Senior Portraits lens choice

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Jade16, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. Jade16

    Jade16 TPF Noob!

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    quick question..would it be better to shoot with a 50mm 1.4 OR a 24 - 70 2.8 for a senior outdoor portrait. Shooting with a Mark iii and it is overcast. Which would be best??


     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yes. There really is no "best" answer to questions like this. It's whatever you want to achieve with the shoot. That said, I always prefer longer focal lengths to shorter for portrait work, and almost never shoot below 85 for single-person portraits with 85, 105, and 135 being my preferred lengths.
     
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  3. ronlane

    ronlane What's next? Supporting Member

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    press the button on your iPhone and say, "Hey Siri, flip a coin" If she says heads, use the 50 1.4, if she says tails use the 24-70.

    You aren't going to be using either one of them wide open, so it's more what you are comfortable with. They are both great lenses and will give you some very sharp photos.
     
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  4. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg hear me roar Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Why not take both? The 50 is not heavy to carry as a 2nd lens.
     
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  5. Jade16

    Jade16 TPF Noob!

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    lol ok, good to know, but I just don't want to be switching back and forth with the lenses. I am pretty nervous as it's my first senior shoot. any tips? I have been shooting in TV mode most frequently, but have found that I'm beginning to outgrow it. Sometimes I just can't get the shot I want bright enough so I've begun playing around with shooting in manual, but am not quite comfortable in it yet.

     
  6. Jade16

    Jade16 TPF Noob!

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    I'm always going for the best bokeh. LOVE bokeh. I'm thinking I should probably start off with my 50mm and then later switch to the 24-70.
     
  7. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Boost the ISO, use a reflector to add light, (good for overcast days) and use the 70mm, as that appears to be your longest focal length lens.
     
  8. Jade16

    Jade16 TPF Noob!

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    why are longer focal lengths preferred?
     
  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I would much rather have the 24-70 zoom than the 50mm prime lens. The zoom will give you more focal length flexibility AND a longer focal length, which will allow you to be 7 to 25 feet away, and to get both environmental portraits, as well as close-ups, head and shoulder shots, half body shots, 3/4 length shots, and full length standing shots. While a 50mm lens is a decent lens, it is a one-tricky pony, whereas the zoom is a wide, moderate wide, normal, and a short telephoto lens; in a word, the zoom gives versatility where the 50mm gives the same thing, on every shot, 50mm angle of view and 50mm magnification, and 50mm background rendering.
     
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  10. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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  11. Jade16

    Jade16 TPF Noob!

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    how is best to use my reflector when it is overcast?? same as when the sun is out? I simply cannot tell if it helps with exposure when overcast since the sun isn't out! ;)
     
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, for a number of reasons. I'll simplify: if the camera is too close to a person, say inside of 7 feet, then the nose and anything that extends toward the camera tends to become literally larger on-film than it ought to be: extended hands and arms are made larger, the nose is made larger, the ears can tend to be a bit larger, feet and legs that are extended toward the camera look larger. In other words, to get a big, frame-filling image with a short length lens, there is a terrific temptation to get too close, and being too close causes exaggerated size to things that are closer to the camera, such as the nose. Long lenses tend to force the camera to be placed back a ways!

    Second, a longer length lens has a narrower angle of view, so it's easier to select the subject, and to eliminate other things from the environment. The longer length lens brings with them something called selectivity or narrow angle of view; which allows you to eliminate a wide swath of the real world stuff that would be seen in the picture in the background if a short lens length were used.

    Third, the longer lens tends to physically (meaning LITERALLY, in real,measurable with a ruler type terms) enlarge background elements, and to make the degree of background blur higher than with a shorter lens. The longer lenses, like 200mm and 300mm cause a very pronounced magnifying of background elements, and they "compress" the planes of the face, which can look quite attractive. The nice blur the longer lengths give allows the backdrop to be subdued. This is why the 70-200mm zoom and to a lesser extent the 70-300mm lenses are handy for portraiture outdoors. A long telephoto magnifies the background's size, and can make a distant background appear to be very close to the subject.
     

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