Week 10

In Week 10, I was visiting family overseas so I wasn’t in class. However, reading through the presentation sheets I understand that we looked at portraits as well as studio lighting and retouching.

In terms of what lens to choose there isn’t a ‘right’ answer as it depends on the photographer, the client, the location, etc. But there are two things you have to consider which is focal length and aperture.

The focal length of an image can distort or compress features and the aperture allows us to blur the background and create a shallow depth of field and draw attention in.

Focal Length

Longer focal length is usually more flattering for the person being photographed as it slims, whereas, wide-angle lenses can distort features in class up shots but they allow for more detail. Standard lenses give you the best middle ground in regards to depth, blur and proximity. On the other hand long telephoto lenses provide excellent blur but you have to be quite far away from your subject.


For portrait shots, use a wide aperture / shallow depth of field to draw in the viewer and allow your subject to stand out against the background e.g. f/2.8-5.6 on zoom lens.

It’s important to consider shutter speed as it’s easy to come across camera shake, hence, a tripod may be useful. Alternatively, we learnt about the reciprocal rule to determine what your minimum allowable shutter speed is.

For portraits with very shallow depth of field it’s best to focus on the model’s eyes.

Lighting for portraits

Some take aways from this is to avoid light sources that come from the same angle as the camera because they flatten an image. When you move the light source further from the camera you create depth and shadow.

When using artificial light, ensure they are soft and easily distributed e.g. use a soft box.


With modelling, I find that talking more about emotion and giving the model a story to work with is much more effective than saying, “look excited and hopeful.” Giving that context allows them to embody the character easily.

Angelina Watson