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Old 08-03-2008, 11:20   #1 (permalink)
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Question re cropping for portraits

I know this may sound like a basic question but theres only one way to learn....Do most portrait photographers photograph the 'whole' setting and then crop afterwards in photo processing programs or do you change the lens as you go to zoom in and out for each shot?
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:39   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Question re cropping for portraits

Good question.
I work 70 % with lens, 30% in computer. I am always looking for images within images, but I like to work with two camera's, One is set with a standard zoom lens and one with 105macro lens that i love to use for head shoots and real close-ups.

Fine your own way to work and you will come up with something different.
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Old 08-03-2008, 11:48   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Question re cropping for portraits

I think that this is going to depend on how you are going to present your portrait.

Some of the best portraits I've seen have had the subject as a fairly small component within the picture and the rest of the image is providing context.

Examples would be the portrait of an artist that also encompasses the work and perhaps also the scene being painted. An author set in a library or a gardener doing something in a garden.

I don't necessarily see a portrait as having to be a close up of a person, although this is clearly one option.
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Old 08-03-2008, 12:09   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Question re cropping for portraits

I find that it is always better to have space round your subject at the point of take. When printing you can then crop to size.
However remember digital film is cheap as chips so decide what is important and zoom in later in the shoot.Take plenty of exposures and check your are getting what you want.
Variety is everything so vary your lighting, pose, dress and exposure. keep your subject interested, play music ,
Be focused and lastly most good portraits show "good eyes".
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Old 08-03-2008, 12:27   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Question re cropping for portraits

Something else to bear in mind is that (all other things being equal) the depth of field is less if you zoom in so the subject fills the frame, rather than cropping the image afterwards.
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Old 08-03-2008, 19:20   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Question re cropping for portraits

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Originally Posted by silkstone View Post
Something else to bear in mind is that (all other things being equal) the depth of field is less if you zoom in so the subject fills the frame, rather than cropping the image afterwards.
Hmmm? If the camera does not change position, i.e. the viewpoint remains the same, and you take one shot at say 50mm and a second at say 150mm with the zoom (or change lenses for fixed lenses), and everything else stays the same e.g. f/No, then if you crop the first image to match the content of the second, the DoF will be identical! (Other things may look different such as granularity but the DoF should be the same.)

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Old 09-03-2008, 10:53   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Question re cropping for portraits

It may be just me but I can't help but think that you are being lazy

Why have an 'X' MP camera only to shoot everything from one spot and crop loads of those pixels away? Moving your feet/position or change lenses/zoom to get the different 'crops' you want and maintain the full resolution of your camera has to be the correct method.**

**I understand that the model and or light (in the case of landscapes) could change and therefore changing lenses etc whilst attempting to photograph the same subject isn't always possible, but for controlled situations there really is no excuse in my opinion.

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Old 09-03-2008, 23:09   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Question re cropping for portraits

I take a variety of shots with different focal lengths with my 24-105mm. I will also use my 70-200mm for some shots. I if I want head and shoulders that is what I take and if I want a close up of part of the face then that is what I take. I will even use my 10-22mm for a full length shot if I need to. Unlike candid photography, you have full control of the camera, lighting and model. There are plenty of other things to do in photoshop such as removing blemishes, softening skin, sharpening eyes etc.

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