Portrait Photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by vonDrehle, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. vonDrehle

    vonDrehle TPF Noob!

    Jun 27, 2005
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    North Carolina
    Can others edit my Photos:
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    I don't really have any portraits in my portfolio so I volunteered my mom to be a model. I'm mainly going to focus on shoulder up portraits and not full body. I guess you could say similar to senior portraits.

    My lenses are: 28-105mm f4-5.6, 17-40mm f4, and a 75-300mm f4-5.6. Of the 3 I have I was thinking of getting a distance away from her and using the 75-300mm because I think it has the most pleasant bokeh of the 3, but I don't know if that would be the right one to use or not. I don't want to purchase a good portrait specific lens just yet.

    For lighting I have nothing. I can try and emulate a studio condition I guess with a mix of sheets and bright lights, but that might be pushing it. All I have right now is my built in flash.

    I will be using Ilford Delta 100 Professional Black and White Film. If I use color film what ISO would be best for portraits?

    Any suggestions on the lens, lighting, pose, and anything else are appreciated.
  2. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

    Oct 30, 2003
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    Hermosa Beach, CA U.S.A
    Formal portraits are tough. Personally I try to avoid them. If you have nothing then window light will work best. Figure out a window in your house that gets nice light. South facing is preferable. East or west facing will work, but you will need a bounce card to fill in the shadows. If you shoot the 75-300 be sure to keep it in the 75-105 range. Longer than that the background may seem too close to the subject. BW will work well. Maybe shoot something less contrasty like 400 speed.
  3. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

    Nov 8, 2004
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    Where am I now?
    Daylight is good for portraits but you should actually use a North facing window. Northlight is soft and even and you don't run the risk of getting harsh sunlight shining in. This is why artists studios tend to be built with a glass wall facing North.
    Make sure you have three or four films. It'll take you a roll before the two of you are relaxed about the deal. The good shots will tend to come in the second roll.
    A small telephoto is best - 70mm to 100mm for 35mm. It gives the most flattering perspective on the face and allows you to get close enough so it feels intimate but the lens isn't in the sitter's face.
    Focus on the eyes. As long as they are sharp nothing else matters.
    Place the sitter facing square on to the window and put the camera as near to the window as you can so the light is coming over your shoulder. Having the light square on to the face avoids ugly shadows and helps to loose wrinkles. Keep any make-up simple and minimal - just make sure they have a good even foundation. Use face powder to dull down the shine on the nose and forehead.
    And don't be afraid to reach in during the shoot and remove wrinkles and creases from clothing or reposition stray hairs.
    But the most important thing to remember is - you've got the camera so you are in charge (even if she is your Mom).
  4. 'Daniel'

    'Daniel' TPF Noob!

    Dec 30, 2004
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    Manchester, UK
    Wow, that sounds like great advice. :thumbup:

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