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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

7
votes
3answers
3k 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
826 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
400 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
697 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
9k 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
770 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
1k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
5
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
10k 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
592 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
4k 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
171 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
2k 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
907 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
977 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
3k 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
466 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
660 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
2k 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
394 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
827 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
503 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
165 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
953 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
925 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 ...
43
votes
6answers
24k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I take a sun backlight portrait like these examples?

How can I take a photo like the ones below? The problem is that my photos (taken with a bridge, Sony H2) will get blown up at the highlights. Is it because I'm using a weak camera? Is it because I'm ...
4
votes
3answers
7k views

What lens to purchase for my Nikon D5000 for great portrait shots and pictures that are a distance away?

I have the Nikon d5000 camera, and I am looking for some new lenses. I am not quit sure what to get that will service all of my needs, and I would like to know the options before I shell out a lot of ...
3
votes
3answers
440 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
3answers
273 views

How to get started with portraits? [closed]

I am about to get into portrait photography and here is my first try: I know, it is has over exposure, but I think that it matches to the person, so it does not matter for me. So, I need some ...
4
votes
5answers
8k views

What lens should I get with a Canon 7D for portrait use?

I am getting a Canon 7D in the next week or so - and I am wondering what, in your opinion, would be the better lens for me to get. I've researched for hours and have come to the conclusion that in ...
1
vote
3answers
956 views

What lighting setup is used to get this skin glow effect?

What lighting setup would need to be used to get the glow on the skin as in the sample linked below? Not in photoshop, pantyhose or heavy oils, but the proper lighting? The skin is very well lit, with ...
9
votes
1answer
307 views

What steps do I need to take to deconstruct the lighting of a portrait?

In general, what steps should I take to deconstruct the lighting on a portrait that somebody else took? Are there certain things I should look for that provide visual clues? What can I look for ...
5
votes
1answer
423 views

What is the “crash course” for taking picture of pregnant woman?

My friends are expecting their first baby. They asked me if I could do the shots of their "expectancy". I'm a hobbyist photographer. I mostly enjoy taking shots of landscape and architecture and I'm ...
5
votes
2answers
674 views

How does one best deal with shaded faces in bright sunlight?

When photographing people in bright sunlight, parts of faces are often shaded by hats or by their own contours. This creates highly-contrasted faces, and either a very bright background or very dark ...
16
votes
7answers
787 views

How can I make nice, professional looking corporate portraits?

I have been asked to shoot a couple of portraits at work for a conference brochure. I am a keen amateur but never really shot corporate portraits. I will use a Nikon D40 and the 50mm 1.4G. I am ...
2
votes
4answers
359 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I create a photo with vintage look, focused on the lips?

I would really like to be able to take a photo like the one found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33008672@N06/5750321813/sizes/z/in/photostream/ Can somebody please help me how I should shoot ...
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'?
6
votes
4answers
12k views

Best portrait lens for canon 7d that gives beautiful bokeh?

I tried using the 70-200mm but I couldn't stand how heavy it was and how far away I had to be from the model! Opinions? I was thinking between 85mm 1.2 or 50mm 1.2 ....or another lens? Any help ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I capture a really soft-looking baby portrait?

What techniques/lenses/settings can be used to achieve really soft-looking photographs like this: http://christieadamsphotography.com/blog/?p=2711 I've got an older Canon Rebel XT with a few ...