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.

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