Exercise 2.4

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.

Portrait

In the exercise I resisted the temptation to take the shot in portrait mode. I am trying to keep all of my images at the moment in landscape format. I chose a simple background but one in which there would be some out of focus detail that would create a space to frame the portrait and as suggested in the course materials I focused very specifically on the eyes. The image was taken with a 60mm (90mm 135 equivalent) and it was set  at its widest aperture f2.4).

Katy portrait 11 60 f2.4 (1 of 1)

As a film shooter ordinarily (this is a digital image) I tend not to take lots of pictures and try and get the shot I want on the first or second attempt. This image was one of three shots and in this one the focus on the eyes was the strongest. The image has had a hint of sharpness adjustment and other that that is straight out of the camera. With hindsight I should have reduced the aperture by one stop and that would have aided the focus upon the eyes without limiting the shallow depth of field too much.  the finished impact of the shallow depth of filed in this image does I feel lift the subject from the background and direct the viewer to focus on the subject.

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