blinking...

Discussion in 'Portraiture' started by hmb, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. hmb

    hmb Member

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    any tips for groups of people when you have a few blinkers, the ones who have small eyes to begin with and seem to keep them closed more than not? not squinting but blinking. I hate to go through so much film to be sure I got it.
     
  2. Bosaiya

    Bosaiya Member

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    It can be useful to use a rangefinder or TLR-style camera in these situations. It won't keep the people from blinking, but you will be able to better judge whether another shot is necessary.

    Maybe setting off a loud firecracker (or clown horn) at the moment of exposure would work, that'd open their eyes right up! It'd likely make for a more interesting shot as well.
     
  3. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    If you can lock your mirror it will eliminate the pre sound and if you can get a long cable release or air release and keep it behind your back it might help.
     
  4. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Its nearly impossible to get everyones eyes open. Bosaiya has it right when he sugests a loud, startling sound, causes most to get a bit bugeyed. It also helps to get your subjects looking to the side of the camera, and not at it. Have an assistant help direct them at an angle or divert their attention, while they watch your helper, take the shot. If you dont have help, then a long release cable(preferably electronic)to get you away from the camera while you distract them. Believe me, its tough, I used to do a lot of big groups when I worked for Olan Mills. I used to shoot anywhere from 400 to 450 sittings a week, and at least a third were groups of four and more. Good luck, and practice getting people to look where you want them, dont be afraid to give specific directions to individuals, and keep it light hearted and upbeat, that also helps.

    Rick
     
  5. hmb

    hmb Member

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    thank you. this last shoot was a group of 8, the father had small eyes to begin with and his 20 something daughter blinked tons too. So frustrating to have her blinking in one frame, him the next etc etc...
    I am shooting new with a contax 645, I think I shoot it slower than my F100 and when I used the D3 same deal. Ended up with a few good keepers which in reality, how many do you really need? Just weren't my fav picks...
    We were in Madison Square park NYC and during the first group shot I was leaning back up on a fence. A Squirrel climbed up my back, over my shoulder and up onto my camera...no kidding! I managed a frame before freezing up worring that he would go for my jugular, that was the funniest photo. Everyone was wide eyed but with a look of shock across their faces :smile:
     
  6. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    have everyone close their eyes. tell them on the count of three to open.

    it is very unusal to blink right after opening , you have to fire the shutter, just after you say three
     
  7. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Good story- maybe you should have hired the critter to help you--I hear they are willing to work for peanuts(yeah, I know, but I had to say it). Anyway, you should consider an assistant when you shoot groups, fussing clothes and any makeup, and posing,plus lugging gear. Maybe a stuffed squirrel, so you can tell your group the story, then pop it up like it just showed up.

    rick
     
  8. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Death to all blinkers.
     
  9. eddym

    eddym Member

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    Blinking is a great reason to shoot a TLR! But if you shoot an SLR instead, use a tripod, focus and compose, then look up at the group and shoot. Then you can see who closed their eyes, and know you have to shoot again. If you have some "serial blinkers", try having everyone close their eyes, then tell them to open their eyes, and shoot.
     
  10. hmb

    hmb Member

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    serial blinkers LOL! it is hard, I am mainly a childrens photographer and not used to doing groups. A stylist would be lovely, maybe I need to rewrite my contract to suggest it! I have never (even when I was digi) switched heads but I see how it would make it much easier :smile:
    I won't be changing gear anytime soon so need to think about a tripod for this sort of work I think.
    Thank you all!
     
  11. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Alternatively... LET THEM KEEP THEIR EYES OPEN AND tell them you'll count to three, but snap the shutter at two.

    My wife is a "blinker". She says she can't control it but she only blinks when I press the shutter; EVERY TIME it seems. I once got so annoyed that I didn't take her picture for a couple of years.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2009
  12. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Tell them you'll shoot on three. Count to one and fire.
     
  13. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    guys, they have their eyes closed one 1, 2 and 3 only to open at 3
     
  14. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    shoot multiple frames
    make prints of all of them, swap heads ( blinking heads for non )
    make a copy photograph of the collage'd group portrait
    retouch it so you don't see the shadow / line
    and then make the print.

    you could always freehand draw /retouch in eyes and lids ..
    but the former is always easier ...
     
  15. hmb

    hmb Member

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    "shoot multiple frames
    make prints of all of them, swap heads ( blinking heads for non )
    make a copy photograph of the collage'd group portrait
    retouch it so you don't see the shadow / line
    and then make the print."

    uh, I am sorry but I think that is what a digital camera is for...IMHO at least :smile: and no, I don't charge enough for the above solution
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If you are using flash, ask your subjects to tell you if when the flash goes off it appears red to them - that's a sure sign that you caught them mid-blink.

    Matt
     
  17. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    Formula for how many photos you need to take to get one blink-free, or at least, a high probability of there being at least one blink-free.

    If you're using a flash that has any pre-flash for metering purposes, that's the problem. The Minolta AF flashes are particularly terrible in this way as they cause "lazy eye" (half closed lids) very reliably in a lot of people due to their preflash-to-exposure latency. If that's happening, you need to figure out a good exposure and put the flashes on manual (so no preflash).

    No one has blink reflexes fast enough to beat a manual flash. Not even with a big loud SLR mirror going off. Those using big studio lights can attest to this - you can point a massive camera with a Richter-3 mirror slap like an RZ-67 at someone, wired up to studio flashes with enough light to start a small fire... and they still can't blink in your shots. Every single shot comes out blink-free.
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    EXACTLY! :wink: