I am only new to photography and charging, i have had no formal training and have taught myself (with a lot of help from CC and other photogs). i use auto focus but i change my focal points to what ever is closest to where i want the focus to be, then i focus slightly and recompose. I very rarely manual focus unless i have to because honestly i don’t have time, i’m not good at it. i will manual focus if i’m doing a close up and i’m suing a very Shallow DOF. manual focus is a good skill to have but from what i understand most professionals during a shoot will use auto focus these days as the camera is generally quite good at doing it and they have enough work to do themselves.
What exactly do you have trouble with auto focus?? what exactly is going wrong?
When shooting kids i use a faster shutter speed, and i bump my ISO if i have to. As the photog you have to be in charge, you can listen to people and see what they want but you have to make the ultimate judgement call. You know best. Pretty much grow some balls and boss people around a little, act more confident even if you aren’t. You really really need to work on interaction with you and the camera. you need to direct them where to stand and where to look. The best bit about being a photog is that YOU CAN SAY NO! you do not have to say yes to everything. You can choose to shoot what you want and how you want, people should come to you for your style and not for your price. I am only recent to the charging world but i am the most expensive photog in my area, my time away from my family is valuable and i want to be reimbursed properly for it. I still get clients even though im the most expensive. If you are practicing or portfolio building you should have the ideas of what you want to do (ie white background) say you are going to do it and ask around till you find someone who is willing to bite, after all they are getting free stuff, they shouldn’t complain about their free stuff (although some do, you dont want those people anyway).
With your second question, i would simply tell them that the red background will be very very hard, i shot a baby on a red blanket a few months back, the editing took for ever to get the skin right (or at least better then it was).
This is a SOOC red baby i did https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/536574_10151523153891587_914460031_n.jpg
while the red doesnt look too bad it actually clipped very easily and would not print very well at all, it would print as bright red blotches basically.
I am not sure what program you use for editing but what i do is use levels and gradient layers in PSE. PSE is a wonderful tool and quite affordable. i like to have the blacks more black and the whites more white. The trick is shoot something knowing that it will be black and white. i think red is one of those colours which don’t look great in BandW as well. I never turn every image black and white for the hell of it.
I think you really have to work on focus as well, focus is not correct for the red ones or the little baby. I learnt to trash EVERY SINGLE IMAGE which was not focused where i want it (generally in a portrait on their eyes) i learnt very quickly after trashing images i loved. Even if it was a great moment or a lovely image otherwise i would still trash it. If those baby shots were mine they would have been deleted straight away, the client would never have seen them as they were not in focus.
this is a similar shot to your second baby one, as you can see baby looks a lot more comfortable. i spend a lot of time posing my babies so they look comfortable and cosey.
this is how i would take a photo of a baby who is awake, they have such big heads you cant expect them to lift them up a this age and take a nice shot. pop baby on its back and shoot down, try to get baby looking kind of at you you will have to move into babies view.
I think the glitter ones are your strongest, although they need more light in their eyes i think you should be proud of what you have done.
I am helping you because i think you have potential and you want to learn, if you had of said those red shots were the epitome of awesome i would have continued scrolling.
Ohh and i am new to photography and the business world, its a part time hobby business for me. i only do newborns as its all i am interested in. i am by no means as experienced and qualified as some of the other people on here.
here was my first baby, obviously not a paid thing, this was taken a little over 18 months ago. shot in auto, missed focus, selective colour, no posing, edited in picnik. https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc1/1002610_10151584675286587_977438177_n.jpg
i like to think there is hope for anyone willing to learn…. ohh and notice my lack of watermark…. feel free anyone to steal it and use it as your own work 😉