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photoworks68
07-13-2011, 01:14 AM
'If your pictures are not good enough, you're not close enough.'

Rober Capa

I believe that was related to war photography, if I am not mistaken.

;)

tomalophicon
07-13-2011, 01:28 AM
Usually the width of the road between my house and the hot next door neighbour's bedoom window ... Wait, should I be saying this here? :policeman: :p

Shootar401
03-28-2012, 10:34 AM
My studio (spare room) is 15' x 15' and luckily ceilings just as high. If I stand off the model from the background, I usually have 5-7 feet, or closer.

E. von Hoegh
03-28-2012, 10:44 AM
I believe that was related to war photography, if I am not mistaken.

;)

Yes. The guys who got too close aren't able to warn us.

Steven L
03-28-2012, 11:04 AM
In my studio 99% of all portraits are done at a distance of 1.5 to 2 metres. Why?

In "Western" style societies this is the distance that two strangers set when they are engaged, interested, attentive, respectful, but not invasive of personal space. This gap is so familiar and consistent that facial features, ratio of nose to ears, chin to neck, etc, just look "right".

Once the distance is known framing is organised by choosing the appropriate focal length; long focus for tight face portraits, wide angle for half-figure, and so on.

I like this theory. I'm going to bring this in practice to see if you're right or not.

Vaughn
03-28-2012, 08:23 PM
Far away

Two23
03-28-2012, 08:24 PM
I try to stay at least 25 feet away from my subjects, in case they derail and jump the tracks. My subjects are usually trains.


Kent in SD

Trask
03-28-2012, 08:45 PM
Thinking back on some of Avedon's pictures, I feel that wasn't always the case. Some are obviously in the 5 - 7 ft range. I don't have an example on hand at the moment, when I get to one, I'll give an example, see if anyone agrees.

Yes, Avedon frequently photographed with a Rolleiflex on a tripod, set up quite close to the subject. Prefocused, almost pre-framed. Avedon could speak with the subject, elicit responses, etc. even as he shot (with a cable release) and advanced the film without the subject being fully aware that the photo had been taken. You can see this, IIRC, on the American Masters show re: Avedon. (I'll confess that I can't quite figure out if he was using a Tele-Rolleiflex, or at times a regular Rollei with a close-up set. I'd tend to think the former is more likely.)

Here are examples:

tkamiya
03-28-2012, 09:24 PM
I shoot mostly 35mm.

My subject-to-lens distance really depends on type of shots I'm taking. For portraits, I typically use 105mm. For half-length portraits typically ends up 3 to 5 meters, maybe? Closer (obviously) for tighter shots and farther for longer shots. If my intention is full-length only, then I'd probably use shorter focal length to keep things more practical - say 70mm'ish so I'm not megaphone away from my subjects.

Mainecoonmaniac
03-29-2012, 11:57 AM
Yes, Avedon frequently photographed with a Rolleiflex on a tripod, set up quite close to the subject.

Avedon usually has a dialog with his subjects so I would think working closely. While photographing The Duchess and Duke of Windsor at New York in 1957 knowing that they were dog lovers, he commented about a dog being run over to the couple then snapped the shutter. He made it all up to get an unflattering look on the couple's face.

Shootar401
09-27-2012, 05:30 PM
I've shot at distances far enough from the model to raise my voice to she could here me. Other times I shot close enough to feel the heat from her body. Just depends on the shot.

cliveh
09-27-2012, 05:38 PM
'If your pictures are not good enough, you're not close enough.'

Rober Capa

Yes, but did he mean that in a physical sense, or a psychological sense?

ic-racer
09-27-2012, 08:49 PM
Far enough away that I am not noticed.

jnanian
09-27-2012, 09:17 PM
Yes, Avedon frequently photographed with a Rolleiflex on a tripod, set up quite close to the subject. Prefocused, almost pre-framed. Avedon could speak with the subject, elicit responses, etc. even as he shot (with a cable release) and advanced the film without the subject being fully aware that the photo had been taken. You can see this, IIRC, on the American Masters show re: Avedon. (I'll confess that I can't quite figure out if he was using a Tele-Rolleiflex, or at times a regular Rollei with a close-up set. I'd tend to think the former is more likely.)

Here are examples:


hi trask

i often times have taken portraits with whatever camera i am using on a tripod
( dslr, 35mm, 120 tlr, 4x5 and 5x7 ) have it prefocused, pre framed and
ready with a release just as you described. it is a great way to work with a subject
and while you converse with them, they almost forget the camera is there.
i trained with a portrait photographer who herself was trained in the 20s/ 30s
and she too used this for in-studio head shots and karsh esque portriats ...

it seems that a lot of people when they make portraits don't really interact with their subjects
they let the subject kind of do what they want, and capture what they see ... others dance with their subjects
and the portrait is a result of the interaction between the two of them ...

benjiboy
09-28-2012, 06:43 AM
The distance to your subject defines the perspective. The closer you get the bigger the nose.

This is part and parcel of how the subject interacts with the background too.
No sorry Mark, I can't agree it depends on the focal length of the lens, wheras this certainly applies to standard and wide angle lenses with medium telephoto lenses ie. 85, 90,100,135mm you can get tight head shots without distorting the facial features which is why they are considered "portrait lenses", once you get lenses longer than 135mm they have the opposite effect to large noses, and tend to flatten the features.

benjiboy
09-28-2012, 06:56 AM
[QUOTE=jnanian;1399975]hi trask

i often times have taken portraits with whatever camera i am using on a tripod
( dslr, 35mm, 120 tlr, 4x5 and 5x7 ) have it prefocused, pre framed and
ready with a release just as you described. it is a great way to work with a subject
and while you converse with them, they almost forget the camera is there.
i trained with a portrait photographer who herself was trained in the 20s/ 30s
and she too used this for in-studio head shots and karsh esque portriats ...

it seems that a lot of people when they make portraits don't really interact with their subjects
they let the subject kind of do what they want, and capture what they see ... others dance with their subjects
and the portrait is a result of the interaction between the two of them ...[/QUOTE

You make a very important point here John I.M.O, too many novice portrait photographers approach portraiture as if it's still life, or landscape and instead of interacting with them and producing pictures that have a spark of intelligence and interest in their sitters expressions and eyes instead of one of boredom, and the hope that the ordeal will soon be over.

MattKing
09-28-2012, 01:34 PM
No sorry Mark, I can't agree it depends on the focal length of the lens, wheras this certainly applies to standard and wide angle lenses with medium telephoto lenses ie. 85, 90,100,135mm you can get tight head shots without distorting the facial features which is why they are considered "portrait lenses", once you get lenses longer than 135mm they have the opposite effect to large noses, and tend to flatten the features.

Ben:

I'm with Mark on this.

Perspective is determined solely by distance from your subject.

The focal length of the lens and the size of your film (or sensor) determines how large the image is on the recording medium.

If the format/film size/sensor size is first determined, you can choose a lens that allows a tight crop on the area of interest long with a good working distance.

Your examples of 85mm through 135mm lenses apply well to 135 film cameras. But they may not be long enough for medium format cameras, and would be wide angles for LF.

They could still be used with those larger formats, but in order to get a result with flattering perspective the photographer would need to stand far enough away for that, and the resulting image would be small on the film.

benjiboy
09-28-2012, 02:43 PM
Ben:

I'm with Mark on this.

Perspective is determined solely by distance from your subject.

The focal length of the lens and the size of your film (or sensor) determines how large the image is on the recording medium.

If the format/film size/sensor size is first determined, you can choose a lens that allows a tight crop on the area of interest long with a good working distance.

Your examples of 85mm through 135mm lenses apply well to 135 film cameras. But they may not be long enough for medium format cameras, and would be wide angles for LF.

They could still be used with those larger formats, but in order to get a result with flattering perspective the photographer would need to stand far enough away for that, and the resulting image would be small on the film.
Perspective in the strictly scientific sense isn't what I was refering to but the effects of different focal lengths on the way that the human face it's shape and the relationship of one of it's feature to the other, and how they are rendered on film,
I used reference to the focal length used on 35mm cameras because that's what the majority of people understand and use, people using larger formats could translate it to the formats they use.
I base my remarks on more than four decades of practical portrait shooting, and if anyone want's to test their validity try shooting a close up headshot on 35mm with a 20mm lens.

Diapositivo
09-28-2012, 04:00 PM
Yes. The guys who got too close aren't able to warn us.

That applies to Robert Capa as well, as he died on a mine during the Indochina war.

MattKing
09-28-2012, 10:11 PM
Perspective in the strictly scientific sense isn't what I was refering to but the effects of different focal lengths on the way that the human face it's shape and the relationship of one of it's feature to the other, and how they are rendered on film,
I used reference to the focal length used on 35mm cameras because that's what the majority of people understand and use, people using larger formats could translate it to the formats they use.
I base my remarks on more than four decades of practical portrait shooting, and if anyone want's to test their validity try shooting a close up headshot on 35mm with a 20mm lens.

Ben:

I don't disagree with you that many of us do use our experience with the common "portrait" focal lengths for 35mm film when we consider this issue. The problem that occurs, however, is that trying to covert that experience for use with other formats can be both complex and subject to error.

I shoot several medium format formats, and in at least one case I have to add close-up accessories to my lenses to attain a close up headshot using an appropriate lens. In the end, for me it is simpler to arrive at a single, standard working distance for each intended result (full body portrait, 3/4 body portrait, upper torso and head portrait, shoulders and head portrait, close up headshot) and then choose the appropriate lens to match.