‘Find a location with good light for a portrait shot. Place your subject some distance in
front of a simple background and select a wide aperture together with a moderately
long focal length such as 100mm on a 35mm full-frame camera (about 65mm on a
cropped-frame camera). Take a viewpoint about one and a half metres from your
subject, allowing you to compose a headshot comfortably within the frame. Focus
on the eyes and take the shot.’
‘Longer focal lengths appear to compress space, giving a shallower depth of
acceptable sharpness, which is known as depth of field. This makes a short or medium
telephoto lens perfect for portraiture: the slight compression of the features appears
attractive while the shallow depth of field adds intensity to the eyes and ‘lifts’ the
subject from the background.’
I didn’t have a model to pose for me, so this is a self portrait.
I was able to achieve the framing and focus by using a nice little app on my phone called Canon Camera Connect. This hooks up to my camera via Wi-Fi and, among other things, allows me to use the phone as a remote viewfinder, and take control of the camera from a distance.
Using a 50mm prime lens, at f1.8, and with me standing about a metre and a half from the camera, the background blurs out very nicely.
The framing of this shot may not be exactly what was asked for, as the top of my head goes out of the top of the frame. I’m unsure how this is viewed in terms of photographic conventions, but I used this framing largely out of habit, as it’s pretty much standard when shooting vlog style YouTube videos.
Personally, I prefer this kind of framing, as it feels more… in the moment, and less artificially posed.
The light is coming from behind me, but just enough to one side to make shooting from this angle workable. I took several other shots, some without the empty space on the upper left of the shot, and this one seemed to work the best.
The moody, ‘thoughtful’ look is pretty much standard me. People assume I’m in a bad mood, but that’s just how I look when I’m not smiling. “Cheers up” people say. Grr.
Okay, I felt the need to try some shots with the required framing, so went back out into the garden. (It’s freezing out there!)
I don’t think the auto-focus is fixing on my eyes, which is a pity. It wouldn’t be a problem if shooting a model, as I’d just switch over to manual focus, but when doing self portraits like this… I don’t know. Must see if it will respond to touch screen commands to tell it where to focus.
Hey would you look at that! I almost cracked a smile 😉
The depth of field is very shallow, as I was standing a little closer to the camera for this shot, and even though my eyes aren’t quite in perfect focus, I do like the overall effect.
The lighting is different too, as it was later in the afternoon, though I’m not certain I’d say it’s better. Just different.