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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Courtney newman

member since: 1/27/2006
 

Portrait Photography: Lens, Flash


I'm planning a career in mainly children and family portraits. I have a Nikon D50 with the 28-80mm lens. I also bought the Tamron 28-300mm lens. I'm really wanting to know what other lenses I should have for portraits. I also bought the Sigma EF-500 DG Super NA-iTTL speedlight. Should I get a light meter for this?

5/18/2006 9:23:30 AM

 
Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  A separate flash/light meter is useful with studio strobes where you have to set flash exposure manually. The EF 500 DG Super is fully automatic, controlled by the camera's i-TTL metering. A separate meter would be useful only if you were to use the EF 500's full Manual output settings. For portraits, a prime lens with a wide maximum aperture to narrow the Depth of Field is desirable - 50 f/1.4 (or f/1.8) and 85 f/1.4 (or f/1.8) are good choices for the D50.

5/18/2006 2:52:23 PM

 
Amanda E. Radovic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/16/2004
  Hi Courtney, did you want to do natural style portraiture or studio? If you are wanting to do 'Lifestyle' photography then you wont need a light meter as your camera should do a good enough job. You have your flash to fill and bounce where needed and providing you have enoough knowledge of lighting conditions and when to use flash and how much etc then a light meter would only be used occasionally. I have one and barely ever use it unless doing studio light readings to calculate light ratios.
I have a business as a kiddie/family photographer and find that my most used lenses are my 28-70mm f2.8 constant and my prime 50mm f1.4. Both lenses allow shooting in lower light conditions and allow me to be close enough to the children to interact. I find my 70-300mm useful sometimes for adult photography and for unco-operative kids. I can sit back and unobtrusively shoot them without them realising it. Although I don't use it that often it is indespensable. For children the focal length can be a bit shorter - no less than 50mm though as they have small features anyhow and therefore don't need the shortening effect of a mid tele - hence you can get away with a fast f1.4-2.0 cheaper standard lens for indoor window work and not have to pay the hefty outlay for a f2.8 constant lens. If you can afford it though then it is a real investment - I use mine every shoot.
Good luck

5/23/2006 5:48:55 AM

 
stacey c. damon
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/12/2004
 
 
 
AND....depending on how creative the family would like you to be...try a sima soft focus lens, or a lensababy. For the little ones running around in their natural enviorment, I love my 19-35mm wide angle lens...there is a little distortion but creativley it is fun, kids look great and my parents have bought alot of those images! Think outside the box when it comes to using your lenses...not every family wants that, but you never know who may buy that image! Have fun!!

5/23/2006 1:56:35 PM

 
stacey c. damon
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 10/12/2004
  AND....depending on how creative the family would like you to be...try a sima soft focus lens, or a lensababy. For the little ones running around in their natural enviorment, I love my 19-35mm wide angle lens...there is a little distortion but creativley it is fun, kids look great and my parents have bought alot of those images! Think outside the box when it comes to using your lenses...not every family wants that, but you never know who may buy that image! Have fun!!

5/23/2006 1:58:30 PM

 
Caroline M. Harris
BetterPhoto Member
carolineharrisphotography.com

member since: 4/29/2004
  Amanda
Can you tell me what a F2/8 constant lens is?

5/23/2006 8:47:13 PM

 
Marius Liebenberg
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/21/2005
  Hi Amanda

A constant F2.8 is referred to a zoom lens with a constant aperture throughout the entire zoom range. One example on such a lens is a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L USM. Normally the cheaper consumer lenses have a different widest aperture between the shortest and longest focal length for example 70-300mm f/4-5.6 where at 70mm f4 and at 300mm f5.6

Constant aperture lenses are usually more expensive like the Canon L range and well worth the money if you are serious about your photos. Hope this makes sense.

12/19/2006 2:39:08 AM

 
Debby A. Tabb
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 9/4/2004
  Courtney,
you will get quite a bit of help reading over the Portrait Photography threads as well, there are 21 threads attached.
wishing you the best in all your ventures,
Debby Tabb

12/19/2006 7:23:16 AM

 
Amanda E. Radovic
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 2/16/2004
  Yes - I do agree with Stacey, I have a lovely Tokina 12-24mm wide angle which really gives some fabulous creative results (great for the 'moving sky' effect'. Also great indoors in tight spaces, but be aware that the foreground is accentuated and looks larger - baby features can wind up looking really strange if you aren't careful. If you have the cash to grab a nice wide angle then you really can have some fun with it and it does break from the 'norm'. Great for landscapes too when you aren't 'working'.

12/19/2006 1:59:58 PM

 

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