Fashion/Portrait/Web pics

Discussion in 'Commercial/Product photography' started by Captain Ahab, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. Captain Ahab

    Captain Ahab TPF Noob!

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    I am putting this thread here as it is commercial photography I suppose. I have a web store that sells costumes and such and I do all the photography. I am using a new rebel xti with kit lens 17-55. So far I have done okay I guess and have learned a lot! In my studio which is 24 x 20.
    I use 2 VuPro 100watt constants w/ softboxes. The nature of the items I sell keep the lighting kinda dark. The kit lens is pretty slow but I manage with a tripod to keep blur down. I also shoot outside though.
    When I do a shoot, I start out full body and get the item I'm selling first. A fashion type shot (best I can) then once I feel I have something for the store, I move on to getting more portrait/head shots and get creative. Something the model could use for her port.
    I am looking at a prime Canon EF85mm f/1.8 USM AutoFocus Telephoto lens. It has a good price and I am reading really great reviews. My question is- although it will be a lot faster lens for the low light stuff I do- do you think for the type of pics I do (seen below) this lens would be good? I know I'll have to do more walking to frame than zooming - but that is okay- but how much walking will I do to shoot a full body then get tight portrait? 3 or 4 feet 6 or 8? Anybody used this lens size regularly?
    Of course with a 1.6 focal multiplier, the 85mm will actually be 136mm. Should I back down to a 50mm? Should I not fool with primes at all and go to zoom for replacing kit lens.
    I know enough to get into trouble-but learning! Your comments accepted and respected. (on the pics too if you like)
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  2. Captain Ahab

    Captain Ahab TPF Noob!

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    I cant believe no one has anything to say at all- you dont have to like the pics-just give me ideas on the lens!
     
  3. photogoddess

    photogoddess TPF Noob!

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    They look ok... hard to tell at web resolution how sharp they are but I personally wouldn't shoot any portrait wider than 50mm. 70mm plus is usually preferable. A 85mm or 70-200 is a delicious size for portraits and will help you to blur the wrinkly background out of focus better. :D
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Just to be sure...do you have the EF-S 17-55mm F2.8 IS lens ($999) or do you have the typical 'kit' lens...18-55 F3.5-5.6?

    The 85mm F1.8 is a pretty good lens at a great price. It should work well, as long as you have enough room to back up. The 50mm F1.8 is a fairly good lens for a very low price. The 50mm F1.4 is more expensive but is a bit faster and built a lot better.

    Use your existing lens at 50mm and see if think that focal length is OK or if you think longer would be better.
     
  5. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My first thought is, for product/costume shots, I want to shoot at a least f11, if not smaller. I understand that part of the challenge is putting the product into an attractive setting, but I think detail in the product is just as important.

    So... it follows with this reasoning, you need a sharper, snappier lens and not necessarily a brighter lens.

    Just a thought.

    -Pete
     
  6. Captain Ahab

    Captain Ahab TPF Noob!

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    photo goddess - Thanks for the thoughts. I have had the 2nd shot printed at 11x14 and it looked really good. I am learning DOF as I go and mainly having troubles with shutter speed versus aperture.

    Big Mike-I guess that was part of my question on the prime lens- In my small studio, I use the zoom quite a bit. So I don't have to move so much. But I am not lazy, just still learning. But at 55mm I have to back up quite a bit for full shots. I answered my own question when I typed this but didn't think that hard. I could have thought about the room I have at 55mm and if I could afford to back up more with an 85mm. Yes I have the 18-55 3.8-5.6 lens.
    I am looking at alternatives for better glass for the way I mainly use my camera. Thanks for the tips.

    Pete - Thanks for your thoughts too. But I am not sure the f/11. That would mean (with my current lens) LOTS of light just to keep shutter speed up some to keep down blur. Right? And also that would mean that there would be detail in background as well. Which leads me to to a whole other topic which I will post shortly (Where do you start on lighting) How Bright. I am trying to grasp all of it!

    Thanks to all.
     
  7. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well... I just Googled VuPro 100watt and learned that this is a continuous lighting system. So, yeah.... with 100 watt light bulbs, you'll have some trouble getting f11, and would likely be at too slow a shutter speed to work with models. Sorry... I thought you had 100ws strobes.

    Not necessarily too much background detail. Other considerations that would impact on that include the subject-to-background distance, camera-to-subject distance, and the focal length of the lens. I think if you had just 6-8 feet between the subject and the background, and worked with a 85mm lens to make 3/4 length "portraits," you'd get desirable results, giving good detail in the costuming while providing a nice soft background.

    I hope this isn't too confusing.

    -Pete
     
  8. Captain Ahab

    Captain Ahab TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Pete, not too confusing. These are 1000watt though. I'll give it a shot.
     

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