Featured Photos Weekly Challenge – Portrait3

Instagram Challenge

This Week’s Challenge: #PRTV_portrait3

Whether you were a people person or a bit of an introvert this week with a self-portrait we had some really nice shots! With the holidays coming there's plenty of opportunity for portraits so hopefully you reached out of your comfort zone for this one.Next Week’s Challenge: #PRTV_complementarycolorsFind out more about upcoming challenges and past winners at photorec.tv/prtv.You can follow Photorec.TV on Instagram at @Photorec.tv and the team:

Team FeatureTeam FeatureTeam Feature
Toby’s Features:
Roy’s Features:

A great location for a portrait session and some awesome cosplay really makes for a nice photo.

This is a great portrait but I love the prop! Giving your subject something to interact with in a photo gives your eyes something to track and makes for a interesting subject.

Featured Photos Weekly Challenge - Faceless

Instagram Challenge

This Week’s Challenge: #PRTV_faceless

A focus on people this week without the face. We typically go for headshots so this is a nice focus on the other angles for some creative shots. Next Week’s Challenge: #PRTV_warmFind out more about upcoming challenges and past winners at photorec.tv/prtv.You can follow Photorec.TV on Instagram at @Photorec.tv and the team:

Team FeatureTeam FeatureTeam Feature
Toby’s Features:

The classic mud puddles kids shot that works great for this challenge, having the face away lets us fill in for the emotion.

Little boy heaven. #mudpuddles #dinosaur #freerangekids #prtv_faceless #autumninny

A post shared by Jen Andrews Photo (@jenandrewsphoto) on

Great symmetry and the tunnel really pulls the focus center to you and the horse.

Roy’s Features:

A nice minimal shot with the focus on the person. This reminds me of a shot from the Star Wars trailer.

Sigma 135mm f1.8 A Fantastic Portrait Lens

 https://youtu.be/Zbc7P9NQh14 Before we get into the specifics of this lens let’s chat for a minute about portrait lenses. Some of you might be thinking - I thought the 50mm lens was the best for portraits. And some of you might be thinking - I thought the 85mm was best for portraits, and those focal lengths are really nice, along with the 24, 35, 200 and, the 135mm. Generally, it is accepted that longer focal lengths provide a more flattering look for people. Some of you might not like that over simplification because truthfully it is the distance from subject to the camera that really impacts the look you get. SO a better way to describe this- a lens like the 135mm allows you to fill the frame with your subject and be at a distance that gives very pleasing results. That coupled with the fact that Sigma 135mm ART offers f/1.8, is exceptionally sharp wide open AND is weather sealed. And like the other Sigma lenses in the ART series is well built, has no issues with flaring or chromatic aberration. I also found autofocus to be snappy. The Sigma 135mm ART is also relatively affordable at $1400 which leads me back to my original statement - this is quite possibly the best portrait lens for outdoor photographers who own Canon or Nikon cameras.

this is quite possibly the best portrait lens FOR OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO OWN Canon or Nikon CAMERAS.

Inside I think you will find yourself running out of space except for the tightest headshots, unless you have a larger studio space. And while I did mostly shoot and test this lens on a Sony a7Rii using the Sigma MC-11 adapter, I can’t recommend it, Eye AF works but it is slow and autofocus, in general, is slow with more hunting than I would like. My MC-11 firmware is up to date with the Sigma 135 on the compatible list but it seems to need more work. On Canon or Nikon you will be just fine though it's possible you will need to do some micro focus adjustments and or use the Sigma dock that this lens is compatible with. While I have not personally compared the Sigma 135 f/1.8 to the Canon 135mm f/2 I know from reviewers I trust that the Sigma is sharper, especially at the edges and doesn’t have issues with chromatic aberration that you do see in the Canon. And the Canon 135L is not weather sealed.Buy the Sigma 135mm ART from B&H Photo $1,399Full Raw Downloads
Outdoor portrait photographers who like to shoot backlit or get shots with wonderfully creamy bokeh that are rich in colors and contrast - this lens is awesome, however, If you are a Sony user hoping to use this with the MC-11 adapter, I can’t recommend it at this time.What’s your favorite portrait lens?My Favorite Portrait LensesBuy the Sigma 135mm ART from B&H Photo $1,399 (your use of these links supports our work here - we could not do this without you!)

Instagram Winners - Portraits

People were the topic of the week with portraits. At some point having a camera, portraits are going to come up that you have to shoot. With the challenge this week it was up to you to put your skills to the challenge with a little help from Toby’s videos and lightroom editing tutorial. Some excellent photos this week, you guys really had some great entries that showed off your skills. For next week, as they say, it’s all in the details and with that your new challenge. We want you to focus on a detail of another subject. An interesting subject has a lot of elements that comprise your photo to tell a story. Focusing on only one plays on that strength as the weight of your photo has now shifted to one aspect of the subject which can tell a story by itself. In the case of Toby's previous work as a wedding photographer, detail photos in weddings show the elements that make the day (like the ring shot) and help add to the big moment. To enter post your photos on Instagram before noon next Friday with the tags #PRTV and #PRTV_details.

You can follow Photorec.TV on Instagram at @Photorec.tv

And the team!Toby – @Photorectoby Roy – @RoyMcKeeIII Rose -  @Randomcreativeart

Toby’s Winner:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRSZH8hhmwm/It tells a story and includes a strong portrait - from corner to corner this is a thoughtful photo and that makes it a powerful photo.

Toby’s Honorable Mentions:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRTJR3Chj3d/That backlit glow so nicely separates the subject from the background and yes she is still exposed wonderfully and the gaze off to the side - wonderful!https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ7thmJAMh6/Nice catchlights, soft lighting wonderful depth of field but I do wish that pineapple wasn’t there.

Roy’s Winner:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRTJR3Chj3d/This is a great job of balancing the soft golden light with another source yet still getting that nice backlit glow.

Roy’s Honorable Mentions:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ1ZBExAQ3C/A big part of portraits is that your subject doesn’t have to be looking at the camera. That disconnect can sometimes cause confusion but can be a powerful tool to focus and give context to a photo like this great shot. https://www.instagram.com/p/BRUzbUVB4Im/A nice hiking shot with light almost reaching the point of Rembrandt lighting as you can just start to see the triangle forming on the opposite cheek. I would point out, as Toby normally does, even with trees watch out for odd intersecting lines with your subject as Toby’s going Uncle Martin.

Sigma ART 85mm f/1.4 vs Canon 85mm f/1.2

David McKay, Professional photographer and owner of McKay Photography Academy, joins me to test the new Sigma 85mm f/1.4 and compare it to the much loved, very popular Canon 85mm f/1.2 lens. The Canon has long been a revered lens - offering a beautiful quality portrait lens - With Sigma's latest ART series release is the new Sigma 85mm ART as good? Or does it trounce the much more expensive Canon 85mm f/1.2 - We spent a week shooting with both the Sigma and Canon 85mm on the Sony a7RII and the Canon 5D Mark IVhttps://youtu.be/5TuXRgMjwSgDid you find this review helpful?  Support our work and shop the links below.  Would you like personalized photography help? Become a photorec.tv member today and gain access to my Lightroom tutorials, support group and more. Buy the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 ART - B&H PhotoBuy the Canon 85mm f/1.2 - B&H PhotoBuy the Sigma MC-11 Adapter - B&H Photo What should you do with that extra $700?  - Start saving for the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 or Join us on a McKay Trip

Mastering ETTL and On-Camera Flash Portraits

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBiOJCrak88The first part in a series of videos and one of our most requested video topics in the last year - how do I use my flash.  dec_1_popup_flashYou know the popup flash on your camera? (like the image to the right) We don’t recommend using it as the flash being direct and right over the lens creates harsh lighting. While a soft light from a window or daylight would be preferable owning an external flash also called a speedlight - same name, sounds cooler is best. SPEEDLITE 600EX-RT SIDE LEFT ROTATE UPRecommended Features

  • ETTL for automatic flash exposure
  • A speedlight that lets you rotate and angle the flash direction
  • (optional) Built in wireless support instead of optical, easier to learn

 Test ButtonSetup

  • Four AA batteries required, Eneloops (also listed below) are a good rechargeable option.
  • Due to the charge time leave it on and press the test button. That’s the button on the speedlight that looks like the flash symbol. This lets you double check everything is in good order.

 Attach to Your CameraHotshoe

  • To start shooting you can attach the flash to your camera, it slides onto your camera's hot shoe at the top.
  • Make sure to use the locking mechanism on the bottom of the flash by turning it to make sure it is secure.1330701884000_IMG_243258
  • Turn the flash on and check that it started in ETTL mode (setting on the top left).  If not press the mode button until ETTL is displayed.   

 Taking photos

  • For a test, shooting on the camera is a good start with the flash pointed at your subject.
  • Shoot with a shallow depth of field (f/2.0), Shutter Speed (1/125) to avoid shake, and ISO 800. Generally this makes for an underexposed photo. If it’s not underexposed then don’t use the flash.
  • Turn on the flash in ETTL and take a photo. It should provide enough light for a proper exposure.

fix How does ETTL work?fecETTL works like echolocation but with light. The flash sends a pre flash out to measure the required amount of light needed to expose a photo. In the same second after that test the actual flash happens within the same shutter press exposing the subject correctly.Sometimes when you let the camera decide the exposure, it doesn’t always get it quite right and the same can happen when you use a speedlight - that’s why you have flash exposure compensation. As easy way to adjust the power of the flash up or down relative to what the camera thinks is appropriate for your scene and subject.  Now what if, because it does, the metering is off and the photo is wrong?Just like exposure compensation while shooting in aperture priority you can do the same with ETTL. If you get an overexposed image adjust flash exposure compensation down and turn it up if scene is underexposed. You can either do this in camera or manually on the back of the flash by hitting the center button and raising the exposure. Practical shooting with a flash135Now with portrait shooting in mind having the flash straight at the subject creates flat, boring, light. As a start for portraits indoors we’d like to have a bit of depth and we can do that by turning the flash around, 135 degrees around and 45 degrees up. It seems counter intuitive but by firing the flash over our shoulder it will hit a wall or ceiling and bounce back for a larger light source. As you can see below, shooting in ETTL 0 was a bit flat. You can adjust it by stops just like in AV mode to raise the power to a proper exposure as in ETTL +1. Flash ScaleGear OptionsWe are using a Canon 600RT but are happy to recommend the extremely similar Yongnuo 600RT Canon 600RT, available via B&H and AmazonYongnuo 600RT, available via B&H and AmazonAs for other options check out our article on Yongnuo FlashesEneloop Batteries - http://www.amzn.com/B00JHKSMJU/?tag=ptrv_roy-20

Type of Portrait Lighting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjTARHCTntsGear Used:

butterfly lightingsplit lightingrembrandt lightingloop lightingbroad lightingshort lighting

Family & Group Photo Tips

I thought I would take a few moments and offer some advice and tips for getting a nice group photo. I mostly had Thanksgiving and the Winter Holidays in mind as I wrote these but  apply to group photos anytime. Have some tips of your own? I'd love to hear, leave a comment below.Take the photo soon after everyone has arrived. Don't wait - people will drink, slop food on their faces and generally get more disheveled looking as the afternoon/evening goes on. Maybe this is just my family but timing leads into the next tip...If you all are gathering earlier in the day you should have good light - warm enough to be outside? Light will be the best out there. Gather everyone just inside shade -under a porch, near a pine tree - just make sure the shade is even - you don't want sun spots on people's faces and you don't want people facing into the sun. Chilly outside? Gather inside near a window - basically your popup flash should be last resort so any natural light you can find will be helpful. Not sure if the spot you picked will work well? Practice on a guinea pig...Copyright Tobias GelstonInstead of practicing on the whole group and struggling or feeling pressured, grab a guinea pig for a few moments of practice before you call everyone over. Younger kids that are old enough to stay still for a few are often willing - have them model for you while you get your settings right and after you take a couple of photos spend a moment pixel peeping, use the zoom button to enlarge the reviewed photos and make sure subject is in focus and light is good...I like manual mode where you are in complete charge of the camera. Set the shutter speed around 1/200 of a second - fast enough to make sure everyone is frozen. Now determine your aperture - one small row of people in front of you? You can safely shoot fairly wide(if your lens allows) but if you are nervous f/4 is a safe bet. Big enough group that you are dealing with more than one row of people? f/5.6 is better. Once you decide you aperture you should look at your exposure meter and adjust your ISO to center the meter or expose just to the right of center...Everything all set? bring in the whole group and get them to squeeze together. There is something about photos that emphasizes distance between subjects so what might seem like a friendly gap between two looks like a family feud / canyon in the photo so really get them squeezing and that often encourages some friendly laughter too.Do you need to be part of the group? Self timer is one option and many models will allow several photos to be fired off at the end of the countdown - this gives you options, the general rule of thumb is at least one photo per person in the group. The more you take the more likely you are to have one where everyone's eyes are open and no one is making that weird face. Have a camera with WiFi built in? Use it as the remote but again make sure everything is setup before you slip into the group photo.Got younger kids in the group - I trick them into looking at the camera by asking them if they see the bird in the lens- seems mean as I write it but always seems to help in getting their attention directed toward the camera. Bribes work too and are totally fare game - whatever it takes to get the photo :)Bonus Tips/Suggestions:- Make sure you turn IS (Image Stabilizer) off if the camera will be on a tripod- Get Candids too - don't just do the group photo and don't let everyone pose all night- Snap some photos of the food too