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A Wildlife Lens For Portrait Photography? Think Outside The Lens With Miguel Quiles

When shooting portraits, most photographers will probably reach for a 50mm, 85mm or 135mm, all of which are excellent options. But what about thinking outside the lens and using something like the Sony 200–600mm f/5.6–6.3 G for portraits? While not commonly looked at as a portrait lens, that’s exactly what Sony Artisan Miguel Quiles uses it for in the video below. “On paper, this isn’t a lens that a portrait photographer would instinctively reach for,” he says. “After all, while the lens is pretty lightweight given the size of it, most photographers probably can’t imagine that f/5.6-6.3 aperture giving them enough background blur to make their portraits pop. I used to think like that too before trying this out, and wow was I ever wrong.” Watch the video below as he goes through some of the portraits he took using the Sony 200–600mm f/5.6–6.3 G. Subscribe to the Alpha Universe YouTube Channel for more.

This big Sony zoom might not be thought of as a portrait lens, but in this video, portrait pro Miguel Quiles shows how he uses it to create stunning portraits.

Photographing his subject outside in front of a tree at 600mm, he’s able to get excellent subject separation, sharpness, compression and detail that could otherwise be lost if he had used a wider focal length and aperture. In the studio, though, is where the lens really shines. Quiles pairs it with the Sony Alpha 7R IV to produce images that look totally different to his typical work thanks to the uncommon approach. “In the studio those higher f-stops work in our favor as it's far more common to use f/6.3 up to as high as f/16 to get that magazine portrait look.”

Quiles says he learned a few things from his experience using the Sony 200–600mm f/5.6–6.3 G, typically thought of as a wildlife and sports lens, for portraits. He shot most everything handheld which worked well for him, but he will say he wishes he had a monopod with him for how long he was shooting with it. There’s a reason you see sports photographers on the sidelines holding these larger lenses on a monopod, and now I fully appreciate that having used it for a shoot.”

“Next time you go out for a portrait shoot, try taking a lens with you that you would normally use for some other style of photography and see what you can make. It might create some unique opportunities to make images that stand apart from the rest.”

See more videos like this one on the Alpha Universe YouTube Channel.

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