Friday, 29 May 2009

Exercise 7: Focal Length and Character

Now I moved onto the focal length project. I was using my Canon 24-105 IS L lens (on a 5d MKII, a full frame camera, so no crop factor is applied), so I took three shots, one at 24mm one at roughly 70mm, and one at 105mm. I decided to do full body shots, otherwise I would have been extremely close to Emma on the wide end of the lens:

This is the shot at 24mm, it has exagerated features that are close to the lens, such as Emma's legs. In this pose it doesn't work so well, is not particularly flattering, but if I was trying to emphasise the height of a model, shooting from low with a wide angle lens with really accentuate a models legs, and could be used to great affect. It also shows a lot of the background and Emma's surroundings, so would work well for showing the environment as well in a portrait. It also requires a fairly close working distance between photographer and subject, making it uncomfortable for the subject, often showing up in the photographs with slightly awkward poses.

This is the shot at 70mm. It is flattering, gives a very natural perspective on Emma, and Emma's features are very much true to life. This is very much a good focal length for a general portrai, giving very much a true to life view, if not slightly giving a flattening effect to the image. It also gives a good working distance between photographer and subject, not being too far apart, but far enough that it is easy for the subject to relax into a pose.

This was shot at 105mm, and it is a lovely focal length for a portrait. It has a flattening effect on the image, so all the features of the face are very appealing to the eye (no exagerating nose sizes like the wide angle does). It also gives a narrow field of view behind the sitter, so if there is a small area of attractive background (as there is here), it can really help make that part of the portrait. Overall this is my favourite focal length, because of the flattening effect it provides, though I would probably use it more for head and shoulders portraits because of the distance between the subject and the photographer require for a full body portrait is rather large.

Exercise 6: The best of a sequence

So I continued with my same model for this project (thanks Emma!) As I moved onto best of a sequence. I continued with a location I had used before, the back of my garage, as this also gave something for Emma to lean against whilst posing, making it easier for both of us. Below is a sample of some of the shots from the series I took:

This is at the end of the series. At the time I generally felt the expressions got better as the session went on, as Emma relaxed into it better, got the general idea I was after better too, and so did the poses. There were the odd anomaly where I caught Emma mid expression change, but generally those were my feelings. I chose to stop shooting with this last shot, because I felt I had acheived the best shot I was going to from the session with the last shot, and felt that it was best to finish on a high.

I have already sorted the images above, and already scraped the "not good" rated images (about 8 in total, mainly capturing with blinking eyes, or mid expression change). From above there are about 5 acceptable images, 6 good images, and the single best image being the last one shown, and shown larger below:

I felt this was the best image, as Emma had truely relaxed into the shoot at this stage, she is looking at the camera, with a lovely smile on her face, and her eyes are fairly wide drawing the viewer into the picture. Her pose is also very good, it is very relaxed, and aesthetically pleasing. Overall I think it is a very good result to obtain from the sequence of pictures.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Exercise 5: Eye-contact and expression

I moved onto exercise 5 and this time I got my friend and fellow photographer Emma to pose for me ( This time I was looking at eye contact within a photograph.

The first photography has direct eye contact with the camera. This gives a very personal feeling to the photograph, and combined with the very warm smile in this image, gives a very friendly, welcoming feel to the photograph

This next picture had emma looking up and slightly away from the camera. In my opinion I do not think this photograph works as well because it is slightly unflattering, with a lot of the neck on show, and the eyes are slightly less prominant in the picture, removing the personal connection.
Now side on is far more flattering, still looking slightly up, but the facial features are well presented, with the nose not breaking the cheek line. It gives a very classical feel to the image as well, and is less personal. It gives more of a feeling of capturing a moment in time rather than a posed portrait as well

Probably my favourite of the four photos, this one is looking to the side, but not up, instead looking straight. It again gives that classic, less personal feel to the picture, and the facial features are flattened slightly by the angle. I personally like a mix of images of straight on, looking at the camera, and turned away, looking away from the camera. Both have different feels, and both are images that work. Looking away from the camera needs to be controlled more carefully, for example the nose not breaking the cheekline, as this can look rather odd, but both posed right are portraits that I like.