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Old Jan 5, 2011, 8:49 AM   #1
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Default Just bought a Canon T2i

Now my wife wants to start taking portraits. I need recommendations on types of flashes, etc to get started.

Not going to be professional, just something for friends and family so it'll look good!

Thanks,
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 10:02 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinpics View Post
Now my wife wants to start taking portraits. I need recommendations on types of flashes, etc to get started.

Not going to be professional, just something for friends and family so it'll look good!

Thanks,
Good Luck with the new camera. Assuming the T2i came with
the standard 18-55mm IS lens, she can start taking portraits right
now. The kit lens is fairly good and the built-in flash is adequate
for indoor shots.

A faster lens like the Canon 50mm f/1.8 would be better
in low light. These lenses cost around $100.

An external flash will be much more powerful than the built-in
flash. Most external flashes have adjustable elevation and
azimuth so that you can point them away from the subject.
This allows you bounce the flash from ceilings and walls
giving a more diffused light than the very harsh frontlight
from a fixed flash.

I have the Canon 430EX II which I would recommend. I have
also heard good things about Metz flashes for the Canon.
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 10:15 AM   #3
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Hi what type of portraits do you mean. If its just a good flash for in door work then nissin di622 is a good flash a at a good price and is compatible with canon ettl. Others are Metz and Sigma.
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Old Jan 5, 2011, 11:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by austinpics View Post
Now my wife wants to start taking portraits. I need recommendations on types of flashes, etc to get started.
"portraits" is kind of a broad term. The equipment needed depends on the specifics of the types of portraits she wants to do.

In general, let's say there are 3 types of portraits:
  1. Environmental - the subject and environment around and behind the subject are included in the shot - this can be indoors too - like a photo for a Christmas card with the tree or fireplace etc.
  2. Shallow depth-of-field - could be in studio or outdoors where the subject is in focus but the background is blurred
  3. Studio - where you have controlled backdrop/lighting (regardless of how much of the subject is in the frame)
For the environmental types of portraits she can start with the kit lens. A good external flash will be very beneficial though - both for indoor use and outdoor. Flash is extremely useful outdoors.

For shallow DOF shots - she's not going to be able to take those types of shots with the kit lens. There's no single perfect portrait lens - a lot depends on distances. The inexpensive 50mm 1.8 mentioned can help her get her feet wet - although it's a bit limited as to how much it can blur the background. Better options are a 50mm 1.4 or 85mm 1.8.

Studio is a whole different ballgame. IMO, the 3 most important aspects to portrait work are:
  1. Lighting - use of flash/strobes/existing light
  2. Posing - she'll need to do some study on this aspect - lots of people can look pretty awkward when having their photo taken. It's up to the photographer to tell those people what to do.
  3. Backgrounds - Whether choosing the right environment, or the right backdrop in studio or creating shallow DOF to help eliminate the background
The external flash is a great first step. But she needs to realize there's a huge difference between taking a person's photo with a DSLR and making a portrait. So even though it's just for family and friends - if she really means "portrait" and wants family/friends to use her to create those framed shots on the wall/mantle she may have a bit of work ahead of her before friends/family are going to forego the other options and want to display her work.

Greg Chappel in our Olympus DSLR forum does some really nice portrait work. I believe JustinTyme also does nice work. They both have more experience than I do and can give a better idea of what's involved in going from "taking a person's photo" to "making a portrait".
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Old Jan 6, 2011, 7:16 AM   #5
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In addition to Greg Chappell, a fellow Texan, I might add Charles Hanaberger, another Olympus Forum member, does professional portrait work

Here's a link to a site that Charles posted a while back on the subject of portraits.

Lots of good common sense tips.

http://photocamel.com/forum/tutorial...rtraiture.html

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Last edited by zig-123; Jan 6, 2011 at 7:21 AM.
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