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Thread: Portrait taking help needed!

  1. #21

    Default Re: Portrait taking help needed!

    Listener,

    Listen directly from the horse's mouth will answer your questions!

    If you click on Bananadiver's Flickr : http://www.flickr.com/photos/banana_...7622501203800/

    You will read about his approach in photography. He probably did the above shot with a 50mm unlike the guess of a 85mm or something tele. Good close-up street portraits of strangers using 50mm or 35mm/28mm wide angles are commonly done. Just do a check on Flickr. To do good shots like this, 1st is you must have a genuine interest in people. Then you communicate with them to share your sincere concern and ask for permission to photograph them at close distance.

    Regarding nice bokeh or lousy bokeh, NOTHING beats a good close-up of a subject with eye contact and emotion-evoking expression. It's never about the best lenses but it's about your approach.

    Sigma 30/1.4 is 48mm on your 500D, you are right. And that's like a 50mm standard. It's closest focusing distance is 40cm which is actually very close. Most standard 50mm lenses' minimum focusing distance are between 45cm-50cm for SLRs and 70-80cm for Rangefinders. Read here: http://www.kenrockwell.com/sigma/30mm-f14.htm You can already shoot close-up of a cup on a table with your 40cm closest distance. Macro is altogether for a different purpose: extreme close-up on minute subjects like insects.

    I see totally NO ISSUE on your combination of 500D and Sigma 30/1.4 to achieve a similar shot like bananadiver's.

    "Sweet spot" usually refers to the optimal sharpness of a lens at a particular aperture. If you read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aperture , you will also read this: "There is accordingly a sweet spot, generally in the f/4 f/8 range, depending on camera, where sharpness is optimal, though some lenses are designed to perform optimally when wide open. How significant this is varies between lenses, and opinions differ on how much practical impact this has."

    So, in actual fact, when it comes to portraits, most people actually like it soft at the corners, even vignette with black corners, shooting wide open to totally blur out the background, and achieve just the subject's eyes and face sharp. It is subjective to individual's style. It's NOT just the bokeh, the lens or the camera, BUT the photographer's communication with the subject and his approach.

    As to using flash, I would suggest you learn from the basics of judging natural light source: the Sun, also constant light sources like lamps, torch lights, etc... BEFORE learning about flash which you can't predict well where the shadows fall. Learning about lighting is learning about shadows.

    As to achieving contrast, a lot has to do with lighting: the way your subject is lit. The type of film used/the post-processing in computer also will add or reduce contrast.

    Lastly, to really learn the right stuff, these are good resources which I have pointed out:
    http://www.flickr.com
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/index.htm

    MUST READ is : http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech.htm

    Cheers!

  2. #22

    Default Re: Portrait taking help needed!

    Another CSer (Toonz) has done like portraits with a 50/1.8, so its not unique to a 85mm.
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showt...=615877&page=4
    Any short telephoto, focused near with a fast enough aperture and sufficient bkgnd distance should work.

  3. #23
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Portrait taking help needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by listener View Post
    yes i understand what u'll mean by shooting at a smaller aperture (higher F stop) to get more things in focus. but at f1.4 even the spot where u focus on, the details cannot be seen as sharp as the photo i posted as an example. Even at f2.8, I don't think the sigma 30mm can capture such sharp details.

    hmm yes ovaltine i understand with good lighting can bring out better details but flash photography... haven't start experimenting yet maybe in months to come .. hehe.
    What's the shutter speed when you shot the pic of your grandma?

    One thing, most large aperture lenses, the sharpest is not at max aperture. It is slightly stopped down you get the details.

    Also in BananaDiver's pic, the ambient light looks like a spot light shining down, so it creates lots of shadows on the wrinkled face of the subject, creating more contrast. And Looking at the bokeh, I do not think bananaDiver's pic is shot at max aperture.

    And there is the matter of PP. Contrast can be added in PP, and B&W conversion can also add a lot of contrast. It is a style choice.
    Last edited by daredevil123; 23rd June 2010 at 07:41 PM.

  4. #24
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Portrait taking help needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by chua beng View Post
    Lastly, to really learn the right stuff, these are good resources which I have pointed out:
    http://www.flickr.com
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/index.htm

    MUST READ is : http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech.htm

    Cheers!
    Great points!

    But I would take KRW ramblings with a (big) pinch of salt. Learn what is useful, discard what you think is rubbish.

  5. #25

    Default Re: Portrait taking help needed!

    hi guys thanks for all ur inputs. have started to read up more instead of just thinking of equipment but i feel maybe i made a wrong choice buying a Sigma 30 f1.4 since its sharpness at the borders is weaker compared to many similar range lenses like the 35mm f2. and i may not need such a huge aperture after all altho the bokeh is damn fantastic. maybe 35mm f2 more suitable for my case? hmm.

    yes BananaDiver bro was shooting with ambient light with D700 + 24-70mm L at f2.8 (wide open). not sure if he did PP to increase contrast to bring out the details tho! i also tried playing around in B/W the levels in Photoshop and it brings out alot of details but still hoping to get it just by equipment alone instead of messing arnd in PS..

  6. #26
    Moderator daredevil123's Avatar
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    Default Re: Portrait taking help needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by listener View Post
    hi guys thanks for all ur inputs. have started to read up more instead of just thinking of equipment but i feel maybe i made a wrong choice buying a Sigma 30 f1.4 since its sharpness at the borders is weaker compared to many similar range lenses like the 35mm f2. and i may not need such a huge aperture after all altho the bokeh is damn fantastic. maybe 35mm f2 more suitable for my case? hmm.

    yes BananaDiver bro was shooting with ambient light with D700 + 24-70mm L at f2.8 (wide open). not sure if he did PP to increase contrast to bring out the details tho! i also tried playing around in B/W the levels in Photoshop and it brings out alot of details but still hoping to get it just by equipment alone instead of messing arnd in PS..
    PS is part of digital photography. It is akin to the photographer spending hours and days in the darkroom messing around with negatives, photopaper, chemicals and what-have-you. And read this too:

    http://www.bwvision.com/photography-...e-part-1-of-2/

  7. #27
    Senior Member ovaltinemilo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Portrait taking help needed!

    Quote Originally Posted by listener View Post
    hi guys thanks for all ur inputs. have started to read up more instead of just thinking of equipment but i feel maybe i made a wrong choice buying a Sigma 30 f1.4 since its sharpness at the borders is weaker compared to many similar range lenses like the 35mm f2. and i may not need such a huge aperture after all altho the bokeh is damn fantastic. maybe 35mm f2 more suitable for my case? hmm.

    yes BananaDiver bro was shooting with ambient light with D700 + 24-70mm L at f2.8 (wide open). not sure if he did PP to increase contrast to bring out the details tho! i also tried playing around in B/W the levels in Photoshop and it brings out alot of details but still hoping to get it just by equipment alone instead of messing arnd in PS..
    continue to shoot portrait with that lens until you fully understand what it can/cannot do before you plunge for another lens-35mm f2. If you really wana shoot at ambient indoor all the time, I hope you read/study your light correctly. Any good lens used in a very dim/lousy lighting would still not give you max details of your subject.. Corner sharpness is not as good but tt's usual practice not to shoot the person's face close to the border.

    don't keep thinking it's your equipment that don't work. And do read up how does a photo gets processed in your camera. Maybe you would have another perspective for post process. The best advice: Keep Trying.
    Last edited by ovaltinemilo; 24th June 2010 at 09:18 AM.
    ...:::..::.Nikon.::.:::..
    RGB Metering & Focusing.

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