Soleece – A 24 Minute Photo Shoot


What do you do if you have a minimal amount of shooting time?  After meeting for the first time and discussing a number of portrait possibilities (see Before The First Photo Shoot), we had less than 30 minutes to shoot.  I usually prefer a longer shoot which allows time for more possibilities, but you work with the time you have.

A 24 minute photo shoot.

This screen capture shows all 74 photos, including white balance photos, set up and test photos, and the actual portraits. My camera is set up to capture both RAW and JPEG files, so I get two photos for each click of the shutter. That is why you see 148 images.

About 30 minutes shooting time only allows for one or two “sets” so my first choice was to head for the bench on my front porch (which is actually a 160 year old church pew). The first thing I did at the bench was to photograph an 18% gray card in the same light as the bench. I used that photo to set a custom white balance and I photographed the gray card again to make sure the white balance looked good (more info on setting a custom white balance is in the Links section below).


I had Soleece lay on her side with her head resting against her hand. I took 5 head and shoulder portraits and we looked at those photos on the back of my camera to make sure we had photos we both liked.


Next I zoomed the lens wider for a 3/4 length portrait, took several photos, and we looked at them.


Then I did some more 3/4 length portraits, for a total of 11, and we looked at them on the back of my camera to make sure we both liked what we were getting.


Then I took 6 tight vertical head and shoulder portraits and we looked at them.

We now had a total of 22 photos without her changing her basic pose. What changed was her facial expressions and how much I zoomed in or out to frame the image in different ways.


For the second pose, I had Soleece lay flat on the bench with her head on her right hand. I had her bring up the left hand to be near the right hand. We did a total of 8 photos in this pose with slight changes in the height of the camera and changes in her facial expressions. As always, we looked at the photos together on the back of the camera.


For the third pose I had Soleece sit up and I did 20 more portraits. I varied the framing from 3/4 length portraits to head and shoulder portraits to tight head shots.


This image is the last of the tight head shots. As usual, we looked at the photos on the back of the camera. This is important!  It gives the person you are working with an idea of what is going on. It also lets the photographer know what they think of the photos and if they like some kinds of photos better than others.

We did a total of 50 portraits on the bench using only three basic poses and variations in framing and facial expressions.  Sometimes I had her look at the camera and sometimes away from the camera. It took a total of 10 minutes to get 50 shots on the bench.


Soleece changed clothes and we got ready for the next set of photos. The lighting was more complicated. She was in front of a white window blind which I deliberately overexposed to get a pure white background. Some of the bright light from the window wrapped around her. I added additional light by using an ordinary household lamp on a 6 foot lamp stand.  I did several experimental shots to check the lighting and I worked on the white balance.

When I got everything like I wanted it, we did 9 more portraits with some slight variations in her pose. The portraits took 3 minutes.

Counting white balance photos and experimental set up shots, there were 74 shutter clicks. 59 of them were actual portraits. Total total time was 24 minutes: 13 minutes for the portraits and 11 minutes for a clothing change and getting ready for the second set of photos.

Soleece Links

Before The First Photo Shoot

The First Click of The Shutter

Eye Close-ups

White Balance Links

How To Set A Custom White Balance On Your Digital Camera

The “Custom White Balance” Series