Keeping it in Frame – Compression and long Lenses: OnSet ep. 236

Hey this is Daniel Norton I’m here in my studio in New York City with Polina. and today I want to talk a little bit about kind of lens choice for your background, partially because if you watch enough of my videos you know I’m kind of a widish- lens / normal lens guy, but there’s times when you want to use longer lenses for different reasons, and one reason is the compression that it causes on your background, so if you’re gonna shoot let’s say like a kind of a fashion shot, which we’re gonna do today, and you’re using the smaller background paper the the 53-inch background paper, versus the 9 foot, which often times we’re doing these days because you can use lots of different colors, and it’s kind of fun to mix it up. It works in smaller spaces, you have to really think about your lens choice, so I’m going to go through and show you kind of normalise… normal / wide lens, and then kind of a longer lens, and I’ll show you whatever difference that makes. So you jump on your spot please. So I’ve got the Fuji GFX 50, or here and I have 45mm lens on it, which is just kind of like the wide normal, and if I’m gonna frame up the shot because they’re basically like shorts combo outfit, you know from just below the, the end of the outfit to the top of her head and if I do that with this camera like this… just looking through the back, yeah, and we don’t lose her finger… so I’ll do that. We’ll frame this guy up, and I’m gonna take a peek, so I’m gonna turn my flashes on. I’ve got just for lighting guys, I’ve got a Profoto B1X here in a three-foot octane which is kind of good for this kind… of off to the side, but centered to give even light on her. And then I’ve just got another B1X in the back, just blastyed in the background, I am using a flag to keep the light from hitting her in the arm, I want to create that kind of like dark shape around her. So let’s take a shot so it looks like that… Good. good, we’re shooting at about 5.. 6.5, f8 ish… and we can see right where smidge dark so I’m gonna actually give myself a little more light, I’m going to go to f/5.6. There we go so now we can see clearly.. that you know, we’ve got her in the shot, but you can see all of this stuff in the background. Now granted, if you’re gonna cut it out I guess you could just cut her out still, but you’re really working with limited space here. So just by changing the lens… right, by now of course want to change the lens. If I stay in this position, I’ll only have her head in the shots. I’m going to back up… so it’s really the backing up that’s making loads of difference… when you back up you… compress your space… right… so we’re backing up, We’re going to compress the space on her… and then I’m gonna switch lenses here. I’m gonna switch to the 110… which is kind of like the… it’s… it’s not really super long lens. I’m medium format… it’s kind of like longer than normal… but shorter than you know like full on telephoto… you know. I think it’s around 285 ish equivalent roughly… don’t quote me on that… even though I just said it on video… it’s roughly there.. alright so I’m gonna fire this guy up, and we’re gonna get a similar framing like this… so again I’m kind of just framing it up on just like that… and we can see that you know…. we’re gonna move over a little bit… but we can see that we have so much more background behind her… look if you compare this to this, you can see how much more space she has on either side of her… you know, and that’s that. you know the difference on her body and stuff is not huge at this point… because it’s not a super long lens … whereas a super short lens, but obviously that makes a difference to the compression… but let’s shoot if you like this… because this is how I would do it… yeah we’ll get some shots… so let’s go… and tripod here guys… how you keep it kind of balanced and then we are gonna work here like this, just like that.. nice and pretty right? and nobody would know that we didn’t have a little a little bit.. and nobody would know that we didn’t have a huge studio full of nine-foot backdrops. It’s better yeah… there we go… yeah, good, good… like that… just like that… easy as that guys… we see all the detail, you know… and remember though of course… the background is still only four and a half feet wide… so if she was to stick her arms out… she’ll still come off of it… but with this situation… we have just more room to move… so if you’re gonna do any arms or whatever… we can do like kind of yeah… like a little bit turns to the side… maybe a little more like this… and just the shoulders this way… Yeah there we go… If you can still do that guys… you just got to watch the edges. Oh we can do that… nice and simple… it just like that… nice and clean… compresses the background really easy… let’s see… checking my focus… we’ve got big 50 megapixel files… so my computer’s like… what are you doing to me… but um yeah so…. compression right? You use it for a lot of these… I did a video before if you guys wanna check… back at that one where we use the same lens and I just backed up and then we crop to show you the how it changes the face… it’s not really the lens… but if you actually want to get the same framing… and not like waste pixels you do need to use longer lenses to achieve that. So narrow background it could be that you are using a small roll of paper like this or maybe you just want to put the person in front of a doorway or whatever.. you know anything you want to put them in front of will become more narrow when you use a longer lens, and you back up so I will put Paulina’s stuff in the description… so you guys can follow her… follow me @DanielNortonPhotographer be sure to subscribe to Adorama TV, and I’ll see you next time OnSet

17 Replies to “Keeping it in Frame – Compression and long Lenses: OnSet ep. 236”

  1. Daniel Norton, the source for straight Photography, basic logic and good explanations.
    A man with a mission !!

    Thanks for the effort and sharing.

  2. When photographing older people, say 50+, are there any unique rules or approaches that one has to abide by? I'd like to do some portraits of my parents who are both 70-ish and most portrait material seems to be about photography photogenic, young people. Mostly women. That's not a complaint, it is just I don't know if there are any specifics techniques for older subjects because it rarely seems to be covered.

    Always enjoy your content, Daniel. 🙂

  3. I started using my Sigma 180mm macro for portraits and headshots. Gives headshots a really nice look. I shoot in quite a narrow space and this seems to work very well. Another quality tip from you Daniel.

  4. For sure whenever space allows its good to use a longer focal length to isolate the subject! Love the yellow background very happy.

  5. Hey, Daniel! Why do you tell us you are going to put the model Social Media info below, yet you have never done so? I do not care one way or the other. But a promise is a promise.

  6. I really like how you set up that backdrop. Looks minimalist and what i’m looking for. I saw that it’s a 53”in Savage backdrop, may i know the other stuff? A C-stand and an extra boom arm to hold the backdrop. Is that correct?

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