1.6 for a GROUP?

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by denise_cuc, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. I was recently reading an interview featuring a well-known photog in Chicago. She stated that as a rule, she always shoots at 1.6 (unless she's on a beach or it's very sunny), even for groups because she keeps them on the same plane. This seems extremely difficult to me and I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around 1.6 with a group. Does anyone have any examples of this scenario? I'm very curious to see the results.
     
  2. If indeed "1.6" means f/1.6, that does seem odd ... but it's also completely without any context. What format camera? What focal length lens? What size group? What working distance between photographer, group, and background? What output format (small prints and web viewing, or large prints, etc)?
     
  3. If you could link to the article in question, that would be helpful. When I see 1.6 I think crop-factor not f-stop, but as Matt points out, without context there's no way to know.
     
  4. Yes, f/1.6. She didn't go into too may specifics. She mentioned that her go-to lens is the 85mm 1.4 and she shoots Nikon. Don't have much else. I'm more interested to see if anyone has done this and their examples.
     
  5. Found the article.
    http://www.mcpactions.com/blog/2011/02/01/interview-with-audrey-woulard-professional-childrens-photographer/
    Most of the sample images in the article have a shallow depth of field, so she's certainly shooting with a large aperture.
    As for other examples, it's hard not to find portraits with a shallow depth of field. Lots of practice and understanding your equipment will get you there.
     
  6. You can do a lot of thought experiments using a depth of field calculator (like this one).

    Let's say you're using an FX-format Nikon body, with the 85/1.4 on board. If you're working at 20 feet (a reasonable distance for that lens/format combo while shooting a group of people), and shooting close to wide open at f/1.6, that gives you just over a foot and half of tolerable DoF. That means that if you have a group of people whose heads are all more or less in a plane parallel to the sensor, you've got plenty of DoF to get all of their faces in focus, with several inches ahead/behind each to allow for a bit of drift. Not a lot of tolerance there, but it can work. It gets a lot dicier when you go for torso shots from more like 10 feet - a lot less DoF to work with.
     
  7. Yes, Audrey Woulard uses f1.6--check the EXIF on her images. She gets terrific results, too.
     
  8. But this photographs are just snapshots with weak color, shallow depth of field, every photograph the same.... I can't see no practice and understanding of equipment, no terrific results, I see just one terribly popular idea of every amateur on this planet.
    Sorry for my comment but someone must say something.
     
  9. I'd say she does that one thing very well, have no issues with the color, and the DOF choice suits both the subject (little children) and what she's selling. I'd guess the clients are thrilled. It's harder to capture nonchalant - especially with little kids - than many acknowledge.
     
  10. http://www.flickr.com/photos/7448182@N07/1972998620/
    imagination!
     
  11. Jimi: As an example of 'imagination' you have shown us a shot which was not taken by the photographer who posted it. I would like to see what you consider 'professional' work with 'strong color'. Audrey Woulard has an interesting style, good marketing and a clear rapport with her subjects. The color in most of her images is strong--check the numbers if you don't believe me. All of her subjects have a strong connection to the viewer/camera. They are clearly relaxed and happy. As a parent, I would be very happy to pay her to photograph my kid. (Or 'would have been'--he's grown now.)
    As I sometimes say, "Show me da pitchers!" If Audrey Woulard's technique is so simple, shoot one just like hers. I think before we go dismissing the work of established, successful professionals with a sneering 'amateur', we ought to demonstrate what we can or can't do. Yes, I am well aware that there are good critics who cannot produce the art they criticize, but neither do they condescend to those who can.
     
  12. Somebody(ies) need(s) to provide me with funds so that I can do a proper study with Sony 85 mm f/1.4; then try my hand shooting similar images (as Audrey W). In any case ...

    ... I did not find any GROUP photos (of significance where amazement over use of large aperture could be justified); at most there were two children (seemingly in the same plane). Just after reading the title, I was actually expecting two rows or staggered arrangement of (about 5-6) people.
     
  13. come on, if you gave most clients the black and white picture of the kids with marbles, they'd say 'they all look so grumpy, and why do i want pictures of marbles anyhows, i just want to see my kids' lol
    i think it's knowing what your client wants, and giving them that.
     

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