New Feature: Playlist Center! Pick a topic and let our playlists guide the way.

Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Foundations of Photography: Lenses
Illustration by

Exercise: Taking ugly self-portraits


From:

Foundations of Photography: Lenses

with Ben Long

Video: Exercise: Taking ugly self-portraits

In the last video we looked at how your choice of camera position and focal length dramatically changes the sense of space in your scene. This was the whole business where I shot a portrait of Ben out on the lawn in front of a tree and there was a building around, and as I moved around we saw the tree get closer and farther. In that example you might think, "Oh, okay, I get it, in big spaces, there's a big compression of depth or change of sense of depth in the scene," and that's true, but it's important to understand that that depth compression, that stretching and squashing thing, also happens at a micro level on everything in your scene, and this can really get you when you're shooting portraits.

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
please wait ...
Foundations of Photography: Lenses
2h 32m Beginner Feb 11, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Many of the creative options available to a photographer hinge on an in-depth understanding of lenses. In Foundations of Photography: Lenses, Ben Long shows how to choose lenses and take full advantage of their creative options. The course covers fundamental concepts that apply to any camera, such as focal length and camera position, and shows how to evaluate and shop for DSLR lenses. The second half of the course focuses on shooting techniques: controlling autofocus, working with different focal lengths, and managing distortion and flare. The course also examines various filters and contains tips on cleaning and maintaining lenses.

Topics include:
  • Understanding field of view and camera position
  • Depth of field and lens choice
  • How to choose a lens
  • Examining lens features
  • Using specialized lenses such as fisheye and tilt/shift lenses
  • Focusing techniques
  • Using filters
  • Camera maintenance
Subjects:
Photography Cameras + Gear Photography Foundations
Author:
Ben Long

Exercise: Taking ugly self-portraits

In the last video we looked at how your choice of camera position and focal length dramatically changes the sense of space in your scene. This was the whole business where I shot a portrait of Ben out on the lawn in front of a tree and there was a building around, and as I moved around we saw the tree get closer and farther. In that example you might think, "Oh, okay, I get it, in big spaces, there's a big compression of depth or change of sense of depth in the scene," and that's true, but it's important to understand that that depth compression, that stretching and squashing thing, also happens at a micro level on everything in your scene, and this can really get you when you're shooting portraits.

Here is what I mean. I'm going to take a shot of him now and because I'm standing kind of far away I've got to zoom in. So I got my lens zoomed all the way unto 105 millimeters and I'm focusing on him and I'm taking my shot and if you look at this picture, we have a very nice portrait. You can see that camera there in the background looks a certain distance from him and he has struck this very dramatic pose. Now I'm going to shoot it again, I'm going to move closer and because I'm moving closer, if I want to frame the shot in the same way, I've got to zoom out.

So again, my camera position dictates a particular focal length if I want a particular framing. So I'm going to try and take what is basically the same shot and here it is. Now first off, look at that camera in the background. It looks like it's farther away than it was before. As we saw before, the entire sense of space in the scene is different. Things that were close up now appear further away. There's been a change in the depth compression in the scene. More significantly though, look at his face. It's completely different from one image to the other.

His nose is bigger when I'm closer in shooting wide-angle than it is here, where I'm farther back and shooting telephoto. In the telephoto shot, look at this, his hair looks at it's much larger compared to the wide-angle shot here, where it looks like we've actually done something to his hair, and you saw it. We didn't do anything at all,.I just moved in closer. The distance from his nose to ear is different in the wide-angle shot. His entire face has been stretched and squished from one shot to another, and it makes them look very, very different. Now one is not necessarily right and one is not necessarily wrong, but they are very different images.

One is perhaps a little more flattering. This wide-angle shot is possibly a truer indication of his character. The thing to understand here and really notice is that where I stand and my associated focal length really has a huge bearing on how he looks. That's why very often portrait lenses are a particular focal length. It's generally accepted that a good portrait lens is one that's a little bit longer than normal. So on this camera, which has a full frame sensor, normal focal length, that is one that has the same field view of my eye, is about 50 millimeters, so something a little longer than that, usually around at 80 to 85 is a nice portrait lens, because that extra bit of telephotoness will compress features some and that's a little more flattering.

Also when you're looking for portrait lens, you typically want to a fast portrait lens, that is one whose aperture can open very wide, because that's going to give you the ability to really blur out backgrounds and that shallow depth of field you're going to be able to get when you do that is possibly going to soften skin tones a little bit. Remember to keep the eyes in focus. So the big lesson here is that the depth compression that you have control of as you choose different camera positions and associated focal lengths is not just about controlling the sense of space in the scene. It's also about controlling the amount of distortion on people's faces or any particular object that you're shooting.

There are currently no FAQs about Foundations of Photography: Lenses.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

join now Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Foundations of Photography: Lenses.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.