My Favorite Focal Length for Studio Fashion

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by benjikan, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. benjikan

    benjikan TPF Noob!

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    Everyone I know in the business have their preferences regarding focal lengths for different applications. I tend to work quite a bit shorter than most when it comes to working in closed quarters in a studio environment. I specify this for a reason. Studio work is a fixed space that you set up lights in and know what those dimensions are for the whole day of the shoot. Unlike interior location shoots where you often have to change settings and adapt your focal lengths to the circumstances.

    It is for this reason, that I often find myself using a wide angle zoom in non studio environments. My focal length of choice in 75% of my studio shoots is around 60-75mm i.e. 40-50mm in the 1.5 ratio APS-C sensor cameras. But I tend to shoot closer to the former. I have read on several forums that the majority of shooters tend to shoot quite a bit longer i.e. 90-120mm i.e. 60-80mm 1.5 ration APS-C sensor cameras. I find that getting in closer to the model, allows you to communicate on a different level which in my opinion is more immediate. I am also not that fond of (at least at this juncture in time) that compressed long focal length look. All of the major brands have focal lengths that fill this criteria.

    I have on occasion shot shorter than the above at around 30mm (45mm) APS-C, with very pleasing results, but for this focal length I need to work in studio's with very high ceilings, as I more often than not am sitting or lying on the floor when shooting. I also need the much larger seamless when using this wider focal length or just work off of a bare studio cyclo wall.

    Shooting at these shorter focal lengths most certainly have a distinctively modern edgy look about them (at least for now)...So don't be afraid to experiment with shorter than the recommended norm for fashion work. It may give you a bit of the edge to stand out from the rest of the very highly populated crowd.

    Would love to get your feedback...

    Benjamin Kanarek Blog | Benjamin Kanarek Blog
     
  2. Idahophoto

    Idahophoto TPF Noob!

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    An area I am wanting to get into to. I love my 60/2 (about a 93mm on my Canon 50D) Tamron macro. Plan on adding the 85/1.8 and 100/2.8 very soon and these 3 will probably be what I use most of the time for the wide side the 17-50/2.8 Tamron I think does more than a well enough job, though I have thought about picking up the 28/1.8 Canon (Yeah I just love primes) After those I think I'll grab another 70-200 but been debating on what one. I really loved the Tamron one I had when I shot with Nikon but hated the slow AF sigma had the AF but not the image quality. Of course Canon had them both but cringed on that price tag. So who knows. I might just skip it as I favor primes anyways and would only use zooms now and again anyways.
     
  3. benjikan

    benjikan TPF Noob!

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    I really love Tamron lenses and especially their 28-75 Gem. The 17-50 you are using has had some very strong reviews in their favor and I would have no reservations using it professionally.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  4. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    No. You want a long lens: It makes the face look better. Many pros use lenses in the 90mm-180mm range, sometimes even longer.

    Taken with 180mm:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Taken with 350mm:

    [​IMG]

    Taken with 350mm:

    [​IMG]

    Taken with 350mm:

    [​IMG]


    Taken with 350mm:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    "many pros" eh???

    Do you even know who Benjamin Kanarek actually is?
     
  6. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    No, nor do I care. Long lenses (longer than 50mm on a 24x36mm frame) are more flattering to the face. This is well known and incontrovertible. The classic 'portrait' length is the 80-105mm range. I prefer even longer sometimes.
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    There's that hubris thing going on again. Kanarek's fashion and beauty credits include the top magazines in Europe. The USA. The UK. He knows more about flattering faces than I think, anybody on this board. You offering your opinion to Benjamin Kanarek is amusing,to say the very least. Perhaps you have some space walking tips to offer the US and Russian Space Station crews? Maybe?

    For girl-watching candids at festivals, I can understand why you're using long lenses; Benjamin's post is about focal lengths for studio fashion photography, not about snapping shots of girls in tight tank tops at open air festivals...350mm is a bit long for most studio fashion work, dontcha' think P-P?
     
  8. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    If he says he thinks that longer-than-normal lenses are not flattering, he's wrong. End of discussion. That's not just my opinion, it's well known and incontrovertible. The ''classic' portrait length is 80-105 mm or so. I won't even consider discussing this inane statement. It's bunk.

    Being farther away makes the relative distance between the front of the face and the back of the face less disparate. This means that the nose is less prominent. It's the 'being farther away' part that is the key, not the focal length. The focal length is simply the one that fits the frame from that distance.

    When Cecil B. Demille did those close-ups, they used a long lens....
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Incontrovertable,eh? :(
     
  10. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Are these the best examples you have to offer, very disappointing
     
  11. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    They are examples of faces taken with long lenses, to illustrate the point. They are candids taken at a festival. No-one was posing.
     
  12. Petraio Prime

    Petraio Prime TPF Noob!

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    Yes, incontrovertable.

    http://inyourface.ocregister.com/files/2008/08/greta_garbo-230p.jpg

    You can easily tell this was taken with a long lens.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010

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