You wouldn’t think shooting a portrait could be all that hard but I have seen more simple head shots ruined by bad lighting and busy backgrounds than I can shake a monopod at. During a recent Chronicles in Motion video shoot Cheri O’Neil, founder of the new video company asked me to take a new picture for the website.
This was going to be a quick, down and dirty portrait but I still had to make it look good. Cheri wanted her picture to be with her video camera so we headed to a nearby park for a quick shoot.
knowing that bad backgrounds ruin more pictures I decided to shoot with a 200 mm focal length lens as close to maximum aperture as I could. Standing as close as I could to fill the frame on Canon 5D Mk III would render the background a nice bokeh with random highlights from light filtering through trees in the background. I placed Cheri in fiull shade to get a quick shot without having to resort to fill flash.
I had the background effect I wanted and the 5D MKII full frame sensor really made the selective focus pop nicely so all I had to do was maintain a a good color balance. Canon’s automatic white balance is good but I still tried a few shots set to the open shade balance setting. I could have a held a little more depth of field on the camera in a few pictures but it helps keep the viewer’s eye on the subject which would by Cheri in these photos.
It just goes to show a nice portrait can be made quickly by just using the right lens and aperture to control the background. I was supposed to give Cheri a picture of me for the website as well but would would want to see a photo of a balding fat photographer? I think I will send her a shot of my coffee cup and see if she notices.