Photography News 90 Newsletter


What kit do I need?

Cameras for people pictures

Any camera can shoot portraits, but certain functions on recent models have made things easier. These include subject recognition autofocus, silent shooting, and improved noise performance at high ISOs. You might think that face- and eye-detection modes aren’t vital for portraiture – people have been shooting great portraits for years without them – and you’d be right. But you’d be ignoring the benefits, too. Face and eye AF let you work more freely and frame from more interesting angles, for instance at overhead

height or waist level, knowing the camera can do its job of picking out the subject. As for silent shooting using an electronic shutter (although most do not sync with flash), this will free you up to work in more sensitive situations, like wedding ceremonies or candid moments. It also really helps when dealing with a subject who is camera shy, as they won’t contort their features quite as much. Finally, being able

Tips for traditional and formal portraits

to work at higher ISO settings and still get

We could fill a book with portrait tips, but there are general things to look out for. Formal portraits are posed and more likely to use artificial light – so consider lighting equipment, hiring studio space, and making the most of accessories, like backgrounds and other props. Again, if you can develop a distinctive look, for instance using a particular

lighting set-up, all the better. Work on lighting and posing skills, identifying the most flattering ways to set up and shoot. It’s worth considering teaming up with a makeup artist or stylist as part of a portrait package. Think about a day of sessions, offering clients one-hour shoots at a set fee, with a range of picture packages to follow.

clean, noise-free images allows you to create much more readily in low light.

Picking portrait lenses

When you’re serious about taking better portraits, it’s time to think about dedicated portrait lenses. Sure,

sensors, that changes to around 50mm to 90mm or 35mm to 70mm, respectively. These optics should not only give an undistorted view, but keep you close enough to connect with your subject. Remember that while zoom lenses allow more versatility in framing, they won’t have the very fast maximum apertures that portrait photographers often favour. That said, a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens offers great options for weddings and lifestyle. Primes, while faster, leave you stuck with specific framing – if you’re going down that route, maybe use two bodies: one with a 50mm f/1.4 lens and another with a 135mm f/1.8, for changing from loose to tight framing.

good people pictures are possible on any lens, but certain optics give a look that’s more flattering. Your lens should suit the way you shoot, but for most purposes portrait photographers need lenses with distortion-free rendering of the subject, especially when focusing up close to them. You will want a maximum aperture fast enough to blur out any distractions in the background. On full-frame bodies, portrait lenses tend to be around 70mm to 135mm in focal length, while on cameras with APS-C or Micro Four Thirds-type

Or go down the environmental route and produce more character-driven images, focusing on the subject’s work or hobbies. Here, you’re likely to be creating in their space, so try to concentrate on their tools or surroundings, as much as themselves. Either way, this more free-form approach offers lots of challenges, as well as opportunities. You’re not restricted by the confines of a studio and can use the environment more creatively, but shoots will likely be dependent on the weather and at the mercy of the light on any given day. To make it easier, find places local to you that offer reliable and picturesque backgrounds, and where you’ll be able to work without interruption. Hone your location- shooting skills and look for kit that’s more appropriate. This includes fast lenses, reflectors and location flash.

How to win at weddings

Weddings are big business, and with the world reopening and delayed nuptials piling up, there’s a lot of work around. As a keen photographer, you may have photographed loved ones’ events, but if you’re taking it on professionally, there’s plenty to consider. First, you’ll want your technique to be on point. Weddings are not a place to learn new camera skills, and though the

experience can be creative, it’s just as much about covering bases and making sure your clients get everything they want, as it is expressing yourself. The biggest challenges with wedding photography are away from day itself. Get adequate insurance and give lots of thought to marketing, visiting wedding fairs to show off your shots, and building a bespoke website.

Issue 90 | Photography News 15

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