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  1. #11

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    Don,

    You're right but few people ever shoot tight head shots on 8x10. If they do they either work around the distortion or crop the film a bit. AS others said it's shooting too close to the subject that causes perspective distortion.

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    14" is fairly normal for portraits on 8x10". Worked for Karsh.
    Yes, but look at his H/S shots. Though lighting and pose are brilliant many possess perspective distortion. Not to impugn a master, of course, but it's true.

  3. #13
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    You might ask "What would George do?"

    He might just cut off the feet--

    Jane Russell-- http://www.soulcatcherstudio.com/ima...REL_russel.jpg

    Sherillyn Fenn-- http://www.photoinduced.com/wp-conte...lynfennbig.GIF

    Self portrait with Robert Montgomery-- http://media.photobucket.com/image/h...l-bob-1931.jpg

    Or he might be very careful about positioning and modeling the feet and putting them at the edge of the image circle where they'll be darker and a little blurred and generally less prominent (and still amputate one of them)--

    Norma Shearer-- http://www.divasthesite.com/images/N...urrell_030.jpg
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  4. #14

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    If it's really the size of the feet that bother you then minimize their appearance with careful posing. Point them mostly toward the camera. This hides their massive size. It's really no diffeent than pointing a prominent nose directly at the lens giving the apperance that it's shorter. Again though, if the lens is too wide (if you're shooting too close to the subject) you're just making things very difficult for yourself. Move back a bit and crop if you must.

  5. #15

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    David, the Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa (where I live) has a Karsh exhibit running until mid-September. It may go on tour after that. While there are lots of photographs on display, the exhibit also shows the technology behind them. A lot of his personal equipment is on display - enlarger, cameras, darkroom tools, etc. On both of his huge and weighty Calumet 8x10's is a 14 inch Commercial Ektar (same lens I have - now I have no excuses).
    "The beauty and profundity of God is more real than any mere calculation"

  6. #16

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    stepping back would make her feets less bigs,
    close crop will distort them more than letting
    your subject breathe a little bit in the frame ...

    hiding them in hay or off camera works well too,
    but it might look kind of strange ... and fred astaire would not be happy.
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
    PM me for details

  7. #17
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    In fact B&H sells hay just for that purpose. All the New York studios have it.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  8. #18

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    Mike, let me make it clear that she doesn't have big feet. That is my fault. If a woman doesn't have big feet and you give her a pair in a photograph, you are just asking for trouble.

    I was resistant to your idea of moving back because one of my favourite people photographers, Sturges, used an even shorter lens (250mm) and he filled the frame. Or so I thought. I checked a few books to prove you wrong, and dammitall, you are right. He does get back some. I found two photos where he does get pretty close and guess what, the feet are huge. I mean HUGE. See "The Last Days of Summer" page 39 and especially page 55.

    I didn't have the time today, but I am going to try the same pose tomorrow with inanimate objects that have unlimited patience and see what I can do with some of the movements you have suggested, as well as backing off some.

    David, I would get the hay from B&H but they won't ship it anymore without a minimum order and since I don't live on a horsefarm.... I may have to pick some up when I am in NYC in October.

    Seriously, this has been a helpful thread for me. Although I love the 8x10, I am still quite inexperienced with it, particularly when it comes to anything more than very basic movements. So, many thanks for the tips and observations.
    "The beauty and profundity of God is more real than any mere calculation"

  9. #19

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    I find portrait photography to over lap with architecture photography. I think one key is to keep the back of the camera vertical for a natural look.

    1) Our eyes see a building as having parallel sides (assuming it's not a Frank Gerry creation). But, we all know that if you take a fixed back camera and point it up at a skyscraper, the lines of the building will converge on the film. Our brain compensates to make the lines look parallel, the camera does not. I think the same thing happens with portraits, especially full length portraits. Our brains tell us that the subject is standing straight even when looking down from eye level, which in my case is about 5' 6" high (I'm 6' 2" tall). If I put the camera at my eye level (or the model's eye level if the model is shorter) and angle the camera down, the human form gets distorted on the film--a distortion our brains override in every day life. Consequently, as a general "rule", I try to shoot with a vertical back.

    2) For full length portraits, fashion work and nudes, I like to center the camera on the model's belly button. This is just slightly above the mid point of the body (and it follows the golden mean very nicely). I think it gives a natural look to the body without giving too much emphasis to the legs. I have the model lengthen her neck and tilt her head down to look at the top of the lens to avoid the double chin and up the nose shot. I tend to do the same for closer portraits--figure out what I want in the frame and put the camera position just slightly above center.

    3) Remember that things closer to the camera will be exaggerated on the film. I think this is part of your problem with the setting shown in the drawing. The feet are closer to the camera than the model's body and head, and therefore exaggerated. When drawing the model, the artist can use foreshortening--not really possible with a camera. I'd change the model's pose.

    Here is and interesting experiment for you to try: Photograph a mannequin or a model. Start at eye level with the camera tilted down. Take another at eye level with the camera back parallel to the standing model (use front fall to get all the model on the film). Take several more exposures moving the camera lower, until it is below waist level. Look at the final prints and decide on the most natural looking. I have done this (back when 4x5 polaroid was around), and I decided I like the look from belly button height the best. Your milage may vary.

    Another interesting thing to do is to page through magazines and books and look carefully at the photographs. Place your finger in the exact center of the photograph. If there is no obvious or deliberate distortion (less likely today than twenty years ago), then your finger is probably at the level the photographer had his or her camera.

  10. #20

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    Don,

    We are all happy to help. We'll ask questions that you'll help us with someday.

    IMHO, 8x10 isn't any different than any other format when it comes to subject working distance and subsequent choice of lens FL with regards to filling the frame at that distance. Mathematics/physics don't lie... all you "cerebral theorists" please refrain from arguement.

    A sideways pose (or partially sideways) will also help to avoid exageration of elements closer to the lens. Closer means bigger and the shorter the lens the more distorted size relationships become. The opposite also occurs with ultra long lenses... results in perspective compression. Choosing the right lens can be a bugger especially for portraits unless you just keep in mind "working distance"... not lens FL.

    The camera isn't fooled like our brains are. Our brains automatically compensate for distortions... cameras do not. And our brains cannot compensate for distortions on two dimensional media so those distortions become apparent.

    Plant your camera at the right working distance and choose the lens to fill the frame. If you can't fill the frame then use a reducing back or just crop. Once you figure out how working distance affects distortion then you're all set.

    Did I mention working distance is the key?

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