Photography Q & A: Shooting Tips

Photography Q and A 3

Q. Knowing that I have the Nikon D300 and a 70-300 lens, do I shoot in manual mode? Please tell me where you normally start with the settings for fstop, shutter speed, iso, etc. I just wanted a starting point for both the model photos and accessory photos.-from an apparel retailer

what-f-stop-to-use-1Your fstop will be determined by how you adjust the strobe lights once the strobe is triggered.  With strobe lights you will now have two sets of controls to really get it perfect.  You can adjust the slider on the strobe for brightness and then adjust the fstop on the camera as well.  You can also move the strobes closer or farther away, but I never did.  I had a spot on the floor for the model and that’s where she stood.  Keep the camera level to the model and point the auto focus light right on her chest.  Zoom in or out so the top of the lens hits the top of her head and the set the bottom of the lens at her feet.  When you look through the lens, you’ll see what I mean.  This will save you tons of time when cropping the image for the website.  After you have shot a few thousand images, you will know exactly what I mean.

Shutter speed is set fast at 200+.  Models are moving all the time even though they say they’re not, and you cannot fix a blurred image.  Set the camera for single shot.  Your D300 will have all the bells and whistles for plenty of control.

Set your ISO to 100-200-300 or so.  You want your images nice and clean with not grainy looking images unless you’re shooting some cool home pages or B&W creative stuff for your home pages or lookbooks.  It’s kind of fun.

Tip 1– All shutter speeds lower then 90 needs a tripod and for the most part you really can’t shoot fashion images with a tripod.  This would be a waste of time.  No matter how hard you try you will not be able to hold the camera steady at that slow of a shutter speed.  You’ll need a good tripod and a shutter release for product shots.

Tip 2 – Your 70-300 is going to get heavy after awhile and your legs will get tired of bending to keep the camera level to the model.  If you stand straight your images will tend to be distorted because you’re shooting down on the model.  If you try and sit and shoot up at the model your images will look terrible and the model will hate you.  You’ll make her look heavy.

Tip 3 – If you’re looking for models join Model Mayhem.  However, be aware, this website is a bit racy and kind of dirty, but models use it and you can send out casting calls, etc., and set your terms.

Tip 4 – Don’t fall in love with your images.  If they’re bad get rid of them and move on.  Creative types feel they need to keep everything.
 
For more Photography Q & A, check back often as we will be featuring common questions that we hear regarding photography along with responses by one of our expert photographers.