Help with People Portraits

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by RKW3, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. RKW3

    RKW3 TPF Noob!

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    I'm still a newbie, and I'd like some advice here.

    Say 10 family members came over to my house for Easter. Then we want to take a group portrait.

    Should I do anything to my aperture to improve the focus? Should I put the aperture on infinity focus or what?

    I'm always afraid that if I have my camera on the normal focus it will only focus on one person's face and everyone's else would be a tad out of focus.

    Any help for a beginner? Thanks.
     
  2. oldnavy170

    oldnavy170 TPF Noob!

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    I would like to hear the answer to this question too. I have that problem already. My camera will focus in on one face while the rest look hazy.
     
  3. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    The answer is depth of field. Lots of people think the only thing depth of field is used for is to blur the background, not so grasshopper.

    The long depth of field means the objects in front of the focal point and objects behind the focal point can be in focus as well. Oh guys like me with bad eyes use it a lot.

    A good apperture that will allow you some speed on your shutter is F8 that or anything above if you focus on the middle of the pack, should give you sharp front and third row as well.

    Side to side should not be a problem because they would all be on the same focal plane. That should take care of your problem. More rows of people and you are worried try going even smaller with your aperture like 11 or even 16.

    As the aperture size decreases your shutter speed will decreas as well so keep that in mind. If you have dof preview you can use that to see what I mean. If not just shoot as small an aperture as possible.
     
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't know what lens you are using or have as the case may be but try having everybody in one line or 2 if a large number. Use an aperture of around f8 or f11 if you have the light for it. Remember that getting the exposure nailed is almost as important as is focus.

    When you have everyone lined up and have made sure that your camera is straight up and down and is as high as the middle of what you want the shot to look like, focus the camera on the eyes of a person in the middle on the front row should there be two rows because you naturally expect the front person to be in focus and whatever is behind is not so critical. F8 (actually f6 to 16 on most all cameras/lenses that you would use for this should have everyone in good focus) should do the trick if you don't have everyone spread out front to back.

    good luck

    mike
    LOL I type too slow! Probably shouldn't have tried to cut off my finger the other week. ;)
     
  5. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    If you have a speedlight, shoot at f/16.

    and don't cut off any fingers!!
     
  6. RKW3

    RKW3 TPF Noob!

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    :thumbup: Thanks guys.
     
  7. gilsmak

    gilsmak TPF Noob!

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    It has been my experience that I can usually set my aperture according to how deep my subject matter is. For example, if my group is like 4 or 5 feet deep, I usually set to around 5.6. This may differ from what others will recommend, but it works for me
     
  8. aimeefriedland

    aimeefriedland TPF Noob!

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    mmmm very interesting, thank you
     

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