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

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6
votes
3answers
2k views

Advantages of a ring-flash in portrait and wedding photography

I've seen lots of people talk about and work with ring-flashes, or using ring-flash adapters for their speedlites. Some use them in single flash setups, both on-camera and off-camera, other use them ...
3
votes
5answers
800 views

What would be a better lens option for shooting portraits?

I am doing my first photo shoot of a birthday party for a friend. I wanted to know which lens would be the better option to use for this. I have a Canon 50mm f/1.8 prime lens as well as the standard ...
1
vote
1answer
325 views

Is compositing a viable technique for high key portrait type shots?

In the absence of off-camera speedlites and a suitable back-drop I'm wondering if using post processing based compositing would be a viable technique to achieve a high key (or indeed low key type) ...
5
votes
5answers
450 views

Do I need to invest in something beyond my Canon 550D to produce top-notch portrait photography?

I am currently working with a 550D, and seriously debating whether to invest and buy a (semi) professional camera instead. I focus mainly on portrait photography and for this reason purchased the ...
6
votes
1answer
713 views

How do I reverse engineer a portrait photo?

A part of the photography learning process is to look at pictures and try to reverse engineer them. I want to learn how to reverse engineer portrait images. Reverse engineering the light in portrait ...
14
votes
3answers
600 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?
5
votes
1answer
296 views

Is there a correct way to communicate with photography subjects e.g. models?

It may seem like this question has an obvious answer, but it’s something I do find quite difficult - I am very out spoken and confident but sometimes struggle with the following. Should I just tell ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

How does one create the Dragan Effect?

I am interesting in achieving results like Andrzej Dragan's portraits. I have been through lots of tutorials, but none of them actually provide good enough results. What major steps should I follow in ...
0
votes
5answers
2k views

Good all-round lens for Canon XS/1000D? Is 24-105mm F4.0 IS USM a good upgrade?

I've been using my 1000D for 2 years now with the kit 18-55mm lens and for about a year now I've got it a bigger brother, a 55-250mm F4.0 IS lens, with the latter being on my body most of the time. ...
5
votes
3answers
336 views

What are the best tips for photographing children?

I have two children (ages 2-4) who are just getting old enough to know when to make the worst possible face or simply run away when I bring out the camera. Does anyone have any tips on how to get ...
4
votes
1answer
249 views

How do I formulate an estimate for photographing a private school's 180+ K-5th graders and their 30+ faculty and staff?

I have been invited to submit a proposal/estimate for school portraits including 180 or so young children and 30 or so adult faculty and staff. I do not know if prints will be involved, but would ...
4
votes
2answers
214 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

How to avoid tired eyes in a portrait?

I noticed some portraits I took had heavy shadows under eyes: It turned out the model had experienced some sleep deprivation, though the eyes didn't look that bad in real life. I suspect lighting ...
4
votes
6answers
481 views

When do you center your subject in environmental portraits?

When I shoot environmental portraits, I usually place my subject off center. However, I've seen instances where the photographer has intentionally centered their subject. Here is an example: ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Should I choose the AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D or AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G?

I have D5000 DX body and planning to buy a fast lens. I'm stuck on choosing between "AF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4D" and "AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G". I was quite leaning towards 50mm f/1.4D, as I had plans ...
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
3answers
714 views

What makes a job interview photo great?

I am going to take job interview photos next week. However I don't know the next best thing about photography. I don't want to go to the shooting unprepared though. So I hope you guys can enlighten me ...
5
votes
3answers
362 views

How to find models for portraiture?

So far, portraiture has not been my main area of interest, but I do find many portraits fascinating and would like to develop myself further. Across time, I've gathered various theoretical knowledge ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

How do I light a full length portrait?

I've built a basic home studio that includes a gray paper backdrop, 3 speedlights, 2 light stands with umbrellas, a tripod (to use for self shots or as an extra light stand if in a pinch), and some ...
3
votes
1answer
617 views

Broad and short lighting: is one more flattering for female portraits? for male?

This question explains broad and short lighting. Could those with portrait experience confirm (or refute) something I've read, which is short lighting tends to be more flattering to females ...
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
659 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
948 views

How can I get good results from a one-light portrait setup?

Is there an optimum one light setup in terms of lighting the subject, providing fill (i.e through reflectors) and possibly lighting the background as well? If you are armed with only one light, how ...
10
votes
3answers
4k views

Is there a “bible” for portrait photography like “Light, Science and Magic” is for lighting?

Can anyone recommend a good book on portrait photography, covering gear, lighting setups, posing and so forth? More interested in the setup and shooting than post processing and retouching. Would ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How to avoid double chin and glossy skin in portraits?

Two of the most disturbing things I struggle with when shooting portraits are double chin of the model and glossy skin reflecting my flash, even while using diffused light. I normally ask my model to ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How much distance between subject and backdrop?

When photographing a subject in front of a backdrop, how much distance should there be between the two? Just wondering if there is standard rule (I've heard some say at least 6ft) or if it's ...
7
votes
3answers
8k views

What is the definition of portrait photography?

Can we talk about a portrait photograph if, let's say, a grandmother and her 3-year-old grandchild are in the picture? Or, must it be only one person in the photograph?
7
votes
3answers
510 views

How to best take a group photo with very large differences on height?

My family will be together for the first tome together. We want to take pictures. My family has very tall (6'6") and short (5'2") adults, and 5 kids, ages 1-12. What can I do to make pleasing photos?
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Is a 50mm f/1.8 or a 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 a better lens for portraits, and why?

I just recently bought "Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II" for a Canon rebel T3. This was about $100. I just came across "Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM" which is only about $40 more right now. My wife ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it possible to add haze to a portrait shot?

Haze is found in many shots ranging from portraits, to vintage, to fashion... I have only seen expensive actions packages for Photoshop so far that offer the ability to do it in post, and everyone ...
-1
votes
2answers
169 views

Are there any other small cameras comparable to the Canon Powershot elph 310 HS?

My partner and I are looking for a small and light camera for her to carry everywhere. She needs it to take pictures of high enough quality for publication. (She is also getting a larger camera, ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What are some typical angles to place the sun at in outdoor portraiture photography?

I know there are few common light positions for studio photography. For example, a key light positioned 45 degrees horizontal and slightly above the subject. I was wondering if there were any common ...
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. ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

When would one choose a 50mm f/1.4 over 85mm f/1.8 (or vice versa) for portraits?

Say you are using a crop body, and you have both 50mm/1.4 USM and 85mm/1.8 USM lens in your bag. Now, you want to take a portrait where there is adequate light and space, and you have decided to take ...
17
votes
2answers
734 views

How do event photographers balance “spontaneous” snapshots versus well-executed shots?

I am not a professional photographer, but I often play at "event photographer" for family events and sometimes informal work events. I find myself struggling with a desire to capture candid snapshots ...
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 ...
7
votes
3answers
851 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

What are most important accessories for indoor portraiture?

I am brand new to DSLRs, so please bear with me. We just bought a Nikon D3100. Christmas is coming up; what are going to be the most critical "starter" accessories? Most of our shooting is indoor, ...
26
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it practical to shoot portraits by only candlelight?

Is it practical to shoot portraits in candle lights, only, provided there is no flash around? If yes, then for portrait shots, where and how should one place the candles? Are there any specific ...
10
votes
1answer
425 views

Is there a name for the type of portrait composition where the subject is looking out of the frame?

I'm wondering if there's a specific term to describe a portrait where the main subject is looking at something outside the frame that we (the viewer) can't see. I like it as a composition technique: I ...
1
vote
2answers
413 views

How can one manipulate gaze direction in post-processing?

Let's say you have a portrait photo of somebody looking straight in to the camera and you, in retrospect, want to change the gaze so that the person looks, say, to the upper right instead. How would ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Is an entry-level DSLR good enough for portrait photography?

I'm looking into starting a small at home portrait photography business mostly as a hobby for now, and I'm wondering if the camera I have now (Nikon D3000) is good enough for portrait photography. ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What film should I use for black and white outdoor 'formal' shots?

I'm wondering what type of black and white film is best to shoot good-quality outdoor photos that capture the quality of the trees, etc., and still show detail in people's faces. Is there a ...
7
votes
2answers
341 views

How can I make effective use of single portable strobe with direct lighting for an event?

I've been tasked with some event photography this weekend. Although the event will be held inside, the color of the walls prevents me from using bounce flash, so I have to use direct flash with a ...
6
votes
5answers
717 views

How can I hold my face in the same place for a month long daily self-portrait?

I want to take a self-portrait every day over a period of a month. I want to turn these photos into an animation, so it is important that the face is in the exact same position on each shot (the ...
8
votes
4answers
463 views

To take my portrait photography to the next level, should I get a second flashgun or a monolight?

I am a hobbyist and using a Canon 600D with 50mm f/1.8 and 18-135mm lenses. I bought 430EX-II flashgun, and it works great as off-camera flash with the 600D's built in transmitter. I also have a ...
4
votes
3answers
161 views

What should I consider when setting up photo sessions at 3rd party location?

Now that fall is here, I am considering approaching a local farm/apple orchard/pumpkin patch to set up a day of portrait sessions -- where families can come to the farm for a specific time frame and ...
7
votes
2answers
859 views

How to create a sparkle in the eyes of a portrait shot?

In this photograph I have been told, that the eyes are looking like "black pools", which I do realize now. What should be an ideal placement of ONE artificial light source (lamp/flash), so that ...
8
votes
6answers
802 views

What's a decent lighting kit for getting started with portraits?

I've done mostly nature photography up to this point but later this month a friend is having a birthday and she just had a daughter so I wanted to take some father/daughter portraits. So now I'm ...
40
votes
6answers
19k views

Why do pro photographers use huge lenses to take portrait shots?

Every time I see a photoshoot video on youtube, the photographers have the biggest lenses I have ever seen in my life to shoot portraits or full-body shots. For example, the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 ...or ...