Covers photoshoots and their lens choice

Discussion in 'Portraits and Fashion' started by ruslan, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. To render an unflattering image? I have never had someone ask me to make their nose bigger. Of course you can use a 50 if you just stand further back and crop to get same compression of an 85. It's only a couple of steps for a headshot.
  2. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Plenty of great portraits have been shot over the years with 50mm and 35mm lenses and equivalents. It's not a problem if you know what you are doing. Look at any of HCB's portraits. Richard Avedon with a 360mm lens on 8x10, which is equivalent to 52mm. The idea that portraits should be shot with only something longer than 50mm plays into a myth.
  3. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    One reason can be - intimacy.

  4. Thought #1: Tech limits; iPhones end at 50mm. +
    Shooting romantic partners with 50mm is OK; since having them that close should feel normal to you. - You just might not like to share such an image to not encourage others to get that close to them too.
    A magazine using 50 mm on Putin conveys: We were damn close = know more than others = Are worth reading.
    Focal length is usually picked to play with viewers' subconscious emotions. - You shoot fashion with 200-300 mm, to distract from the person wearing it, since viewers recognize "out of chat range".
    Magazine design goals: "Stand out! Be different!" = Catch an eye & hopefully sell. The cover photo serves to funnel the shopper's attention so they end reading the headlines. Triggering a "Wow!" is harder to do than a minor "???" and both cut the cake.
    ruslan likes this.
  5. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    It is unclear to me whether jochen is agreeing or disagreeing with the point that I made, but in any case here is an expanded answer -

    Conveying the feeling of "intimacy" does not neccessarily mean one's intent was to conveying the feeling of "romance"

    In the sample image - the head short appears quite 'intimate' to my Viewer's Eye: hence (as mentioned that makes me feel that the editorial which is inside the magazine might disclose more 'intimate' details of the Subject - not necessarily personal details, just details that he previously helds more intimately, or 'closer to his chest' or 'has not revealed before', etc, in other words I think "this feature piece might be well worth reading"

  6. The blur in this portrait of the Russian president is in no way obtained via a lens. It is a post-processing blur in Photoshop or similar.

    Why do they shoot head portrait with 50 mm but not 135 mm or even 85 mm?
    Here is the example:


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