Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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Questions relating to portraits: lens choice, lighting, posing, retouching, photographing groups, newborns.

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18
votes
7answers
4k views

What is a great portrait lens for Nikon (under $1000)?

I am currently shooting with a Nikon D90 and use the kit 18-105 lens and a 50mm f/1.8. Mostly I shoot as a hobby but lately I've been asked to do some family and engagement shoots. The 50mm is ...
15
votes
3answers
630 views

What are good techniques for photographing newborns?

As the proud parent of a new baby, I am eager to take beautiful pictures of my newborn daughter. However, I've found that although it is easy to get stunning pictures of older babies, the charm of ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I achieve smooth light falloff in portraits?

I'm having trouble getting a nice, smooth light falloff when shooting portraits. If you look at the left side of David Hobby's beautiful portrait, thats the effect I am trying to achieve. I have ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Is a 50mm f/1.8 or 50mm f/1.4 a good lens for portraits in low light?

I only have one lens right now. It's the Canon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens. I think this lens is great when the lighting conditions are right but in low light I usually have to resort to flash. ...
7
votes
4answers
451 views

How can I take portraits which seem to capture the essence of a subject I've just met?

I'm pretty good at taking portraits of my family and friends; I know who they are and what they "really" look like. But if I'm asked to make a portrait of someone I don't know so well, I'm often ...
7
votes
3answers
903 views

Do I need a written model release to enter a street portrait in a competition?

I've taken a street portrait photo (here) that I'd like to enter in a competition (the Sony World Photo Awards). I asked the man in the shop if I could take his photo, and he was more than happy for ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

High-Key Image Processing

I just came across a great photographer on Facebook and I was literally stunned when I looked over his albums. He had some portraiture work that I would call as "Freaking Awesome"! Here's the gallery: ...
6
votes
6answers
871 views

Does street photography including children introduce any specific concern?

If one were to take a similar path as Henri Cartier-Bresson in shooting candid street photography today, should they be concerned about laws or other realistic norms of today? I am wondering ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How to take saturated portraits like these (with natural lighting)?

The photographer of these portraits claimed he used a 50mm f/1.8 prime with no special lighting equipment: http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5163/5318756409_9f4ec94f5b_z.jpg ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

How to control both aperture and shutter speed for casual portraits

I took a number of ambient light portraits on Friday and I'm a little disappointed by the amount of motion blur (not camera shake) on parts of the subject. Altering the lighting was not an option. I ...
14
votes
3answers
638 views

Use a shot list or not?

When planning a portrait shoot, should I use a shot list (a preplanned list of shots) or focus on letting creativity take over rather than planned shots? A hybrid approach? What do most pros use?
14
votes
2answers
4k views

How to pose and arrange people in a group shot?

What are good standard poses for group shots of 3 or 4 people and how can I arrange folks so that they don't just look like they're 'standing around'?
10
votes
2answers
1k views

How should I approach people to take their portrait?

I recently saw a photographer's project on-line, where he takes 1 portrait each day of a total stranger. The project along with countless hours of looking at Steve McCurry's work sparked some interest ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Should both eyes be focused in a portrait?

I'm a hobby photographer, and I've just picked up "rules of thumb" and "tips&tricks" here and there. I have a 50mm f1.4, and I love it. But due to the extreme shallow depth of field (at f1.4), I ...
7
votes
4answers
818 views

What should be considered for employee photos to put on company's website?

I work in the entertainment industry and am looking to produce friendly looking images of our employees (sales managers, customer support people, and so on) to put on our company's website. What ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What is a loop lighting pattern?

I've seen several references to a loop lighting pattern, often in the context of portraiture lighting. What is meant by the term?
5
votes
3answers
2k views

How to avoid unflattering facial distortion when using a slightly wide angle lens?

A 35mm prime on a full format body (or 24mm on cropped) is a great lens to walk around with. But when one gets too close to someone to take a picture, invariably some of their features are ...
5
votes
2answers
600 views

Is there a difference between using a telephoto or wide-angle lens for portraits? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which focal-length lens is usually used for portrait photography, and why? Assuming a similar aperture, what difference would you see using a 50mm, 85mm, or telephoto ...
4
votes
5answers
2k views

How were these portrait photos edited to get this look?

3 photos, and I realize perhaps 3 different techniques, but all of them are producing some sort of "unreal" look I don't know how to describe and a skin texture in the 3rd photo (how3.jpg) that I ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How do you create a washed out effect with deep blacks?

I have been wondering how to achieve a great portrait effect I have been seeing a little bit more lately. The portraits are usually washed out, but blacks are still deep (not dull), and there seems ...
3
votes
2answers
689 views

Soft boxes vs umbrellas, pros and cons

I won't ask which is better, as that is highly subjective. I know that reflective umbrellas can spill more light in close quarters, and are more easily caught by a gust of wind, but are cheap and ...
2
votes
2answers
359 views

Can the camera select wrong exposure just because of color?

I took two pictures of two different flowers with portrait setting. One came perfectly exposed with dark background, the other seems over exposed with brighter background. I tried it again and the ...
2
votes
7answers
8k views

How can I best shoot portraits with only two lights?

Assuming a two light setup, what would the best use of the two lights? Edit: after getting no response to what I guess was an over-ambitious question, I've researched this and have come up with a ...
2
votes
4answers
341 views

What are some interesting things to try with a basic flashgun?

I've just got a relatively cheap, basic flashgun (TTL only) and a TTL cord. What are some interesting/enlightening (pardon the pun) exercises to try in order to illustrate the benefits of off-camera ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

Will a lens with a low aperture value give me better portrait photos?

I want to take pictures of people from 5-20 feet away. I attend lots of group events and am free to walk around and snap photos. I just purchased a Canon t3i and it comes with a 18-55mm kit lens. The ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Why are most portraits taken with the subject at 45 degrees to the camera?

Why is it that pictures are taken with a subjects shoulders set at a 45 (or-so) degree angle to the camera in the vast majority of portraits? I am hard pressed to find portraits with the subject ...
7
votes
3answers
181 views

Why do I meter under the chin with a lightmeter?

Every single tutorial or video has advised to meter for a portrait right under the chin. First of all why? If the face is the most important part, wouldn't you meter right at the face? Secondly, I ...
7
votes
1answer
674 views

Portrait photography of children (Christmas)

I floated an offer to my family to photograph my neices and nephews for Christmas. Now, we're doing this with plenty of time for them to get professional work done if mine don't really come out great, ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I accurately focus manually on an APS-C DSLR?

My favorite portrait lens is the Nikon 50mm 1.4G. I love the light and what it is capable of. My problem with it is that on my D90 the AF is sometimes horribly slow, and in many cases (mainly low ...
5
votes
2answers
597 views

What is a good rule of thumb to use large aperture for portraits vs showing more background?

I recently got a Canon 50mm and have found myself probably over-using the large apertures for portraits. I'm curious if anyone has a good rule of thumb for when to avoid it. My sense is that its ...
4
votes
3answers
3k views

What Nikon lens for both macro and portrait?

All three lenses are available at a local store near me: 85mm 1.8 at about 400USD 85mm 1.4 at about 1000USD 105mm 2.8 at about 1015 USD I plan on doing macro and portrait photography and have the ...
4
votes
2answers
221 views

Is having a lens with vignetting a real world negative for portrait lenses?

After reading this answer for another post: I don't mind the vignetting as it actually improves the look of portraits however if you're doing astrophotography what's the point in a lens that's ...
3
votes
3answers
395 views

What lenses should I choose for a night boat cruise?

I'm going to a boat cruise tonight in London. With the following kit to choose from: Nikon D7000 Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 Nikkor 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 Nikon SB-400 Yongnuo YN-465 I will definitely have both ...
0
votes
4answers
458 views

What is a good starter camera considering price and value [closed]

I like to take photos especially when I'm traveling.Also would shoot a lot of scenery and buildings and friends in front of scenery. Some options I found include the Panasonic Lumix G2, Panasonic GH2 ...
-2
votes
1answer
649 views

2 lenses for landscape, portrait and daily life - Tokina 12-28 and Tokina 50-135

I desperately need some help!!! I want two lenses to do landscape, portrait and travel shots. I have a budget of U$ 1.400 and i would like something that gives me more quality them the nikon 18-200. ...