What does that have to do with the angle of the camera? Well, let us look at the first part – kit envy. You read all of the reviews, searched throughout Flickr for the quality of the images taken, and the glossy adverts look fantastic! It even says in the magazine you subscribe to that YOU MUST HAVE THIS LENS!!!! You also have just got to have that dSLR with 50 billion gigglepixies and the mega zoom lens, and the mega wide, and the mega sharp, and on and on and on.
Remember this. Companies such as Canon, Amazon and whoever else wants to sell you stuff, even if you need it or not! If you look at your objectives of your photography you will most likely find that the answer is NOT. So what then tends to happen is that you buy a camera with a kit lens that can be as wide as the Earth and can zoom to the moon and back, or you go and buy a lens that can do just that.
Is that a problem? I guess not, if you are going to use the whole zoom range and the lens is the right speed for you. What I have found though is that zooms make you a lazy photographer. The photographer stands on one spot and shoots a wide, and then a crop. Then a mid-range. First the head and shoulders, then the ¾ and a full length. Rinse and repeat.
This does create a boring range of images without too much variation and it also fails to develop your creative eye. Instead I would highly recommend that you buy two good prime lenses (a lens that cannot zoom), a wide and a longer focal length. What a prime lens forces you to do is explore the image, especially when using a wide angle lens. If you want to get closer, you gotta move your feet, step to the side, squat or stretch up and down. If you do not feel like you have not had a work out by the end of the shoot, you have not worked hard enough!
Here is what I use on a shoot.
A Canon 5d mk1 – SHOCK!! A mark 1? Well why not? I brought it when it first came out and it still works perfectly well. Ok the ISO range and noise is a little limiting sometimes but I add grain to my images anyway (I shoot lots of film privately) and I have some very fast lenses. If it is dark, I find light and not 200000000000000 ISO.
85mm f1.2 – This is my primary lens. Yes it is VERY expensive but when you hit that sweet spot you know exactly where that money went. It really is a premium portrait lens and I shoot with it 90% of the time. Open it to f1.2 and expose it correctly, you will find a whole new world is available to you. If the f1.2 is out of your price range, the f1.8 is much more manageable and very capable.
35mm f1.4 – A brilliant and beautiful wide lens. I use this for portraits and environmental shots. I actually taught myself photography on a 28mm lens way back in the old days and so I have an affinity with wides. The 28mm is a great lens to train yourself to “see”. If you want details you have got to get close. And then get closer than that!
That is all I use. I find that to create better portraits, you need to remove kit choices and open up portrait/sitter choices. Did you know that when taking a portrait you can move 360 degrees around the client? Or that the client can themselves move 360 degrees on their axis?
Move Your Feet!
Explore the shot and the portrait. Learn which angles work best for you and the lens you are using. A wide lens can be used to elongate the body and a telephoto to isolate the client from the background.Don’t stop moving around!
The Next Stage
All posing starts from the feet up. Place the feet in the correct position and you will instantly change the way she is standing from a slouch and a poor portrait to something that is more brilliant!
Next Step - Posture
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