Which Lens and Shooting Space is Required for a Fashion & Beauty Shoot?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by benjikan, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. benjikan

    benjikan TPF Noob!

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    Which Lens and Shooting Space is Required for a Fashion & Beauty Shoot?

    Part 1

    The Studio for Fashion.

    When preparing to embark on a Fashion or Beauty shoot, it is important to know what the environment and shooting space you will be doing your project in is like. For the sake of clarity, I will commence with a classic fashion shoot in a moderately sized studio and will follow with the beauty shoot in the same environment.

    Location and Studio fashion shoots require very different approaches to the choosing of your focal length. In both cases however it is important to be sufficiently prepared for all of the possible permutations that you may consider during the shoot. However, when shooting in studio, you are often limited by the size of the workspace, the width of the background and the distance from the subject. If you are in a small space using the standard back drop, you may find that you are compromising between the distance of the model from the background and the focal length required to get the entire subject in to the frame. Not only is this a major constraint, but if you are thinking of back drop lighting as well as back lighting the model, the compromise between the focal length and getting the coverage required within the width and height of the backdrop may be very problematic.

    If you are in a position to work in a large space, these limitations will be pretty well eliminated except for the width of the backdrop. If you have the luxury to work with a full “Cyclo” studio where you can paid the backdrop, then the possibilities become pretty well limitless. In the most positive of conditions where space is not a limitation, the choice of focal length will have more to do with effect than necessity. Your only limitation will be the height of the studio. Ideally you will have a 5 meter high studio (18-20 feet). This will allow you to sit on the floor and shoot up in to the subject if desired, without having to photoshop in the backdrop above the models head.

    When shooting in a smaller studio using the standard backdrop and working within a distance of around 12-20 feet or 3-4 meters from the subject, I find that a 40-50mm APS or between approximately 50-80mm in Full Frame format to work very well for full silhouettes of a 178-180 cm 5′-9″-5′-11″ model to work quite well. You will find that the model will be around 6-10′ in front of the back drop, allowing you to light the back drop. This is usually what I find works when attempting to get the model and backdrop in to the frame without having to Photoshop in the background texture. Thus, a minimum of 25′ or 6 meters is the minimum for a classic studio set up, for me at least. More is always better of course. You will need at least 15′ in width or around 3.5 meters.

    In the classic fashion shoot studio situation, one can get away with just three focal lengths from 24 through 35 to 50mm in APS format or 36-75mm. Thus a good zoom might do the trick, like a Sigma 24-70 or any other brand with a constant aperture between 24-70mm.

    I also suggest that the backdrop go up a minimum of 9′ or 2.5 meters. Ideally 12′ or 3.5 meters would be better.

    I have just saved you a load of cash. Shooting with your 24-70 at the optimum performance of f5.6-f11.0 will give your 24-70 prime focal lens quality. You can show up to your shoot with a couple of bodies, one for back up, one lens and a flash meter, as I often do.

    End of Part 1

    Benjamin Kanarek Blog » Which Lens and Shooting Space is Required for a Fashion & Beauty Shoot?
     
  2. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thinking conventionally doesn't always work. Ever shot glamour photos with a UWA? You can get some amazing photos.

    And to add, wrong forum.
     
  3. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    So, do you buy into the whole "shoot at 135mm to 200mm" thing that I always hear? Stephen Eastwood, a Canon Explorer of Light, tells us we shouldn't shoot at 50mm or so.

    Stephen Eastwood|Beauty and Fashion Photographer | Tutorials

    There are examples of how shorter focal ranges distort the face of the subject on that link.

    I do know that when I've shot in the 24-70 range (around 50mm) I've added some weight to my models. Here's an example:

    [​IMG]

    I think Ieva looks a little thick around the mid-section in this pic and it was shot at 60mm. As you can see from this pic in her MM profile (http://modelmayhm-3.vo.llnwd.net/d1/photos/090408/13/49dd0b3e5bc74_m.jpg <--- NSFW) she's not that barrel chested. I attribute this puffy mid-section to the focal length I used.

    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009
  4. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    Interesting information. Learn something new every day! What about full body shots? Would you still see the same distortion or would it be okay for shorter focal lengths?
     
  5. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    One of my personal favorites was shot at 12mm
    [​IMG]

    And another from that shoot at 20mm
    [​IMG]
     
  6. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    VI, in your first shot at 12mm the subject is relatively small in the frame and is dead center. This is where there is least distortion obviously. If she were closer to the camera and more of her body were near the edges of the frame, those areas would distort.

    What are you saying by posting your pics? Are you saying what Stephen Eastwood is saying is invalid? Or are you pointing out exceptions to the "rule" (if you can call it that)?
     
  7. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There are no rules.
     

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