Question about using a 50mm lens for portraiture


TPF Noob!
Feb 19, 2012
Reaction score
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Hi everyone, very beginner question. I'm using a Nikon D7000 and a Nikkor 1.4 50mm AF-S G Lens.

Here is an image that I like very much:
My question (NOT taking into account the post production retouching on the image):

How would I go about replicating this type of sharpness with my 50mm lens?

Is this a matter of using a smaller aperture to create a larger DOP? Using a 50mm, does anyone know what minimum aperture setting will keep the figure and props pin sharp? I've heard around 5.6-8 is ideal for doing studio fashion photography? Would that avoid getting a shallow DOP with a big blur difference between Foreground and background? Because that's not the type of look I'm aiming for.

Also, for this studio shoot, do you think flash was used (possibly with a diffuser)? Or is it just using a lot of studio lighting? Or both? I'm still very new and not sure about how often or essential external flash is used in studio portraiture. If there are any tutorial links regarding some of the questions I have you can link I would be extremely grateful!

Depending on how close you are to the subject and how close he is to the wall F8 should get everything sharp.
This is window light.
I agree that f8 would be a good starting point, but I'm not convinced that this is solely window light. Given the nature of the subject matter, I would be inclined to think that this used a couple of strobes.
First and foremost it's aperture. No lens is perfectly sharp wide open. They are best about 2 stops down. Then you have to account for the DOF. If you are using f/3.5 you won't have a huge DOF, but depending on how close to the subject you are you will have a lot more than f/1.4 where your focus area is VERY small.
Starting with f/8 will get you a great DOF and as you learn how to control the DOF with aperture and distance you can then stop down from that.

In most indoor instances f/8 will require lighting of some sort.
External flash, or strobed lighting, in used for most studio portraiture lighting.

A big reason is that window light, if there is any, is to inconsistant to be reliably used any time of day/every day, particularly if the window(s) aren't north facing windows. Studio scheduling usually can't be easily changed because of a cloudy, heavy overcast, or rainy day. To accomodate people's work schedule's I did many portrait sittings after dark.

An additional consideration is that most professional portraiture uses multiple lights; main light, fill light, hair light, accent light, kicker light, rim light, background lights, etc.

Most reactions