Shooting people with a 16-35... Any good ?

elflord

EOS 7D MK II
Aug 2, 2011
692
0
wickidwombat said:
the 16-35 can be great for portraits you just have to be carefull of 2 main things
whatever part of the person is more to the edges of the frame will be more distorted than in the center
and whatever part of the person is closer to the lens will be exagerated / enlarged
you can use these to make interesting creative compositions
Yep. This thread wouldn't be complete without mentioning Platon http://www.platonphoto.com/, a portrait photographer who makes creative use of perspective distortion. However, this is not a task to be undertaken lightly, it's always a bit risky, and even he gets himself in trouble at times with his approach (e.g. the infamous "crotch shot" of Bill Clinton for Time magazine). So my advice to OP would be that, for the sake of your marriage, stick with nice telephoto shots for portraits when you're taking portrait shots of your wife (85mm-135mm or 50-85 on APS-C) or slightly wider (50mm on FF, 35mm on APS-C) for full body portraits.

If you or your friends end up having kids, they make very good subjects for wide angle shots.
 

dirtcastle

EOS RP
Dec 10, 2011
390
0
eric-nord.com
A few strategies...

1. Shoot toward the long end.
2. Keep subjects away from corners and edges as much as possible.
3. Crop! On a 5D3 you could probably crop out half the image and be fine.
4. Experiment with lens correction in post (admitedly, I often find this unsatisfactory).
5. Try unusual angles and poses. This is where a wide angle can shine in portraits because sometimes the distortion can give the shot a more dynamic/energetic feel.

Here's an example...


birthday party by Eric Nord, on Flickr
 

Axilrod

EOS 6D MK II
May 12, 2011
1,379
0
dirtcastle said:
elflord said:
Yep. This thread wouldn't be complete without mentioning Platon http://www.platonphoto.com/, a portrait photographer who makes creative use of perspective distortion.
Anyone know what lenses Platon uses? I'm especially curious about what he used for his UN world leader portraits.
He shoots Hasselblad so I'm sure one of their very pricey wide-angle lenses. It's probably their 28mm, which is about as wide as a 16mm on a Full Frame DSLR.

As for the OP, yes the 16-35mm is a great lens and you can have a lot of fun with it. It's not as great wide open in my opinion but at around f/4-f/5.6 it's pretty damn sharp.
 
P

prestonpalmer

Guest
The 16-35 is a fantastic lens. Good for lots of stuff, including portraits. Just play with it a bit first and you will learn how to use it to avoid distortion.
 

Caps18

EOS RP
Feb 24, 2011
286
0
Yes, you can use it, but make sure you are far enough away from the camera and like others have said, not near the corners on 16mm-20mm. Most people use 28mm on their point & shoot cameras, and their pictures come out fine.

I would also take along a 50mm f/1.4 or 85mm f/1.8, but then again, it is a honeymoon and taking pictures shouldn't be the #1 priority.

Practice first. And have some good example photos in mind.

If you get a UV filter, I recommend the B+W slim 82mm one... http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/132979-REG/B_W_66026943_82mm_UV_Haze_010.html
 

1982chris911

EOS RP
Jul 14, 2011
372
6
www.flickr.com
elflord said:
So my advice to OP would be that, for the sake of your marriage, stick with nice telephoto shots for portraits when you're taking portrait shots of your wife ...
I was really laughing when I read this cause I was just thinking the exact same ... Otherwise he would maybe end up with the choice of keeping photography as a hobby or his marriage after the trip when SHE sees the distorted results ... ;-)
 

slclick

Matched Grip
Dec 17, 2013
2,825
251
When at the 35 end and for group shots it's very nice...not ideal but not bad at all.
 

BillB

EOS 6D MK II
May 11, 2017
902
125
The Bad Duck said:
When it comes to lenses Jean Reno said it best in the movie Leon;

"The tele is the first lens you learn how to use, because it lets you keep your distance from the client. The closer you get to being a pro, the closer you can get to the client. The super wide angle, for example, is the last thing you learn. "

Ok so perhaps that was not the exact quote...

While focal lengths of about 80-135 will give the most flattering look on your subject, a wide angle combined with a lot of energy can give great results. But be aware of a few things - distortion gets worse the closer to the frame you get. So place your portrait subject in the centre if you want the face to dominate the picture. I think the best way to use a wideangle lens for portraits is to do full body portraits with lots of depth of field. When the head is smaller in the picture its harder to spot if the nose seems a bit too big.

So, CAN you do great portraits with a 16-35? Yes. But it is hard to make them look good. Does it really add anything to your 24-105? Not reall, for portraits. And the 24-105 @ 105 /4 is not too bad when it comes to portraits. So when it comes to your portraits, use the 24-105 most of the time and then go crazy with the 16-35 and try to build up loads of energy - then you really don´t care as much if things looks a bit off.
Exactly. The 16-35 can be used for portraits, but mostly toward the 35mm end of its range, which is also covered by the 24-105. Also, it takes some practice to get the most out of a 16-35, especially at the wider end.
 

ScottyP

EOS 7D MK II
Feb 18, 2012
791
0
Pennsylvania, USA
Do yourself a favor and watch a lot of videos on composition using wide angle lenses. When I got my 16-35 i was debating between it and a 24-70. On the way home from the camera shop I stopped at the zoo and all my shots looked terrible, with nothing large enough to be interesting or even recognizable. I kind of got that cold clammy feeling like you get if you make an enormous expensive mistake.

Looking into proper composition really turned it around. You need to get something in the close foreground for interest, whether it be your subject or something else. Shoot up close unless it is a person's face, in which case don't. Shooting from down low is good too, for getting the ground in the shot.
 

stevelee

FT-QL
Jul 6, 2017
988
143
Davidson, NC
Mokh24 said:
I still dont have too many lenses... I only had the 18-55 kit lens with my old xti and a 70-300 sigma, i just got the 24-105 and the 16-35 is on its on way... So that's it..

I actually WANT to show a lot of the background scene ( or else i would use the 24-105 for portraits)... But i wanna know is if I use the 16-35, will I get unacceptably distorted images when shooting people ?
I agree with everybody who says that something around 85mm is perfect for shooting portraits, but that doesn’t answer your question. There is no magic evil spell cast on people’s faces by wide angle lenses. Whatever the lens, you just don’t want to be too close to the subject unless you want the face to look funny. Pictures of people in landscapes can look great.

I also recently got a 24-105mm lens with my camera purchase, and I am quite pleased with its quality and usefulness. I will buy something wider some day, likely a 16-35, but 24mm covers almost everything I want to shoot. I’m used to traveling with my G7X II, as I am now, and it goes wide to a 24 equivalent, and I’ve rarely missed having something wider. It zooms to 100mm equivalence, so that familiarity could account for how comfortable I am with that lens on the 6D2.
 

hne

Gear limits your creativity
Jan 8, 2016
299
16
If you want one human being be the main subject, I would advice against going much wider than 35mm. If the environment is the primary subject and one or two people are a convenient juxtaposition, go wild!

35 wide open is a personal favourite of mine for portraits outdoors, at about 2 metre distance. Slightly closer for kids.
 

niels123

EOS RP
Jan 27, 2015
278
0
Mokh24 said:
I still dont have too many lenses... I only had the 18-55 kit lens with my old xti and a 70-300 sigma, i just got the 24-105 and the 16-35 is on its on way... So that's it..

I actually WANT to show a lot of the background scene ( or else i would use the 24-105 for portraits)... But i wanna know is if I use the 16-35, will I get unacceptably distorted images when shooting people ?
You can perfectly use it, but you have to carefully consider your framing. It distorts heavily at close focus (so full body shots can be oke) and it has the 'wide angle effect' (don't know if there's an official name) at the edges of the frame, so don't fill the frame completely from head to feet and don't put yourselves completely on the (long or short) edge and you'll be fine. :)

Attached are 2 shots taken with the 16-35 at 16mm on a 5D3.
 

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Mikehit

EOS 5D MK IV
Jul 28, 2015
3,160
336
Modern sensors are so good, what is wrong with having the person far enough away to avoid distortion and crop in? Yeah, people will talk about 'not using the lens to its full potential' (whatever that means) but it is no different to putting 16-35 on a APS-C camera.
Sure, if you want the pride of knowing you have the best possible quality shot in the bag, but if you want to travel light it is a strong option.

In cases like this it is important to understand the principles behind the 'standard' approach. There is nothing magical about an 85mm lens that makes it ideal for portraits - but on a 35mm sensor, but when getting a head and shoulders portrait using an 85mm means to have a frame-filling portrait you stand at a distance at which the proportions of the facial features look 'right'. It is the camera-to-subject distance that is most critical.
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
7,942
490
Can you shoot people with a 16-35 on FF? Absolutely. They just won't be classic head/shoulders work, they will be environmental portraits, candids, street, travel, etc.

My basic rules for when to do this:

  • Keep your distance unless you want that cow in the pasture distortion thing.
  • Keep your subjects near center but not necessarily centered if you do need to get closer to them -- this is vital for the 16-20mm side of things
  • Try to incorporate them into the environment on the wider FLs -- see street shot and boulder lifting shot
  • Never shoot head/shoulders framing, even on the 35 end -- you will get facial distortion.
The short answer is to bring the 16-35 lens for sure, but also have a 24-something handy for when you do want to frame more tightly on head or head/shoulders. A few examples below -- not stellar work by any means, but a few examples of a wide lens working with subjects in frame.

Dog = 24mm (16 is money for pets/animals, IMHO, I could have gone tighter, but this was a 24-70 lens)
Neon = 16mm (center-ish guy okay, but people in margins get mangled)
Canada = 16mm
Boulder lifter = 16mm

- A
 

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