Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Confusing Portrait

So despite the fact that I believe I had excellent lighting, (overcast, and not 12-noon sun positioning) I'm not completely satisfied with how these portraits turned out.

click to enlarge, or see it on Flickr
Aperture: f/2.6
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 80

Despite the fact that I purposely put the background elements way far back from the subjects, and shot at a very wide aperture, my background absolutely refused to blur. This could just be because of my super short focal length (because the camera I used for this isn't DSLR, my focal length was actually 5.8mm, though I think the small sensor size makes it appear longer). Other than that, I have no freaking explanation.

Pretty frustrating, but within about a week, I'll have my Rebel XSi and P&S focal lengths will be a non-issue.

If any of you more experienced photographers have any kind of advice on how to make these better, please share. I still consider myself a total portrait noob.


  1. All I can say is, enjoy your DSLR, you'll love it!

  2. It's pretty frustrating but I think you'll really enjoy the control your new camera will give you. As far as blurring the background? Maybe pp in photoshop,

  3. I imaging that your work the the DSLR will be fantastic. I look forward to seeing it.

  4. Were you anticipating a kick in the nards? Well, for what it's worth - it's a fun photograph! To address your problem... I gather that you are trying to blur the background elements for your portrait composition... Focal length for portraits should be much tighter, which will allow for the narrow DoF. Of course this presents problems for full-length portraits. You will have more control with SLR, but you will have even MORE control with the lenses you choose. My photography instructor gave me a good tip once. If I'm out photographing landscape - she said put the camera mode in "landscape" - it's a built in preset that I know your Canon has. Take photos on this setting, and then look to see the settings that the camera assigned. Then you switch over to aperture priority mode, and experiment with similar settings. Most of my shots are done with aperture priority. Now, I know that your canon digital has a "portrait" mode preset. This preset generally softens the tones for skin, and gives you a bit of DoF. Try the same thing, then switch to aperture priority and go from there. Move in tighter to subject. See what happens! I am a portrait noob too, so I'm just throwing ideas out there! Light looks pretty flat here too, perhaps a more dramatic lighting situation - like sunset, or side lighting...

  5. Heh. I guess I didn't realize it looks like that. This was just a candid shot. I kept it because I liked the facial expressions. I think I was in the middle of some dumb joke, and my date was like... "?"


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