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Lenses and Lighting That Will Make Your Portrait Photography a Success — No Matter What Subject

October 11, 2018 10:00 am

Portrait photography doesn’t have to be difficult. By following the tips below, you can experience the success that comes from knowing the details that make a difference between a mediocre result and one that is worthy of a frame.

Use the right lens

If you ask any professional photographer what the most important detail of their camera setup is, chances are they’ll say it’s their lenses. A lens adds versatility to any camera. Choosing the right one can give you superstar results that you might not otherwise be able to accomplish.

  • 50mm lens: This is the lens to choose if you want to take a portrait that includes the subject’s entire body or if you want to take the picture from waist level — both outdoors and in the studio. You also can be fairly close to your subject if you use a 50mm lens and not be concerned about distortion.
  • 85mm lens: If you’re looking for a versatile lens that you can use for shooting everything from waist level, head-and-shoulders, and full-length portraits, this is the one for you. In the studio, the 85mm lens provides you with the ability to shoot head-and-shoulder shots as well as above-the-knee. When it comes to shooting headshots, though, you’ll need to be careful as distortion can easily occur.
  • 135mm lens: This is another versatile lens that makes it possible for you to stand as close or as far away as you want or need to get the desired shot outside. For full-length shots of your model, this lens is hard to beat. The same can’t be said about using a 135mm lens in the studio, though. There, this lens is best used for headshots as well as head-and-shoulder portraits.

Add Lighting

Choosing the right lighting technique brings your portraits out of the realm of amateurs and into the professional plane. The techniques outlined below aren’t the only ones available, but they do give you an idea of just how important lighting is to the success of your portrait.

  • Catchlight: This is a necessary element of any portrait so that your subject looks vibrant and alive. It occurs when the subject’s eyes have a reflection of the light that you used. While most people can’t tell what kind of light that is unless the picture is blown up, its absence makes the eyes lifeless and dead.
  • Split lighting: Using this technique splits your subject’s face into equal halves with one being in shadow and the other in the light. Split lighting tends to be used to create a dramatic effect. To achieve this effect, position your light source 90 degrees to the right or left of your subject. Another possible light placement is behind the head. It’s best if you play around with the exact placement until you get the desired effect.

Once you’ve shot your portraits, bring them to Baboo Digital for expert printing that will bring out the best in your subject. Our knowledgeable staff can help you choose the right paper, finishes and more for your portraits.