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Solutions > Portrait Photography

 

'People Pictures'

Portraiture is a classic form of photography as old as the camera itself. At the heart of things, you're aiming to not just capture an image of a person, but a portion of their personality too. Good 'people pictures' offer an insight into how someone feels, how they live, how they see themselves and maybe even what they think. There are so many options with portrait photography, and here, we've tried to section them off somewhat and make it easier for you to choose the right kit for the job. Your choice of camera might be different depending on whether your shoot is studio based, or on location. We've also collated cameras that excel at animal portraits due to their ability to autofocus on animal eyes. Finally, we've a selection of light-weight offerings that let you just get out there and shoot with the minimum of setup and framing.

A note on popular focal lengths

The most popular focal lengths for portrait work range from 35mm to 100mm, with 85mm tending to be the firm favourite. These focal lengths produce minimal barrel distortion, lovely bokeh, and allow you to be just the right distance from the subject so that you’re close enough to be able to direct them. Since the release of mirrorless cameras though, shorter zooms around the 24-70mm focal length have got sharper and sharper, and are now considered by many to be a viable alternative to multiple primes.

Longer telephoto lenses are particularly good for the more natural and candid style of portraiture, so these may be worth investigating if you need to be a little further from your subject. Telephoto lenses are also useful when shooting candid family portrait sessions. Your subjects will be more likely to relax and be themselves if you're further away, plus with a fast zoom lens in your arsenal, you'll be more able to keep up with the kids running around.

A note on cameras

Whilst your choice of lens will help determine your focal length and the levels of bokeh you can achieve, your choice of camera is just as important. Higher resolutions found in top-end cameras provide unrivalled detail that shooters even a decade ago could have only dreamed of. Many new cameras have Eye Auto Focus, a feature which can track a subject's eyes no matter where they move in the frame. This is particularly useful when shooting candid style portraits where the subject might not be sitting posed. Unless you're planning on blowing up your images on a large scale, you may not need a horde of megapixels as this can just mean giant filesizes. However, higher levels of detail will also give you more scope for adjusting in post-production if necessary, generally offering more options to polish.

Portraiture is a classic form of photography as old as the camera itself. At the heart of things, you're aiming to not just capture an image of a person, but a portion of their personality too. Good 'people pictures' offer an insight into how someone feels, how they live, how they see themselves and maybe even what they think.

The most popular focal lengths for portrait work range from 35mm to 100mm, with 85mm tending to be the firm favourite. However, since the release of mirrorless cameras, shorter zooms around the 24-70mm focal length have got sharper and sharper, and are now considered by many to be a viable alternative to multiple primes.

Whilst your choice of lens will help determine the levels of bokeh you can achieve, your choice of camera is just as important. Higher resolutions found in top-end cameras provide unrivalled detail, but can be complex. Many new cameras have Eye Auto Focus, a feature which can track a subject's eyes no matter where they move in the frame. This is particularly useful when shooting candid style portraits where the subject might not be sitting posed.

Sony a7R IV Package

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Fujifilm X-T4 Package

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Canon EOS R5 Package

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Nikon Z6 II Package

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