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Old Sep 13, 2008, 11:25 PM   #1
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So I have my new Sony dslr A200. I have found a photographer that I really like his work. It's www.zaughphotography.com The top has a link to portfolios 1, 2, 3 for examples. He does headshots for actors which is what I would like to do. He seems to be outside mostly. But what I really want to know is how he gets everything around the subject to blur out so much. Does anyone know how I can get a similar look? I am a rookie and I am taking some Ritz classes. But that is the look I really like and wonder how he is doing it. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!
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Old Sep 14, 2008, 2:45 AM   #2
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The easy way is to do it witha lens, and to do that you need a really narrow depth of field, and there are differemt ways to do that. The easiest is to have a portrait lens something like an 85mm f1.8 or f1.4 (really expensive)and use it close to wide open, which is f1.8, or maybe f2 and get close or far enough away to fill the frame with as much of the subject as you want. The closer you get at a wide aperture like f2, the less you will have in focus beyond your subject, to the point it will blur.

You can also use a really long lens thatwill notbe as fast as that f1.8, but you can zoom to 250-300mm and position yourself close enough to fill the frame again. Most likely the fastest f-stop you will have is something like f5.6, but the extreme focal length combined with being close to your subjectwill narrow the depth of field and blur the background to some extent, depending how close or far off the background is.

Another way is to *cheat* by using a software program like Photoshop to blur the background, but you have to be careful or the "look" will not be natural.
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Old Sep 14, 2008, 6:44 AM   #3
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To suppliment the explanation Greg Chappell gave, I will add that the lens should be at least a moderate telephoto (from about 50mm to about 100mm). Sony has a Carl Zeiss85mm f/1.4 that is the best lens of its kind, but it costs $1,300. Sony also has a 50mm f/1.4 for $350.

One of the very nice things about Sony dSLRs is that they work with all the older Minolta Maxxum autofocus lenses, and equivalent lenses on the used market are available for about 2/3 the cost of new lenses. In addition, a very popular lens for Sony dSLRs is the Minolta 50mm f/1.7 which goes for ~$125. That might be your best place to start. eBay always has 15-20 listed at any time, and KEH.com (a great source of used lenses and equipment for any brand) usually has a few as well.
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Old Sep 14, 2008, 1:17 PM   #4
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If you don't have access to a large aperture portrait lens, you can still get the effect with the kit lens that came with your camera. You will need to use the longer end of the focal length, and position the subject a bit farther away from the background, still using the largest aperture available (smallest f/ number).

Wide aperture lenses give a shallow depth of field, in effect compressing the in focus range. Byphysically separating the subject and background, you can achieve the same effect. It just takes a little more effort on your part. There are, of course times when it isn't possible, and you will need the specialized lens, but as you gain experience, you will be able to make that decision yourself.

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Old Sep 14, 2008, 11:16 PM   #5
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Wow! Thanks so much! I am going to look into the used lenses. As the others are more expensive than my actual camera! I am taking some classes right now cause I don't completely understand all the lingo and functions. I am sure after my class Saturday I will understand what you're saying to do ;-) Thanks so much for taking the time to look at the site for me.
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Old Sep 15, 2008, 7:01 AM   #6
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Hey! The primary reason for getting involved in any form of technology is so you know the 'Lingo'! [suB]:-)[/suB]
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Old Sep 18, 2008, 1:19 PM   #7
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rae rae wrote:
Quote:
Wow! Thanks so much! I am going to look into the used lenses. As the others are more expensive than my actual camera! I am taking some classes right now cause I don't completely understand all the lingo and functions. I am sure after my class Saturday I will understand what you're saying to do ;-) Thanks so much for taking the time to look at the site for me.
rae rae... I wonder if you're still following this thread.

I feel for ya... not understanding all the lingo. It's a steep learning curve. It took me forever to wrap my mind around apature and ISO.

I don't think you need a fancy, expensive lens to achieve the effect you're shooting for. If your camera came with an 18-70mm lens, that should work. It might not produce the same degree of blurring that a better lens would, but it'll get you started.

Setyour apature value to f3.5 (I think that's the limit of your lens), then focus on your subject. The background should be slightly blurred. If it's not that noticeable, try backing up a few feet and using the zoom (in combination with your f3.5 apature setting). Zooming in can force the camera to boost your f-stop number, but you still might get the blurring effect. Zooming in can increase the apature.

Give it a shot before you go out and spend money on a new lens. I get some pretty fantastic portrait shots with my Canon S2. Granted, it's got a 6-72mm lens with a lower f-stop limit of 2.7, but you should be able to get some results with the kit your camera came with.
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Old Sep 18, 2008, 4:55 PM   #8
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I am still following this thread..thank you! I have played around and can get the background blurred but not as much as I would like. I can only get my aperture to 5.6 with the lens I have. I have been doing some research into the older used lens which are going for MUCH cheaper than the new ones. So I am saving up to get one of those.
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Old Sep 18, 2008, 5:24 PM   #9
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I just got one of the older lens on ebay for $99. Whoo hoo. They have been going up way high, and I just found one on buy it now. I am excited
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Old Sep 18, 2008, 7:50 PM   #10
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Good luck with it. ANd come back and post something.
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