Photographing a Person: A test of focal lengths

Started Apr 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
plevyadophy Veteran Member • Posts: 4,258
Re: OK, So which one is it then??? Re: Photographing a Person: A test of focal lengths
richj20 wrote:

plevyadophy wrote:

Thanks for this comparision.

But which one is it; which is the shot that is an accurate representation of what this guy looks like?

Except for the first two, I don't see much difference. (the first two, because of the close camera-to-subject distance; I'll refer back to this in my next post)

As evidenced in this thread, many have very critical eyes and do point out differences!

- Richard

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"Careful photographers run their own tests." - Fred Picker

Yes indeed, I for one can see differences in all of them. Once you get to the 25mm lens the differences get harder to spot but they are definitely there so much so that I think one can make recommendations on what focal length to use according to what one wants to achieve with the portrait.

Based on your images and links posted by others I would say as follows:

200 to 350mm-e ("e" = 35mm full frame equivalent) to fatten and flatten face. This would be good for shooting someone with a thin face so as to give them a fuller look and for an upper body shot of a a thin woman with small boobs who wanted the impression of a slightly fuller bust.

100mm-e  for neutral portrait (and the focal range between 85 to 120mm-e seems to be a good area to be working in)

70mm-e  seems to me to sit at the border between distortion and neutrality, with a slight erring on the side of distortion. This might be best used on someone with fuller proportions who you wanted to thin down a bit.

50mm-e offers moderate distortion and at this focal length and lower one would need to start thinking about shooting sideways portraits to hide some of the distortion.

35mm-e (up to and including) I generally find unacceptable.



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