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

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34
votes
11answers
11k views

Which focal-length lens is usually used for portrait photography, and why?

What focal length or range of focal lengths are usually used for portraits? What is used by professionals? Why would one select a certain focal length? What are the advantages and disadvantages of ...
18
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it worth it to have the 50mm f/1.8 Canon lens?

Is it really useful to have a fast prime lens for portrait photography, considering a low budget? If it is, what about the Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II? I have an entry level 18-55mm lens and a Canon 20D. ...
60
votes
10answers
4k views

How can I get my portrait subjects to look natural and drop the cheesy smile?

I am surprised by how many people automatically put on a cheesy smile when I point a camera in their direction. How can I encourage them to act more naturally, and what can I do to get better, more ...
28
votes
4answers
1k views

Tips for photographing a wedding

I guess this comes up for most of us that are known by friends as "the photographer"... I've been asked to be the official photographer at a wedding. I think I have the equipment sorted. I have my ...
17
votes
5answers
5k views

What equipment is required for a home studio?

I'd like to convert a room downstairs into a home studio to do mostly portrait/fashion/pet photography. I have a few strobes, softboxes, and stands, but that's it. What are the bare basics needed to ...
20
votes
6answers
1k views

How do I manage good photos of babies and kids?

Apart from the strain they create by not sitting in one place while in photo shoot, kids do make nice subjects for pictures. I have been trying various scenes, props, etc., to get the best out of my ...
19
votes
5answers
4k views

How do I set up a home portrait studio area in zero space?

I live in a small urban apartment with my wife, two children, two cats, a goat, and a flock of chickens. Or, at least it feels like that sometimes. I'd like to set up an area for basic portrait ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Why buy an intentionally soft lens?

While reading some reviews of older lenses, I keep reading "It's soft wide open, but that's not always a problem with portraits." Over my rather short time in photography thus far, I've come to ...
21
votes
14answers
24k views

What do I need to get photos with a unifom black background (not with post)?

Often i see portraits such as the one below and like the way they look. I wanted to know can I get this look in my shots. I am sure there are professional materials you can get to outfit a studio ...
19
votes
7answers
27k views

How much should an amateur charge for a portrait session?

I am fairly new to photography and have done a few high-school senior sessions of friends here and there. I have been getting more and more requests to photograph families, seniors, etc. and am ...
8
votes
3answers
13k 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?
13
votes
7answers
23k views

Should I use a 100mm Macro lens as a portrait lens?

I am specifically considering using the Canon 100mm Macro as a portrait lens. If I want to have a macro in my bag, but not carry around a 70-200 2.8 due to weight, size, white color, or price if it ...
10
votes
6answers
4k views

What is a good Canon lens to take portraits?

I have a Canon T2I, and also a good prime lens (50mm / f1.8) but I cannot seem to take close up portraits like I see in magazines. Do I need a better lens?
7
votes
6answers
5k views

What aperture should I use to photograph people and why?

What f/# do you use to photograph people, and why? I know this varies from shot to shot. Let's suppose that you are photographing either a single person or a couple, that it it outside on a somewhat ...
119
votes
7answers
22k views

What are the best techniques for photographing overweight people?

I'm not the most lean person on the planet, and many pictures seem to really point this out. While I wish I was simply in better shape, it is simply not the case for me or unfortunately, many ...
16
votes
7answers
922 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
694 views

What features would cause a portrait photographer to choose a DSLR over Mirrorless?

With the new line of mirrorless cameras being announced this fall, the gap between DSLR and mirrorless cameras continue to close. There are many generic discussions comparing the two, but as a ...
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 ...
22
votes
4answers
4k views

Tips for taking headshot self-portraits?

I need to do some headshots of myself for a gig I have coming up. My initial thought was to use a plain light background (as you see in many studio shots), but I've had some advice to use a dark ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Pros and cons of cheap studio strobes vs. hotshoe/speedlight flash for portraits?

Not so long ago, AC-powered studio lights were the only option for serious studio photography, and low-cost starter sets like this Two Monolight Portrait Studio Kit¹ were a fixture in every ...
17
votes
12answers
8k views

What is the best Canon lens (around $500) for taking pictures of my newborn?

I have a Canon T2i, a 50mm f/1.8 and the kit lens (18-55mm). I'm considering buying a new lens for more flexibility with taking pictures of my upcoming newborn. I LOVE the 50mm/1.8 lens, but on the ...
11
votes
4answers
17k views

How do I take a good portrait for a CV or resume?

I would like to do a photo for my CV, and I was wondering of what I can do to make it look the best. What are the important aspects to keep in mind? Specifically: Focal length Lighting Background ...
17
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
12k views

What's the difference between a regular lens and a macro lens? [duplicate]

What is the difference between a 100mm lens and 100mm macro, or 50mm and 50mm macro? Can we use a macro lens to shot portraits? If yes, what focal length is the best? Please suggest a Canon macro ...
12
votes
5answers
4k views

What is a portrait lens?

I hear this term used pretty often. Does it refer to a specific focal length? Or very low F-number? What does a lens need to have in order to be considered "portrait lens"?
6
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the best techinque to smooth skin?

I am toning a senior portrait right now and am wondering what the best skin smoothing technique is. Think glamor. I know how to take care of blemishes, but I'm looking to enhance that silky skin look. ...
4
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

What goes into making smooth, crisp, fashion magazine worthy shots?

I bought an SLR, a Nikon D70, several years ago with the intension of eventually reproducing the smooth but crisp effect I had seen from my favorite portrait shots like this one from Declan McCullagh: ...
14
votes
3answers
6k views

What are the different kind of light modifiers and their uses?

Particularly with an emphasis on studio setups and portraits, what are the different kind of light modifiers (softboxes, umbrellas, etc) and what are they used for? For bonus points, what kinds of ...
24
votes
4answers
4k views

In portrait photography, what is a “catchlight”?

In portrait photography, what is a "catch light"? Is it good or bad? How do I produce or avoid them? Are some kinds better than others?
24
votes
4answers
1k views

When doing portraits, how to get serious insightful expressions?

Professional models know how to produce such expression at photographer command, normal people don't. Still good photographer are able to get it from famous actors/politicians/sportsmen. I've been ...
14
votes
3answers
793 views

How to light spontaneous portraits?

I currently am in Singapore for an exchange year. The architecture here is impressive, the lights at night are wonderful, but what I find to be the most interesting are the people. You can find people ...
14
votes
1answer
11k views

What is split portrait lighting?

Ok, so I got interested enough in the other lighting setups, what is split portrait lighting and when is it appropriate to use?
9
votes
1answer
326 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the 5 basic lighting setups used in studio portrait photography?

In this great answer, the person explains “one of the 5 basic lighting setups used in studio portrait photography”—Rembrandt lighting. What are the other four? Where should they be used? What are ...
28
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a trick to shooting large group portraits without blinkers?

When shooting large group portraits, is there a trick to getting everyone to not blink (other than taking many shots)?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I photograph a wedding in the rain?

I've shot weddings before, but being in Minnesota they almost always have an indoor venue available due to the long cold winters that we have. I am coming up on a wedding that I will likely be ...
5
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
12k views

How do I get a really black background? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What do I need to get photos with a unifom black background (not with post)? How can I get a pure black background when taking portraits, just like in following picture? ...
8
votes
3answers
469 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
919 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
445 views

How can I best take portraits in strong sunlight, without a flash or reflector?

When on the road as a tourist, I often do not carry a reflector of flash. Now I am at a location with very strong sunlight and I want to take a photo of a companion in front of a nice scenery or ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Is AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G lens good for both macro and portrait photography?

I'm thinking of buying a macro lens am considering the Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR. Is this lens really good for portraits? Where can I find sample pictures taken with this lens? Is ...
3
votes
3answers
179 views

What's the succinct reason for face-warping in wide angle lenses?

Is there an accurate way of explaining face-warping when using wide angle lenses? I realised I can't actually explain it without diagrams, so a succinct definition (no more than a few lines) would be ...
0
votes
2answers
148 views

Is the Nikon 55-300mm a good choice for indoor and outdoor portraits?

I have the most basic model of Nikon DSLR, the Nikon D3200, with the 18-55 kit lens. I'm thinking of buying the Nikon 55-300mm lens, mainly for its zoom purpose. Is it a good lens? Can I take portrait ...
44
votes
6answers
29k 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 ...
60
votes
6answers
13k views

How to make female chest look bigger?

When photographing women they often want the chest to appear as big as possible. I tried with light coming from different positions but was not satisfied with the results. Are there any tricks to ...