there are any suprises you don't want to miss!
posted December 4th, 2018
Hi Claire, I shoot a lot of parties and weddings and my best advice would be to use aperture priority, mount a flash for fill light and bounce from the ceiling or cover it with a white dome for softer flattering light. look for people laughing, drinking and presents being passed, hugs, kisses and greetings. try to find a few spots that work well but do not get in the way of whats happening and wherever possible shoot into the light so try and use windows, glass doorways whenever possible.
use mirrors on occasion and shoot through glasses. over peoples shoulders works well and taking people taking picture shots always works well xx don't forget the details :D
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