On-location portrait sessions can take place in many different environments, and choosing the proper aperture for your portrait images will depend on each scenario. In this episode of Artisan Advice below, professional portrait photographer and Sony Artisan Miguel Quiles shows how he chooses the best aperture when shooting portraits on location.
Professional portrait photographer and Sony Artisan Miguel Quiles shows how he chooses the best aperture when shooting portraits on location.
Many portrait photographers will grab a lens like the Sony 50mm f/1.2 G Master and their default will be to shoot it wide open. While Quiles says it does give a dreamy and beautiful background, he also notes that everyone with that lens is also probably shooting wide open at f/1.2. There’s nothing wrong with getting that look, but he thinks that trying out different apertures to get different looks will make your work stand out. “I’m typically shooting my portraits wide open,” explains Quiles, “all the way up to as high as maybe f/8 or f/11 just based on my lighting conditions that I find myself in.”
In the video he uses many different f-stops, some that might seem high for portraiture. He explains that not every portrait session environment is going to require you to blur out the background. It’s really all about which scenario you’re in. “Really the idea or the reason for shooting at some of these higher f-stops or more narrow f-stops, is to get more of the scene in focus,” he says. “I think what a lot of people do is they’ll find a really cool location and if you shoot at f/2, it’s all going to be blurred away. You won’t really get the context of where that person is at. When you shoot at those higher f-stops – the f/5.6, f/8, f/16 – more of the scene starts to become in focus and you can actually see where that person is.”
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