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Maris
01-13-2011, 03:47 PM
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.

photoworks68
07-13-2011, 12:14 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, 12:28 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

Sirius Glass
07-13-2011, 11:23 AM
'If your pictures are not good enough, you're not close enough.'

Rober Capa

I have seen variations of that in almost any basic book on composition. One of the most common composition mistakes is to not isolate the subject from distractions.

Shootar401
03-28-2012, 09:34 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, 09:44 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, 10:04 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, 07:23 PM
Far away

Two23
03-28-2012, 07:24 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, 07:45 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:

Sirius Glass
03-28-2012, 08:21 PM
I depends on the subject. Portraits are closer; trains are farther away; landscapes vary.

tkamiya
03-28-2012, 08:24 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.

Sirius Glass
03-28-2012, 08:26 PM
Generally, I have found that megaphones are not necessary for landscapes. The same may apply to train photographs.

Mainecoonmaniac
03-29-2012, 10:57 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, 04:30 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, 04:38 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, 07:49 PM
Far enough away that I am not noticed.

jnanian
09-27-2012, 08:17 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, 05:43 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, 05:56 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.