Canon Eos 50d portraits. HELP!

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by bailey_de_almeida, May 23, 2009.

  1. I have just purchased a canon eos 50d & am having some confusions. i need help desperately! my main point of buying this camera is to do portrait photography. i am most interested in photographing children and newborns/maternity.
    the lens that came with the camera at the time of purchase is a 28-135mm.
    when i search online for "newborn photography" or childrens photography" all of the photos that i see are beautifully crisp & clear with very blurred backgrounds. example--
    THAT is exactly what I am trying to achieve, however, I'm having a hard time. Do I need to purchase a different lens? I have changed my aperture to the highest number (which it told me in the manual would create a more blurred background) but when I do this, the shutter speed becomes so slow that it takes over 5 full seconds to capture the picture. With children moving around, I don't have that kind of time!
    Can someone PLEASE help me figure out what I need to do to achieve this beautiful blurred background effect? If i need to purchase an upgraded lens, I have no problem with that, but I don't know where to start.
    Thank you SO much!
  2. What you are trying to achieve is called shallow depth of field. You actually need to use the lowest, not the highest f-stop. You will also find that using longer focal lengths makes it easier to achieve that.
    Set your lens to the widest opening and 135mm. This will give you the shallowest depth of field your lens is capable of. If this is not enough, you will have to consider faster lenses like the 85/1.8...
  3. You should be using a larger aperture (i.e. a smaller number) to create background blur. Be aware, however, that the more blur you create in the background, the less total depth of focus. In fact, if you go a too-large aperture, you could end up with very little of the subject in focus.
    I think that you should be able to get the type of photo that you're looking for with your lens. Try to use the lens at longer focal lengths (100mm and above) at the widest aperture available (I think its f/5.6 for the telephoto end of that lens). If that doesn't get enough blur for you, you should try a faster lens, such as the 85mm f/1.8, which certainly will (with the right flashes and reflectors) produce photos similar to the one that you linked.
  4. "Lowest" or "highest" in terms of f/stops is always confusing, especially since it is really a ratio. What you want are low, single digit numbers to the left of the decimal in the f/stop number, e.g., f/1.8 not f/22.
    What you need is to get a much faster lens and shoot wide open. The zoom you have has its place, but your application is not one that it is extraordinarily well-suited for.
    Depending on how much money you want to spend there are lots of options.
    Cheapest: buy the inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 for around 50-80 USD. There is also a nice 85mm f/1.8. These are both nice for portraiture on an APS-C camera like your 50D.
    To get the convenience of a zoom, you'd probably need to get something like a 28-70mm f/2.8 L lens to get something fast enough to put the background pleasingly out of focus (aka, blurred, "bokeh").
    You can go with primes and switch lenses a lot, but save lots of money, or you can get fast zooms, which are expensive by their very nature.
  5. You can use any lens you like! Bring it into photoshop mask a selected area and simply blur it. Done. Its easy!
  6. another with fake studio backdrop. Lenses never worry me. I also may soften everything!
  7. The photo in the link youve give can be done using photoshop. Thats too easy that type of blurred background. I never worry about any focal length or particular lens. Just get the shot thats the most inportant. In photoshop play around wth edge feathering for less ghosting if you like!
  8. Well you got the wrong ;ens for your purpose IMO, you have 2 options 1) prime, sigma 30 f1.4 + sigma 50 f1.4 + canon ef85 f1.8 this will give excellent OOF. 2) a 17 55 f2.8 IS canon zoom for a lil more versatlity + ef 85 f1.8. either set will help you achieve your goal :)
  9. Sorry I never posted twice. The original person did that and I got confused on why this happened so I thought it was and extension or something. So what do you mean by the wrong lens? I have the ones you have listed above. So chris I have others as well but dont worry about circumstances because photo shop is really cool to use. Heres another that uses a EF 50mm F 1.8.
  10. photo......try doing that with a prime lens. I know I can use a zoom lens of which I also have 70 - 210 amoung others I own but did this with a prime. I want the subject in focus as did the client.
  11. Bailey, Based on the image you linked to the lens you have will be adequate to start with for what you want to do, but you will probably soon discover you need a different lens. I like to recommend the canon 50mm/ f1.8. Its cheap and at f2.8 or f4 performs nearly as well as its more expensive siblings. Also its a good focal length for portraiture.
    Finally do some web surfing about exposure basics and depth of field. You night start with these two sites:
  12. G`day Steve, my reference to posting was actually to bailey the OP and certainly it caused a lil confusion. I also have most these lenses but the 28 135 is slow and not capable of good OOF,at the long end unless similar Photoshop work is done as you demonstrated. cheers :)
  13. Bailey, if you want to achieve a more natural look to your portraits, do not "photoshop" them like the ones above. No offense to Steve, but the photos above don't look very realistic, which, imo, is what the asker is trying to achieve.
    If you want to use the max aperture while getting fast shutter speeds (assumming you'll be using the kit lens), the answer is simply, shoot with a lot of light. Lighting is one of if not the most important thing in photography. :)
  14. Second the opinion of Benson. The examples scream (moan?) "I'm Photoshopped!". ;)
    Sometimes it's best overall to get it the way you want it in the camera.
  15. Am a long-time user of Craig's Actions, "The PorcelainSkin, Facial Enhancements and a variety of Softening / Defining Actions are just a few of the many "must have" Retouching Tools for Portrait and Commercial applications, that you have within the Craig's Actions Toolkit."
    The PorcelainSkin and the PorcelainSkin Hidden are great tools.
  16. You need fast primes. 50mm, 85mm, 135mm. Things of that nature.
    Here is a test shot I took the other day with a 50mm 1.4 on my new camera.
  17. It think the 50mm is a good starting point. You can get the 50mm 1.8 for around $100. From there you can decide what other lens you need whether it is an 85 or 135. You can even use a fast zoom like the 70-200 2.8, which would give you more versatility. Focal length and large apertures are what blurrs the background. The larger the aperture usually the better, shoot for 2.8 or better. I prefer the 1.4 version of the 50mm even though it is more expensive, you can stop down to 1.8 like in the photo above. This allows you to improve image quality without reducing the quality of the bokeh.
  18. Here is another shot with the 50mm on my D200 body shot @ f2.2
  19. You obviously cannot aquire professional portraiture results w/o at least some schooling (through experience or tutorials). You'll need to upgrade your lens also. For childrens portraiture, an 85/1.8 is ideal on a crop sensor. It's tight enough to allow head and shoulders filled frames, but if you step back, it can give a wide range of capability. The 50 1.8 (or 1.4) is more than a capable portrait shooter also, only it's a smidge wide for tighter kids work.
    This is a sample of the 85/1.8 @f2.5 on a 50D
  20. I should say that I try at all costs to avoid PSing blurred backgrounds, because it is VERY hard to make it look realistic, maybe a novice couldn't tell, but it is so hard to make the bokeh proportional to the actual difference, I don't even bother... DPP did some sharpening to these when it converted the RAWS to Jpegs though...
    here's another, w/ the 50/1.4 on a 50D @f1.6...
    The difference between the two (85/1.8@f2.5 & 50/1.4@f1.6) cuts the focal plane by two/thirds (or more!) as your aperture size increases, the focal plane exponentially decreases (or increases depending on the way you are going)
  21. Wow Marcus that’s a nice photo but I’m not sure I would have taken it with all the food "spread" on that cute face. I guess I can Photoshop that off not to hide that lovely face. Somehow it looks gruesome, I got a shock i thought it was blood.

    Anyway I guess a lot of you are optical purists that want "everything" optically captured". That's "honkee doree" but there are other tools available to photographers and one of them is Photoshop. It’s used in most photo studios (commercial ones) throughout the world. My examples may be to upsetting for the "optical purist" but remember that’s what the client wants and that what I care about.

    Satisfy your clients request, Satisfy your clients request, Satisfy your clients request the rule of thirds to any business satisfying their clients request.

    These settings can be altered from minimal to "over the top" for those that don’t use Photoshop or don’t know that these values of blurring can be adjusted to "taste". I’m just saying get the shot that’s what matters. You don’t need a humongous amount of lenses like I have because a small adjustment in ps can achieve the desired results. Glamour photography and tabloid photos and magazines live and breed Photoshop. Its big money and that where its at. I’m in vogue and my clients requests are all that matters to me not critique in "plein air". There are options besides one eyed focused parallax vision like a racehorse with blinkers on.
  22. Bailey, I would recommend keeping the kit lens for a while and keep working until you get the look you want. The 28-135 zoomed out to 100mm or so should give you a nice shallow depth of field (blurred background) at the max aperture. Set your camera mode dial to Av and select the largest aperture which will be the lowest number on the screen. You should be able to get the look you want with that rig. Later on as you get more critical, you may want to consider a fast prime such as the 50 1.4 or a fast telephoto like the 70-200 f/2.8. The 50 will allow you get 1/2 length portraits at a reasonable distance, while the tele zoom is good for head and shoulder shots. I have the 28 1.8 for my 40d and it's great for full length shots of my baby indoors.
  23. Bailey as many have said you need to use the largest appeture which with you kit lens will be 5.6 when you have the lens extended to 100 or 135mm. You should set the camera to AV 5.6 and if the time is not 125sec or faster you will need to increase the ISO to 400 or 800. The pictures will look best at ISO 100. In doors you will often find the the light is a problem and then the time is to slow. Outside its best to find a place in the shade. At 5.6 you will have out of focus backgrounds as long as the background is not to close to the child or children. You will also find you will need to be quite far away from them so you get the child in the shot.
    If you you use a 85 1.8 lens and set it AV and 2.8 you will get very pleasing results you will have a nice distance between you and the children and will not have to worry about the background being to far away. If you close the lens down to 1.8 you often find only part of the childs face is in focus.
    You should also think about a flash? if you make a perfect exsposure of a child that has his face in the shadows you will have a perfect shot of that face in shadow. In doors where light can be the problem you will get best results if you do not point the flash at the child but at the ceiling or an adjastent wall this will splash a bit of light on the child and make for more pleaseing results. All of this takes lots of practice and fine feeling.
    An alternative to flash is light coming through a window, that shines on the child can make really super shots.
    The 50mm 1.4 lens is also very good. You will need to get closer again but you can use this when there is very little light when you practice it give excellent results.
    For a single zoom lens you could look at the 17-55 efs lens this will give an appeture of 2.8 at all lengths. you can then use 30mm a classic also 55mm which on a crop sensor like the 50D will give the same as 50mm and 88mm.
    The primes are super but in the begging the zooms are very good as well. I think you can use the kit lens as described and then if you what to try a second lens I would try the 85mm 1.8 lens. Regards Carl
  24. LOL little vampire baby? That's the red velvet cake for ya! Maybe I should have PSed it to yellow, and it would have been a little less shocking! Of course you are aware that sometimes kids get dirty .... (sometimes reality is inconvenient). Of course the reason I posted those is because they demonstrate the differences in DOF, and the proportional effect of large apertures on DOF.... all w/o even opening PS! (they are just snapshots afterall)
    Anyway I guess a lot of you are optical purists that want "everything" optically captured". That's "honkee doree" but there are other tools available to photographers and one of them is Photoshop.​
    Speaking for myself (instead of generalizing), IMHO, PS is an excellent tool. Used in capable hands, it can do marvelous things. But just like my sawzall, it can tear s__t up too! It can rip a normal photo to shreds if you just hack away with it!. Seriously though, 'optical purity' aside, it's not the use, or even excessive use of PS that bothers us (speaking for the group now), I think it's the poor use that bothers us 'optical purists'.
    Alas, but I am wrong, not in my feelings, but by neglecting the very real truth that as a commercial photographer your job is to produce content for your clients... if they like it, you've succeeded. I'm just glad I've never had a client ask me to do that to a photo.... It'd be tough.
    And of course there is the original question, which, thanks to Steve is a little more complicated than "No, the 28-135 won't cut the mustard buy a better lens" so here's my complete answer to the OP's question... "Yes, you can spend hours in PS to simulate the effect you acquire naturally (and instantly) simply by using the right tool for the job, but, no, the effect still won't be as realistic, as demonstrated above. Buy a better lens for portraiture."
    My analogy would be .... Yes, technically, my Honda Civic can tow my 33' sailboat...slowly. wouldn't want to put her in or take her out with it though...
  25. MB are you Dutch?
  26. Marcus, I love that last shot! Thanks...
  27. This is not a "yellow splatter" alternative nor a impressionists impasto. My goodness

    "Maybe I should have PSed it to yellow,"

    "But just like my sawzall, it can tear s__t up too!" Theres lots of that in your composition but hey I've fixed that!


    "My analogy would be .... Yes, technically, my Honda Civic can tow my 33' sailboat...slowly. wouldn't want to put her in or take her out with it though..." ? Huh?

    Anyway enough of this. I cant be bothered anymore. Like I said I have all the necessary lenses and yes you need a fast lens F1.7 etc. But heres others done in photo shop. Just wanted to help.

  28. Bailey, you may want to start here

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