Portraiture, what is it?

this comes in response to the many times we discuss what it is and what lens is best for what, many people have very different interpretations of what it is and from that end, they also have different views on what makes a good, flattering, real, or preferred one. Most all are correct in what they think, the variation comes from a differing of what they view as a “Portrait” Lets discuss that here.

what is your idea of a portrait?

that determines the best, I like to have about 5-8 feet between me and the subject for a working distance, more becomes too much yelling, less gets too tight with lighting and grip gear and starts to get distortion. But that is just my style, I also typically prefer longer lenses. Here is a great selection which differ from my typical style.

great portrait
by karsh

by Newman
by Newman
by Newman

by Newman

by Newman

by Newman

by Newman

all used different lenses for different reasons.

That all said, I like overall versatility of a 70-200 2.8

primes, I like personally a 200 2.0, 180 3.5, 300 2.8, then on a shorter side a 135 2.0, 100 2.0, 85 1.2, 50 1.2 real wide for me, a 24 1.4

Best values, 70-200 f4.0 canon
200 2.8 canon
100 2.0 canon
85 1.8 canon
50 1.4 canon

Off Brand, Sigma makes two good lenses, the 180 and 150 Macro are both sharp, relatively fast and good contrast and working distance.

most versatile pro kit setup, compromise between convenience and range, 16-35L 2.8, 24-70L 2.8, 70-200L 2.8

If you ever plan to upgrade to FF sensors, I see no reason to get a EF-s lens.

A few more great ones :

by herman leonard

by karsh

by karsh

by karsh

self portrait by Herman Leonard

by karsh

Winston Churchill by Phillipe Halsman for Life Magazine:

some of my own pitiful attempts at self portraits can be seen here

More of me click here

granted they pale in comparison, but hey, I am a newbie by their standards πŸ™

And for those who ask, why does it matter what its called, or what one considers portraiture?

sometimes, what you say may express an idea in a clients mind, that perception is based on a generally accepted use of the word you use to describe the service you provide. telling a client you shoot portraits and actually shooting porn may or may not fit the bill of what they are expecting, it may if they are needing a portrait for an award they are winning, and they are a porn star or porn producer, not if they are a priest, though they all may like the final images produced πŸ˜€

we are a society in part because we can communicate to one another our ideas and thoughts to accomplish things together as a whole, language is what we often rely on to achieve that goal.

Here is a link to some samples of lens effect on a face and some distances and numbers to base it on to make your own decisions.


images and chart included. πŸ˜€ There is no right or wrong, its all just a preference,there is a right and wrong for a specific effect, so knowing what helps to create what is useful in that way. Hope that helps some.

There is no right answer until you know what you want to achieve, which includes the look and feel of the image.
allow me to appear arrogant for a moment and use images of myself to show what that means
long lens
wide lens
super wide lens
mid mild telephoto range
each needed that type of lens for that type of effect. Β None are right or wrong, they were all a conscious choice.

Stephen Eastwood

About photographers1

Stephen Eastwood Fashion and Beauty Photographer and Retoucher based in NY/LA/Ft. Worth TX http://www.StephenEastwood.com Current Canon Explorer of Light.
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2 Responses to Portraiture, what is it?

  1. Amy Dunn says:

    It’s about time! Welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Stephen Eastwood.


  2. Anonymous says:

    great experience, dude! thanks for this great post wow… it’s very wonderful report. .I bookmarked your site!