70-200mm F4 Portrait

Started Apr 16, 2017 | Discussions thread
JimKasson Forum Pro • Posts: 32,117
Re: Portrait peeping?

kelstertx wrote:

Jim wrote:

Sometimes a 135mm FF equivalent works when you're really in tight:


If I were to shoot this immediately-above image with a much longer lens, I would have needed a stepladder to get way up in the air. More, important, I think I would have lost the feeling of intimacy that IMO makes this photograph work.

It seems you could frame that particular shot from any distance back, assuming you had enough zoom to get to the same composition. Would she smile the same way if you were far away? That's another matter. It's a good point about the height/ladder. I face that daily with depositions -- the farther away, the higher I have to raise the tripod to be looking slightly down at the witness and not up their nose. It looks like in this particular shot, you're about at eye level. I don't think there's anything about that angle that would require a ladder if the gap were increased. Admittedly, it's hard to tell if she's looking up at you, or looking level. I think it could be done level if it wasn't, in terms of sheer physics. In fact, I'd totally believe you if you said she was actually looking slightly downward at you. No background to reference.

The violist was looking up at me. I was about 18 inches above her, and a couple of feet further away than the scroll of the instrument. Now maybe I could have gotten close to the same effect by being level with her and having her drop the instrument down, but that's not the way she usually played.

I don't think it's an image that you want to look "flat."

However, I might have an inkling that this was close and taken with a shorter lens though, because the bridge on the instrument appears to be about 2X larger than her mouth. Not ridiculously out of proportion, and not very noticeable since it's not a body part, and it's a great shot, but I suspect if you were further away and zoomed in, the instrument wouldn't appear as big. Would it be as good a shot? Probably not, but there would be less perspective distortion. In this case, I think perspective distortion actually helped accentuate the instrument, which was a good thing.

Thanks for the analysis. I have to admit that I never considered that at the time. I did have much longer lenses available, since I'd been doing performance venue shots with a 200/2 and 400/2.8, and they were in the building where I was doing the on-location controlled lighting shots. I'm not sure I could have gotten close enough with either lens without extension tubes, but maybe I could have. Both of those lenses are really hard to hand hold for any length of time, and I didn't want to use a tripod for this set of shots; I wanted more freedom to be spontaneous. I did use a tripod for both the medium format shots I posted, though. They are more static and formal. The Nikon pictures were more like, "let's try this" or "how about if we do it this way".

I say all this with 20/20 after sight. Had I been there shooting, I'd have just made the shot I thought was good and then noticed it when I got home. There's no way I'd think "that instrument looks big -- I think I'll back up and zoom in more to eliminate perspective distortion" or stepped back and forth deciding how much distortion looked good. I'm SO not that careful with my shots yet.

Thanks for your comments.


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