Lenses for photographing people...

Started Apr 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
Lindsay D Contributing Member • Posts: 587
Re: Lenses for photographing people...

There are a number of factors which govern the suitability of lenses for people photography. For example, how much working distance we might have, whether we intend to capture a headshot or a photograph of a group of people, how much light is at our disposal, what the background looks like, and so forth. I've been a professional portrait photographer for a number of years, recently adopting the OMD for most of my assignments. Historically I have almost always used a Canon DSLR and the 70-200 f2.8 IS lens, a massively heavy beast but absolutely ideal for how I work. So there is also an element of personal preference and personal style. I tend to favour longer focal lengths since they are more flattering to the subject and are useful for compressing perspective and are good for "losing" or minimising untidy backgrounds which I will often encounter on location. I normally have sufficient room to move around, since I am usually outside. Moving indoors I would tend to swap to the Canon 24-70 f2.8, but for the tighter shorts I would always favour the longer lens.

So in Micro 4/3 terms I will now spend most of my working life using the 35-100 f2.8 which I think is spectacular for environmental portraiture. When I need a wider view when I have less space then the 12-35 would be ideal - I don't own that one as yet so instead (presuming my subjects are controllable) I will tend to grab my Fuji X100 which has approximately a 35mm field of view.

Examples of the usage of both are here: http://lindsaydobsonphotography.com/blog/location-portraits-hampshire/

If I have time to swap lenses (or I'm in dim light) then I will also use the PL25 f1.4 and the 45 f1.8 - but my overwhelming preference will always be for the longer zooms because I tend to move around a lot and reframe quite a lot, as I will normally shoot concepts and storyboards.

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