Portraits with the 45mm f1.8

Started Dec 12, 2013 | Discussions
spatterson
New MemberPosts: 17Gear list
Like?
Portraits with the 45mm f1.8
Dec 12, 2013

Hey guys,

Next week I'm taking some head and shoulders portraits of the board members of the company I work at. They will be used for the usual corporate profile portrait on our website. Ill take the pictures indoors, probably in the board room. The board room external windows have two different shades that can be pulled - 1 is meant to cut natural light out completely and the other shades the light a bit.

I've got the E--M1 and will use the oly 45mm f1.8. Now, a couple of technical Qs (ok, more than a couple).

- Does this lens get wide enough to let sufficient light in so a flash will not be needed? I've only got the flash included in the kit and Im not confident using it.
-  Is auto WB okay? Should I close the shades completely to mitigate another light temperature or is it a better idea to get more light?
- White projector screen a good idea for backdrop?
- Mona-lisa style? Smiling? Teeth showing? Shoulder positing off-square?
- Post-processing to smooth skin a good idea?

I'll be taking some practise shots beforehand so I can get all of my settings dialled in. Don't want to be fiddling around and wasting too much important people's time...!

 spatterson's gear list:spatterson's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ
Jim Salvas
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,084Gear list
Like?
Re: Portraits with the 45mm f1.8
In reply to spatterson, Dec 12, 2013

Your equipment is OK and you should be able to get decent exposures at wide apertures from the light of a single window. The light from the window should be diffuse (as from a clear north sky) as opposed to harsh sunlight.

Shooting along the wall with the window, position your subject to be at the back end of the window (away from you), so that most of the light falls on the face. Having an assistant to hold a piece of white posterboard or foamcore as a reflector will help to cut  dark shadows under the chins and bright the eyes.

A clean background helps, but that might not be necessary with a 45/1.8, which will blur the background nicely.

Posing is a subject all its own, but the main thing is to shoot at eye level and engage your subjects. Get your camera set in advance and don't fiddle with it. Give the subjects your attention and they will engage you, too. Smiles or serious vary by subject. Some people have great natural smiles. Some are Andrew Carnegie. Go with what's best for your subject, or try both.

There are tons of advice pages on the internet for this, some of them contradicting each other. Google "headshot posing."

Shoot a lot. There will be blinks and frozen expressions to throw away.

Practice everything beforehand, including your location and setup. Do it enough to become sure of yourself and you nail it.

Good luck.

-- hide signature --

Jim Salvas

 Jim Salvas's gear list:Jim Salvas's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PM2 Olympus E-M1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT +7 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jim Salvas
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,084Gear list
Like?
Re: Portraits with the 45mm f1.8
In reply to spatterson, Dec 12, 2013

I forgot your questions about flash and room lighting. Don't use either. Just the window light.

-- hide signature --

Jim Salvas

 Jim Salvas's gear list:Jim Salvas's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PM2 Olympus E-M1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT +7 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Paulmorgan
Senior MemberPosts: 2,130
Like?
Re: Portraits with the 45mm f1.8
In reply to spatterson, Dec 12, 2013

spatterson wrote:

Hey guys,

Next week I'm taking some head and shoulders portraits of the board members of the company I work at. They will be used for the usual corporate profile portrait on our website. Ill take the pictures indoors, probably in the board room. The board room external windows have two different shades that can be pulled - 1 is meant to cut natural light out completely and the other shades the light a bit.

I've got the E--M1 and will use the oly 45mm f1.8. Now, a couple of technical Qs (ok, more than a couple).

- Does this lens get wide enough to let sufficient light in so a flash will not be needed? I've only got the flash included in the kit and Im not confident using it.
- Is auto WB okay? Should I close the shades completely to mitigate another light temperature or is it a better idea to get more light?
- White projector screen a good idea for backdrop?
- Mona-lisa style? Smiling? Teeth showing? Shoulder positing off-square?
- Post-processing to smooth skin a good idea?

I'll be taking some practise shots beforehand so I can get all of my settings dialled in. Don't want to be fiddling around and wasting too much important people's time...!

Its a job to say, if it turns out to be a dull dark day the ambient lighting on its own could be pretty crap and if lights are needed in the office this could add even more problem with the wb.

Take the little flash along just in case, and get a little practice in with it, you can adjust the power right down to 1/64 if needed.

I would not recomend going any wider the f2.8 for corporate portraits with that 45mm, if need be raise the ISO.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Paulmorgan
Senior MemberPosts: 2,130
Like?
Re: Portraits with the 45mm f1.8
In reply to spatterson, Dec 12, 2013

Something else, think about the poses as well, this might help.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe3oJnFtA_k

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jasonmon
Forum MemberPosts: 59Gear list
Like?
Re: Portraits with the 45mm f1.8
In reply to spatterson, Dec 12, 2013

I'm working in an agency that does annual reports for corporate companies, so when it comes to broad member photos, I might not have enough experience to shoot one by myself, but I know some stuffs to look out for.

- Does this lens get wide enough to let sufficient light in so a flash will not be needed? I've only got the flash included in the kit and Im not confident using it.

When shooting these kind of corporate portraits, it's better to use a deeper depth of field, like f5.6 so everything will be in focus. When using a shallow depth of field, e.g. f1.8, you might have a chance to miss focus, or eyes in focus, but the ears or other parts might not be in focus.

You don't want your pictures to have lots of noise either, so high ISO is not encouraged.

To settle this problem, with minimum gear you have now, is to use the flash included in the kit, and you can set it to auto or manual exposure in camera settings, then, put a piece of paper to help diffuse the flash light because direct flash will make very harsh light and shadows.

- Is auto WB okay?

For me, Auto WB is fine, but to be safe, shoot RAW + JPG, because it's easier to change the WB colors in RAW file. But if you want consistent colors, it's better to set the WB before the shoot. Do a few test shots. If you're not confident enough, ask someone to help you, be your model, and do some test shots before the photo shoot day.

- White projector screen a good idea for backdrop?

White projector screen is fine as backdrop. Usually designers (like me) prefer a plain backdrop, so that we can path out the board member and change the background later.

- Mona-lisa style? Smiling? Teeth showing? Shoulder positing off-square?

If you're not sure, it's safer to take all of the ones you mentioned. It depends on the person, some people will have a hard time giving you a smile with teeth. To be safe, just shoot few, smiling, with or without teeth, etc. Standing facing front or body slightly facing left or right (body facing slightly sideways makes the model slimmer).

- Post-processing to smooth skin a good idea?

This is not a fashion shoot for magazine. But, the board members would thank you if you slightly remove some of their wrinkles / crow's feet, don't remove them completely, or it'll look too fake.

Some extra tips that I think you might find helpful:

- Use a tripod for your shoot

- Use tape to set markers on the floor on where to stand for the board member

- Don't use wide angle lens, it'll distort the photo. (the 45mm f1.8 is alright for this shoot)

- Charge your camera battery

- Make sure your camera level is positioned correctly (I've seen some photos given by the companies, the photographer shoot from a lower angle because he wants to shoot full body, and it's ugly because shooting from lower angle, you can see the board member's nostrils.)

- Make sure they push out their head slightly, to reduce double chin.

- Find a assistant to help you check is the board member's tie in place, hair, specs, buttons, collars, badges, etc.

- Try to get it right during the shoot, and don't think that, "I can add that in photoshop later." It'll save a lot of your time.

- Do some test shots with a co-worker with you few days before the shoot, so you have more time to practice and see what can be improved.

- Take a few shots of each position. Sometimes they might blink. And the person will probably feel more relaxed after the first shutter.

-- hide signature --

My Speak Art blog.

 Jasonmon's gear list:Jasonmon's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
s_grins
Veteran MemberPosts: 9,071Gear list
Like?
Re: Portraits with the 45mm f1.8
In reply to spatterson, Dec 12, 2013

spatterson wrote:

Hey guys,

Next week I'm taking some head and shoulders portraits of the board members of the company I work at. They will be used for the usual corporate profile portrait on our website. Ill take the pictures indoors, probably in the board room. The board room external windows have two different shades that can be pulled - 1 is meant to cut natural light out completely and the other shades the light a bit.

I've got the E--M1 and will use the oly 45mm f1.8. Now, a couple of technical Qs (ok, more than a couple).

- Does this lens get wide enough to let sufficient light in so a flash will not be needed? I've only got the flash included in the kit and Im not confident using it.
- Is auto WB okay? Should I close the shades completely to mitigate another light temperature or is it a better idea to get more light?
- White projector screen a good idea for backdrop?
- Mona-lisa style? Smiling? Teeth showing? Shoulder positing off-square?
- Post-processing to smooth skin a good idea?

I'll be taking some practise shots beforehand so I can get all of my settings dialled in. Don't want to be fiddling around and wasting too much important people's time...!

1. If you're taking formal portraits, think about background. Sometimes you can find a booth divider wrapped in a gray fabric.

2. If you do not do B/W, you have to use gray card and custom WB (for colors).

3. Do not use camera flash or any kind of flash. It is better to raise ISO. If you can use window light, use it, but it is better to not rely on nature. Run adjacent offices and look for lights you can use (better table lamps with incandescent bulbs).

4. Use tripod and remote shutter release, radio is better.

Stop thinking about shallow DOF - more is better. Think about background.

P.S. Check whether you can use projector screen. Most of them too high and leave area you need open.

-- hide signature --

Looking for equilibrium...

 s_grins's gear list:s_grins's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 OIS Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
zkz5
Contributing MemberPosts: 664Gear list
Like?
better lighting
In reply to spatterson, Dec 12, 2013

spatterson wrote:

- Does this lens get wide enough to let sufficient light in so a flash will not be needed? I've only got the flash included in the kit and Im not confident using it.

So that you can use the typical crappy flourescent office lighting? Sure.

- Is auto WB okay? Should I close the shades completely to mitigate another light temperature or is it a better idea to get more light?

If you're mixing daylight and flourescent, yes, they will have different color temperatures. I would go with the daylight myself.

- White projector screen a good idea for backdrop?

You want a pure white background? The projector screen will end up looking non-uniformly grey. If you increase expsosure until it is white you may end up clipping highlights on the people as well.

- Mona-lisa style? Smiling? Teeth showing? Shoulder positing off-square?
- Post-processing to smooth skin a good idea?

I'll be taking some practise shots beforehand so I can get all of my settings dialled in. Don't want to be fiddling around and wasting too much important people's time...!

I would recommend buying an off camera flash, a light stand, and a diffuser of some sort. You can get all of this for less than what you paid for the 45/1.8 (let alone the E-M1). You'll get better results and have less fiddling once set up.

If you want a pure white background, get a second flash and bounce it off of the projector screen at high enough power to clip to white.

Flash(es) are available which can be triggered by your on-camera flash in various ways. There are also radio triggers available for $50-60 a pair.

Here's an article I like on the subject:

http://blog.mingthein.com/2013/05/16/on-assignment-150-portraits-in-3-days/

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jim Salvas
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,084Gear list
Like?
Re: Portraits with the 45mm f1.8
In reply to s_grins, Dec 12, 2013

Do NOT mix daylight and indoor lights. You will not be able to cope with the white balance problems, unless the indoor lights are truly daylight-balanced. They never are.

DO NOT use the tiny kit flash for anything other than very weak fill. It can't be diffused enough at the source to make a difference at the distance you will be shooting (probably about 10-12 feet with a 90mm-equivalent lens) and if you use it too much, you'll wind up with flat and unflattering results.

DO depend on the Olympus eye focus system. I've seen it work already and it's pretty amazing. It will let you get away with a shallower depth of field.

-- hide signature --

Jim Salvas

 Jim Salvas's gear list:Jim Salvas's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PM2 Olympus E-M1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT +7 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
s_grins
Veteran MemberPosts: 9,071Gear list
Like?
Re: Portraits with the 45mm f1.8
In reply to Jim Salvas, Dec 12, 2013

Jim Salvas wrote:

Do NOT mix daylight and indoor lights. You will not be able to cope with the white balance problems, unless the indoor lights are truly daylight-balanced. They never are.

DO NOT use the tiny kit flash for anything other than very weak fill. It can't be diffused enough at the source to make a difference at the distance you will be shooting (probably about 10-12 feet with a 90mm-equivalent lens) and if you use it too much, you'll wind up with flat and unflattering results.

DO depend on the Olympus eye focus system. I've seen it work already and it's pretty amazing. It will let you get away with a shallower depth of field.

-- hide signature --

Jim Salvas

Jim, I mix daylight with indoor lights. Have a gray card.

-- hide signature --

Looking for equilibrium...

 s_grins's gear list:s_grins's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 OIS Sigma 30mm F2.8 EX DN +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jasonmon
Forum MemberPosts: 59Gear list
Like?
Re: Portraits with the 45mm f1.8
In reply to spatterson, Dec 12, 2013

Sorry, my mistake for telling you to use the flash that came with the kit.

I agree with zkz5 that you should buy external flash and triggers for a better set up.

And thanks to Jim Salvas for pointing out that the tiny flash is not good enough. (I've never used the tiny flash that came with my EM-5, when I need flash, I have my YongNuo 560 II.)

-- hide signature --

My Speak Art blog.

 Jasonmon's gear list:Jasonmon's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ +1 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
John Mason
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,633Gear list
Like?
color in mixed lighting
In reply to spatterson, Dec 12, 2013

Mixed lighting can be a nightmare.
Here's a shot of my grand-daughter with the 45 1.8 and EM1 with about 60 percent indoor fluorescent light with some light coming from a side window through blinds.

What I did to help the color for this shot was I used the Colorchecker passport to create a specific profile for this lighting situation then applied this profile in LR 5.3rc.  If you don't have a colorchecker passport or gray card at least get a good shot of something very white in the same lighting and position as your subjects that you can use in post processing for establishing an accurate white balance.
Particularly with portraits getting the correct wb or even using a custom profile can be key imo.
Anyway - here's a sample of the results of the above workflow with the Colorchecker Passport with LR 5.3rc in a less than ideal lighting situation with the same lens and camera you'll be doing your assignment with.
I'd also recommend shooting raw to give you as much flexibility in post processing just in case you need it.
I love the closest eye face detect for doing people shots with this gear combination.

-- hide signature --
 John Mason's gear list:John Mason's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm 1:4.0 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35mm 1:2.0 SWD Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm F1.4 +5 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Jim Salvas
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,084Gear list
Like?
Re: Portraits with the 45mm f1.8
In reply to s_grins, Dec 12, 2013

Gray cards are not 3-dimensional. With a person standing at a window, the window light will strike one side of the face with something like 6500K and the interior like will hit the other side of the face at around 3000K. Which side gets balanced?

-- hide signature --

Jim Salvas

 Jim Salvas's gear list:Jim Salvas's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PM2 Olympus E-M1 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT +7 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Richard Weisgrau
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,175
Like?
Re: Portraits with the 45mm f1.8
In reply to spatterson, Dec 12, 2013

spatterson wrote:

Next week I'm taking some head and shoulders portraits of the board members of the company I work at. They will be used for the usual corporate profile portrait on our website.

Keep in mind that the photographs you take will be displayed on the the world's view of the company. If the board members don't look good, the company does not look good.

Ill take the pictures indoors, probably in the board room.

Sounds like a good location.

The board room external windows have two different shades that can be pulled - 1 is meant to cut natural light out completely and the other shades the light a bit.

That is very minimal lighting control for portraits.

I've got the E--M1 and will use the oly 45mm f1.8. Now, a couple of technical Qs (ok, more than a couple).

- Does this lens get wide enough to let sufficient light in so a flash will not be needed?

That will depend upon the outdoor light  intensity when the portraits are taken plus the reflectivity of indoor surface, the ISO you select to provide enough shutter speed to eliminate camera shake and subject motion. and the aperture you select to control depth of field and background sharpness. Those are the five elements you have to consider. We cannot do that for you because all are variables that are products of the outdoor light level.

I've only got the flash included in the kit and Im not confident using it.

The one thing you do not want to do is use that inboard flash. It will eliminate any modeling shadows on the face and generally make faces look fatter than they look to the eye.

- Is auto WB okay?

Not really because you will have mixed light sources if you leave the interior lights on. If you turn them off you might be OK depending on the color temperature of the external light and any effect the window glass has on the light. Better to shoot RAW than JPEG so you can set the WB in post processing.

Should I close the shades completely to mitigate another light temperature or is it a better idea to get more light?

It all depends on the light intensity at the time you shoot the portraits.

- White projector screen a good idea for backdrop?

NO. It is likely to be reflective, in which case it might be a good fill light reflector but a bad background.

- Mona-lisa style? Smiling? Teeth showing? Shoulder positing off-square?

See my sample photo below for a classic head and shoulders portrait.

- Post-processing to smooth skin a good idea?

Yes, and retouch the bags under peoples eyes, blemishes, etc.

I'll be taking some practise shots beforehand so I can get all of my settings dialled in. Don't want to be fiddling around and wasting too much important people's time...!

Problem with that is if the light changes while you are shooting. One cloud moving in on a bright day can really make a big difference. Hope for a bright overcast day or get some flood lights.

Here is one of 40 portraits I took in one 6 hour day for a website of a real estate company. It is basic and so it works for most uses.

-- hide signature --

Richard Weisgrau
www.drawnwithlight.com
www.show-my-house.com

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
phazelag
Senior MemberPosts: 2,761Gear list
Like?
Over complicating it for you.
In reply to spatterson, Dec 12, 2013

Spatterson,

All the advice above is good, but considering you seem to be new at this your head may be spinning right now.  I dont know your experience so I will assume you dont know anything.

If you can find anyone who will be willing to let you practice on them in that setting at the time you will be doing it a few days before.   You dont want to have to do a redo with the board.  Take some shots and get your settings dialed and look at your photos at home and you may want to have a second practice for things you didnt notice.  Test the lighting but I am guessing open up the shades and have them face the window straight on (no time for shadows).  More light will look better than fluorescent.

Dont use the projector screen.  You need a darker background.  Wall panels, books, door, anything is better than white.  If you use anything other than spot metering in any auto mode the white will throw off your camera.  If you use a book case you can blur it a little with f2.8 to 3.5 depending on the distance.

The tripod could be a good idea, but I do all of my portraits hand held even with natural light, I have more freedom to adapt handheld and your camera has the ability to do it.   You can get a shutter speed that will allow a sharp shot.  Yes you can open up that lens wide to let light in, but you risk getting parts of your subjects out of focus, especially eyes.  So be careful and look at your shots and triple check eye focus.

My advice would be to shoot in .Raw, Auto White Balance (unless you really know how to use custom WB).  I would start with Spot Metering (which will meter on your focus point on their face), and use Shutter Priority Mode with a shutter at 1/125 and bump your iso up until you get to an aperture that safely gets them all in focus and sharp everywhere.  I am guessing f3.5 minimum but I usually do corporate portraits with that lens at f5.6 or so.  But being that you don't have light or back drop you can come down to 2.8 but I wouldn't go shallower than that unless your totally confident with focus.  Even if you have to go to ISO 1600, sharper is better than out of focus or blurry.

I would suggest a portrait scene mode but I don't know the EM-1 and my G5 will go straight to f1.8 and risk eyes out of focus.

So find your settings and then convert them to manual mode unless your light changes.  I am going to post a photo I took with this lens at f1.8 that I like, but one eye is not completely sharp even with a direct look.  But I am posting, because I shot in my dark garage with only a small manfrotto LED light $49.  But for a corporate shot you would need a much bigger light with a tighter aperture.  You can get day light balanced LED flash lights for $20 that will help alot.  You will need an assistant though.

So yes I just made your head spin more, but please go practice look at your photos at home and do it again.  PM me with questions I respond quickly.  Or find a local mentor photographer to help you.  This is your job, do this right!

F1.8 even with focus point on her eye the top eye is not sharp.  I corrected in lightroom, but not great.  I say f2.8 minimum unless your better at managing DOF under pressure.

I took the LED off and hand held to her upper right.

A corporate shot I did with my canon 50mm at f5.6  The Exif is wrong on the shutter, I always do these at 1/125 when I have strobes.  You can get a strobe kit or Continuous lights with soft boxes for around $200-$400 on ebay.

www.scottzinda.com
http://instagram.com/phazelag

 phazelag's gear list:phazelag's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LF1 Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 III Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 Olympus E-M1 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads