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Thread: A few, limited observations on traditional portrait perspective for the newcomer

  1. #11

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    Re: A few, limited observations on traditional portrait perspective for the newcomer

    Canon FD 85mm f1.2L & Canon M6 digital, portrait grabber outfit.
    Most often used aperture, f1.2 to f4.


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Can View Post
    I always grab my Nikon 135mm f2 for Digi

  2. #12
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: A few, limited observations on traditional portrait perspective for the newcomer

    I had a new Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Lens

    Never liked it, I also tried the Nikon 105 f2, sold both. Then sold a 135 f2 and regretted it, so I bought another and kept it

    I found out, I didn't like zooms. especially my 17-35 $2000 crap
    2022

  3. #13
    Photographer LocalHero1953's Avatar
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    Re: A few, limited observations on traditional portrait perspective for the newcomer

    Thank you, Philip, it's good to hear from someone whose thinking parallels mine. I also spend time looking at painted portraiture - especially Rembrandt, Vermeer, Velasquez..... My portraiture and theatre work is just beginning to start up again. I should have timed my step into large format earlier in the pandemic - though we can meet up more, I still need to build my confidence in mastering the basic craft skills of frame, focus and exposure before I can reasonably persuade others to take me on trust!
    _________________________________________________________
    Paul Ashley Photography

  4. #14

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    Re: A few, limited observations on traditional portrait perspective for the newcomer

    Yes, Paul, it is a jump from any roll film camera to LF. You have some impressive work on your site, so I'm confident you'll find your way.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  5. #15

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    Re: A few, limited observations on traditional portrait perspective for the newcomer

    Let's go back 40 years or so, to when I was a portrait photographer. I worked for a large studio, and my assignments were high school senior portraits. I and my colleagues used 70mm long-roll cameras; the format was nominally 6x7cm. The lenses on those cameras were 210mm f.l. That gave a conventionally pleasing perspective for the head-and-shoulders compositions required. My own ideas were shaped by those uncounted thousands of such portrait sittings... styles have changed since 1980, but my ideas about portrait perspective have not, and when I was called upon to shoot portraits later in my career (not often) I used the same visual ideas. (I still see a few of those portraits made on the job showing up on LinkedIn and FB.) The few portraits I've done with a 4x5 have all been made with a 300mm lens; when I shoot pictures of people nowadays I use my old-faithful Nikon 105/2.5 on FFD.
    Of course environmental portraiture is a different matter, and the master, Arnold Newman, did as he liked with lenses and perspective; so should you.

  6. #16
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: A few, limited observations on traditional portrait perspective for the newcomer

    As long as we are on Digi cams

    I find the ones that can change format are good for seeing a longer lens effect

    A D750 can make a lens longer by in camera crop from FX to 1.2 or DX 1.5

    Which I chimp when deciding on what I want to see on a bigger screen

    Making all my lenses versatile
    2022

  7. #17
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: A few, limited observations on traditional portrait perspective for the newcomer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulophot View Post
    Alan, why not? According to one calculator, this is roughly equivalent to an 80mm lens on 35mm, but I think this conservative (again, calculation methods differ). It's twice the length of the typically cited 150mm as normal for 4x5, and therefore, certainly a common "portrait" length. Many people presume a head-and-shoulders or closer framing of the face as typical for portraiture, and a head-and-shoulders framing with this focal length would put you in the range of 5 1/2 feet from your subject. Your challenge then may or may not be the DOF, which, at f/22 at this distance is just over 4 1/2 inches.

    I prefer to start with a looser framing, usually; I'm a big fan of Rembrandt, among others, and a print of Velazquez's magnificent portrait of Juan de Pareja hangs over our mantle piece. The 210 works well for this, giving me an upper body framing at the same distance and about the same DOF at f/11 as your 300 at f/22. These are all choices. Strand reported used only a 300 for many years, on both his slightly cropped 5x6 (5x6.25) and 8x10. He managed pretty well, I'd say.

    In all these matters, we need to try to master what we have, rather than hoping something else will solve our problem. It may, and it may be just right at some point, but skipping around in this mind-set is poisonous to focused creative work.
    F32 would give you 7" DOF which I guess is how thick my head is about. So would f32 be better at 5 1/2 feet. (focus range 5' 2.7" to 5' 9.7") You focus on the eyes and get the full head from tip of nose to back of ears.

    I assume with view cameras, you use no movements or anything else with portraitures?

  8. #18
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: A few, limited observations on traditional portrait perspective for the newcomer

    Just to divert a little, today so many portraitures and blog videos are so distorted with big noses and obtuse faces due to getting closer with their wide-angle lenses on cameras and how vlogging cameras are used. They make the subjects look pretty bad. Yet people just accept them or don't notice or don't care.

  9. #19
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: A few, limited observations on traditional portrait perspective for the newcomer

    Look at my avatar picture. It was an extreme crop from a much wider photo. What lens would that be on a 4x5, 6x7 and 35mm if shot full?

  10. #20

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    Re: A few, limited observations on traditional portrait perspective for the newcomer

    "I assume with view cameras, you use no movements or anything else with portraitures?"

    I have till now kept the back vertical for portraiture, but I have used lens tilt or swing on occasion. It's not different in that regard from any other subject: how is it I wish to portray my subject? I tend to find extremely short DOF in a portrait, especially a facial close-up, distracting; there are times when it works, but, for me, rarely. It's a matter of aesthetics and conception. Classical painters (by Classical, I refer to a philosophy more than any particular time period per se, just as in music) have had their own ways of rendering areas or a portrait "out of focus." In my view, the unity of the conception is key in a work of art.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

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