Do you have a favorite subject distance?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
FingerPainter Forum Pro • Posts: 10,090
It depends on the subject

stevet1 wrote:

How far away from whatever you are taking a picture of, do you feel most comfortable?

Well, if I am taking a portrait of a typical adult human, my favourite distance is 3-4m. If the subject has a flat face and small features, I'd usually get closer. If they have a narrow face with large features, I'd usually want to be farther away. The above presumes I am trying to flatter the subject (which I usually am).

If I was photographing a child, I'd usually want to be a bit closer (if I didn't mind them reacting to the camera) or somewhat further away (if I wanted to take a candid shot). I don't understand people who think subject distance is unimportant for portraiture. It is one of the more important factors (after lighting) under the control of the photographer.

If I am photographing wildlife, my favourite distance is usually as close as I can get to the subject without altering its behaviour or putting myself in danger.

If I am photographing field sports, my favourite distance is about half a metre more than the distance from the edge of the field to the subject.

I don't have a favourite distance for landscapes.

Does the answer to that question factor in to determining what lens you normally turn to?

For portraiture, absolutely. Ideally, the choice of focal length is subordinated to choice of subject distance and desired framing.

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