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The perfect lens……

Let’s talk a bit about lenses and looks.
The image we open with was shot during a workshop with a 70mm setting on a 24-70 lens. Is this the perfect/best way to shoot this scene?….. well let’s see.

 

“Frank what is the perfect lens for…..”
I don’t know how often I get this question, but let me put it this way…. it’s a lot

Now let’s start by saying that the perfect lens/camera is the one that you have with you… but… well that’s a bit of a cliche, so let’s give you a real tip in todays blog.

EVERY lens has it’s own character.
What I mean with this is that even between let’s say 2 50mm lenses you can see a difference. For example I sometimes love to shoot with older M42 lenses which via an adapter are connected to my Sony camera. Thanks to the peaking (focus assist) focusing is easy and fast with manual lenses. The cool thing about these lenses is that they give your images a distinct look which I personally really like. I also have some Leica lenses from the R series and those lenses are almost pure magic.. but that’s for another post (if you guys are interested in that just let me know in the comments below).

Back to todays tip.
Often it’s regarded that wide angles are “less” good for portraits or model photography than longer lenses. However I would like to point out that this is not entirely true. The main difference between a longer and wider lens is “distortion” now don’t take this too literally, but there is a totally different look to a wide angle which would indeed make it less “flattering” to shoot a portrait with from close by. On the other hand….. if you use that distortion to your advantage you can do some cool stuff like for example this.

If I shoot this with a longer lens the effect is much less prominent.

In essence you always have to remember that a camera doesn’t see depth.
The only thing it does is render objects that are close larger and objects that are further away smaller. When you shoot with a wide angle you are actually (in this case) closer to the apple and the model is much further away compared to the distance to the apple. Meaning you get this “distortion”.

Now if you make use of it, like in this example you can actually make it work for you.
Remember the image we opened with?
That’s how you would normally shoot it in the studio, but if you shoot it more wide, in my opinion the shots comes way more alive.

Now I do have to add a side note.
I really don’t like images that are shot with wideangles without being “shot” with a wide angle. In other words if you shoot a portrait like you would normally shoot a portrait with a sub 30mm lens (Full Frame) I often find the distorting taking me away from the shot. However when you use that “distortion” to work with the shot like in the sample with Anouk on the stool I really feel that the wider angle shot gives me a much more flowing image (if that makes sense). It has less compression so to say. (a term often used for longer lenses by the way).

 

Feel free to show your images with wide angles.

For much more tips visit www.frankdoorhof.com/videos and download our instructional videos
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And of course get my book “Mastering the modelshoot” via your favorite bookstore or amazon 

Rock that low and wide angle

One of the best tips I can give people is to shoot from different angles than eye level.
Eye level is how we see the world but it doesn’t always give the best look for your images.

 

According to some publications our eyes are app 50mm, but I have to be honest I never really believed that, for example I find myself zooming almost constantly and going from wide to tele, and a lot of people I talk to have the same thing, although some claim to only see wide, and some claim to only see zoomed in…. what are you seeing?

 

Anyway.
When traveling it’s always cool to shoot some images from a real low angle, and combine this with a nice wide angle and you get some really interesting images, do be aware that a wide angle can really distort the scene, so it’s important to “play with this” and incorporate it into your shot. It will also help to include some objects in the front of the composition that can act as leading lines or just make the image look more interesting. And sometimes your lucky to find a “Subway” cup in a subway station 😀
Today some examples of this technique, shot in different locations during our UK trip.

UK - 78 - January 23, 2016-Edit

untitled - 251 - January 24, 2016-Edit

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untitled - 395 - January 24, 2016-Edit

untitled - 411 - January 24, 2016-Edit

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untitled - 509 - January 24, 2016-Edit

 

 

Don’t be afraid to go wide

Often you hear the question “what’s the best lens for….”
In my opinion there is not really a best allround lens…. it all depends on creativity, what you want and what you need.
In model photography often wide angles are labeled as “not done” and I can understand this, a wide angle distorts the image (if you’re not careful) and it’s not a lens that will be great for model separation from the background.

 

However having said that… the wide angle can be awesome for some special effect shots, for example lay on the floor and let the model jump very close to you and you can get some pretty funky stuff like this shot we did with Manon during the workshops in Studio76 this weekend.

Manon Februari 15 Eersel (13 of 41)-EditSo although people say “don’t” always try to find a solution in which you say “it will work”, this will make your work stand out from the crowd because somehow now a days a lot of people just believe what’s being told online and don’t even try it anymore, be smarter 😀

 

Anja glamour

Glamour workshops are always special.
It’s one of the advanced workshops I teach, so there is a lot of room to play around with lights, poses, expressions etc. in other words the workshop has a very wide array of possibilities to play around. And when Anja is the model there is always a lot of fun which enhances the images of course.

But the most I just love to play with light.
Here I used the Elinchrom 9.5″ Wide Angle Reflector for Elinchrom, this is really a reflector everyone should own, it’s very cheap and it’s the best reflector to light a white background, but also rocks to create effects like this with lens flares. On the subject of using lens flares, I’m a big advocate to not create them in Photoshop but really try to shoot them “live”, this image is shot that way and for me the effect is much more convincing than when you just add a lens flare in Photoshop.

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