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Old Jul 31, 2009, 9:26 PM   #1
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Default Need a quick answer.

OK tomorrow I have talked a friend into letting me try my hand at taking engagement photos, with the one exception that she can not be angry if they do not turn out good and she agreed.
Two questions:
1-My lens selection is limited. But I do have the Minolta 50mm 1.7 and the Tamron 70-300. Do you think the tamron at f11 and 70mm will take pretty good pictures? What f-stop is suggested for the 50mm for pretty good portraits?
2-When trying to get natural un-posed pics (you know like following and snapping pictures) , would it be better to take bursts instead of one at a time?
As always, thanks for any help.
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Old Aug 1, 2009, 5:49 AM   #2
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Taking engagement photos for someone is probably not a very good time to learn how to get the best results from your camera. It would be better to learn how to get the best results from your camera before volunteering to take images that are important to someone. ;-)

From a strictly sharpness perspective, you'd probably get best results at around f/8 on the 70mm end of that lens. At longer focal lengths, f/11 may be sharper.

But, that doesn't take issues like your desired depth of field into consideration (is the background distracting, how far away is it, etc.) or lighting, or perspective, or desired composition.

You'd have to decide the same type of issues for the 50mm. What kind of Depth of Field do you want for the image? The wider the aperture (smaller f/stop numbers), the shallower your depth of field. The narrower the aperture (higher f/stop numbers), the greater your depth of field. With a 50mm lens, you'll probably need to stop it down some from wide open to get the desired sharpness and depth of field. Chances are, you'd want to stop it down to around f/4 or f/5.6 to make sure the couple is sharp enough at most focus distances. But, that will vary depend on your composition (how close you are), how far apart they are, etc. A shallower depth of field can be very desirable for some shots. But, you'll need a better understanding of Depth of Field, making sure you're carefully focusing on the closest eye if that's the desired look with a tighter head and shoulders shot where your depth of field will be shallower due to your closer distance. So, if you don't have a good understanding of Depth of Field (with lots of practice shooting with a shallow depth of field at wider apertures), your best bet would be to use more conservative settings (stick with around f/5.6 at most focus distances).
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Old Aug 1, 2009, 12:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antonlm View Post
OK tomorrow I have talked a friend into letting me try my hand at taking engagement photos, with the one exception that she can not be angry if they do not turn out good and she agreed.
Two questions:
1-My lens selection is limited. But I do have the Minolta 50mm 1.7 and the Tamron 70-300. Do you think the tamron at f11 and 70mm will take pretty good pictures? What f-stop is suggested for the 50mm for pretty good portraits?
2-When trying to get natural un-posed pics (you know like following and snapping pictures) , would it be better to take bursts instead of one at a time?
As always, thanks for any help.
I would personally treat this as a fun session if you are going to do it rather than their formal engagement shoot. Go with what Jim has said and just try different poses and have some fun, don't expect miracles.

Shooting formal shots can be difficult and even though I've been photographing for a long time and don't have to think about settings etc, getting poses I'm happy with etc can be very difficult.

Then to learn from this I would suggest posting here (probably the people section) and get advice on the next step.
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Old Aug 1, 2009, 4:55 PM   #4
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Thank you two for the replies. This is in no way formal. It is just something they are allowing me to do for the practice. I'm hoping for at least 5 pictures that they like. Of course more would be great, but Im being realistic. lol
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Old Aug 1, 2009, 8:05 PM   #5
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Personally, grap the 50mm prime and go.

Why the 50mm prime?

Low light is almost always an issue and having f/1.7 available is a whole lot better than f/4.5-5.6, especially as you might be able to avoid using flash from time to time. Oh, and f/1.7 comes in handy when trying to limit the dof to showcase/isolate the subject from distracting backgrounds. That said, falling in love with f/1.7 is going to produce a lot of boring and potentially oof (out of focus) shots so use only when critical to the shot and not as a crutch to avoid flash or lighting modifications.

Zooming with your feet is something we all need to practice from time to time. 50mm gives you 75mm equiv. A short portrait lens. Maybe not the best length for a single subject, but it is manageable and should allow you to keep a reasonable distance from the subject and will be especially use in small group shots over the larger length lens.



As far as your burst versus single shot question.

Think of burst as a crutch, something to make up for your lack of competance or inability to plan the shot. Others have described burst mode as "shoot and pray for results". Burst is great for shooting a deer running through the woods because of the movement and foliage (ie inability to plan the shot). Shooting that same deer in a zoo setting, and single shots (with a little thought to composition) would yield far better results.

Shooting people in casual settings is a bit like shooting a deer (woods versus zoo). If you are constantly moving (to gain advantage for the shot as you would in a zoo) and they are constently moving (because people move, much like a deer in the zoo), then use single mode or very, very short bursts (2-3 pics). If you are stuck in a single place (because you can't look through the viewfinder watch where you are stepping at the same time -aka the woods) and your subject is constantly moving, then wide open burst mode might be best. Just remember, shooting 2000 pics and then sorting through them to gain 5 great pics is a lot more work than shooting 50 pics and sorting through them to gain 5 great pics.

Having said this, the paparazzi shoot in burst mode. Mostly because they are idiots, but also because they have no idea when some young stupid starlet will have forgotten her panties and they don't want to miss the shot.
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Old Aug 2, 2009, 9:53 PM   #6
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Thanks again for the replies. I did it and I did not do too bad.....Only problem was they look like they were taken with a good point and shoot not DSLR lol. It was a good experience and I have a new found respect for anyone who does this on regular basis! After like two poses I was out of ideas! lol But I managed to salvage like 40 shots after taking like 100(they asked me not to post any on the net) Made a couple of mistakes that could have been avoided like since it was outside although cloudy, I shot at iso 100. But had to discard a couple because like for instance a hand was moving so it blurred. ISO 200 or 400 would had taken care of that. I would like to do it again. But in the mean time I will continue to look at other people work for ideas.
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