Portrait Photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by bogleric, Jul 1, 2005.

  1. bogleric

    bogleric TPF Noob!

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    I typically don't do much portrait photography. However lately I have been getting asked to take some. I was wondering if you could share some of your proven tricks... for example which lenses typically work best (focal length, standard lens or standard zoom lens, etc). Also as for the DOF what is a good average. I am still experimenting just was wondering...

    Thanks.
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Generally you would use a standard focal length lens for full and half body shots. Something long for closer portraits. Usually a shallow DOF is used to separate the subject from the background, but it depends on what you are trying to do. In an environmental portrait I often use a lot more DOF. Try natural lighting, maybe with a simple reflector.
     
  3. Noodle

    Noodle TPF Noob!

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    I do quite a bit of natural outdoor portraiture. Some tips I have pick up along the way include...
    Never have the person in dappled light eg under trees...even light is better, shade or afternoon light
    Direct the person, seem confident, otherwise they get self conscience and the poses arent as natural...
    Never take a shot looking up at a person, especially women (we can be very picky with our "fat" photos)...
    Take lots of photos - if you don't, the best pose has their eyes closed, especially in group photos, someone always has their head turned, is blinking or picking their nose.
    And PRACTICE, when I look back at my first shots I just shake my head!!
     
  4. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ^^^ This is a great way to start. ^^^




    Creating good portrait lighting is often more difficult than learning to recognize good available light.

    Remember... most people need a bit of help, especially adults. A bit of diffusion and general retouching of blemishes, shadows under the eyes and smile lines are necessary.

    And don't forget presetation. Deliver prints in folders and mount any prints 11x14 and larger.
     
  5. bogleric

    bogleric TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the great tips and thoughts. I was playing with focal lenghts today as I do not currently have a fixed length lens for these shots. I notice the fixed portrait lenses seem to be around 85mm. That seems to work ok for the close shots. I will keep on the trial and error practice.

    I never quite realized how intrigueing it could be to photograph people before.
     
  6. ajmall

    ajmall TPF Noob!

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    Don't forget the focal length changes on DSLRs so unless it's a digital lens, an 85mm will be around 130mm. I have always been told the "ideal" focal length for portraits is between 50-105mm.
     

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