Face close-up tips and tricks and gear?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by conamor, Jul 24, 2016.

  1. conamor macrumors 6502


    Jun 27, 2013
    Good day!

    I'm kind in a rush on this one. I have to take a close-up picture of my 2nd baby and the rush is that I want the picture to be as close as the date that my 1st baby had when the shot was taken.

    I did not take the first picture but the whole face is the picture (with some crop). It was taken by another photographer with a 70-140 I believe.

    I have a 35mm with a D3200 but I can't seem to take the picture as close as I would like to. Would it be because of the lens? Should I be using a 50mm? I am at 1.8 aperture, I tried from 100 to 800 ISO and also played with the speed. It just doesn't want to focus...

    Should I be getting myself another lens for this shot? I want the picture to be as crisp as possible (without cropping or losing quality).

    Let me know if I am doing this properly or if I should be trying another lens!

    Thanks so much for the fast responses!
  2. Doylem macrumors 68040


    Dec 30, 2006
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    Give him a ring. Offer him money...
  3. Fatherof5ive macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2010
    I looked up the lens and it appears its minimum focusing distance is about one foot. If you're farther than a foot away and it isn't focusing, have you tried manual focus? I'm not experienced to know why it isn't working otherwise unless you're shooting in extremely low light, which I doubt you're doing.

    Regardless, you're probably better off shooting from a farther distance and cropping if you have to shoot at 1.8. It can still be sharp and your baby should look better (flat vs distorted). If it isn't sharp enough, stop it down. Try f4 or even 5.6.

    You might be surprised by how well the picture would turn out if you used either of your kit lenses (55mm for the 18-55 or any focal range between 55-200) stopped down a bit (f5.6 or f8). It would allow you to fill the frame with your baby's face and should come out sharp and clean if you have good light.

    The 50mm 1.8 would work better for this than your 35mm 1.8 and is similarly priced. There are obviously more options if you're willing to spend more.
  4. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    If you are inside...

    Shoot in Aperture mode. Setting your Aperture at f/5.6 or f/4 ISO 400. If it's too dark, pop up the flash.

    Manual mode you can try f/8 aperture shutter 125 and ISO 400 or 640?

    or pop into Auto. Kid mode.

    You need to learn how to use the AutoFocus lock. When you get the image in focus, press and hold the AE-L/AF-L button, and press the shutter button. Make sure you camera is steady.
  5. conamor, Jul 25, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016

    conamor thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jun 27, 2013
    Thanks for all the tips!
    Yes I am inside and I also tried the manual focus but mostly sticked to 1.8, maybe using another aperture could change something or like you said I might have to try the kit lens 18-55.

    I did not know I could make my picture distorted...

    Since my 35 is almost like the 50mm maybe I should not go that way and spend on something else? What would be your suggestion? For now, I will try the 18-55 or simply shoot what I can focus with the 35mm and do a little adjustment on the cropping. I am sure I'll get the result I want.

    Thanks so much!
    --- Post Merged, Jul 25, 2016 ---
    oh and I meant 24-70mm for the other photographer... :)
  6. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    I second the zoom lenses because you can get some nice blur and give you some distance flexibility. Serious photographers may dismiss them more in favor of primes but try it out and see if a zoom suits your style.

    I have a an 18-55mm VRII which I acquired not too long ago and I like the results so far. At road race events in the pits and paddock areas I sometimes didn't bother with credentials to get close so I'd use a medium zoom for face shots. Commonly the crews were so busy that I didn't want to distract them and besides that using a zoom at the long end gave me some really nice blur.
  7. Mousse macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2008
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    I third the zoom lenses. Serious photographers will tell you use whatever works.:cool: Its those snotty gear snobs who thinks only primes lenses for serious photography.:rolleyes:

    I would use the something 100mm range. I would not use anything shorter than a 50mm; wide angles lenses would distort the baby's features too much. Unless you're after a certain wide angle portrait look and the skills to pull it off, best not go there. I have 0 print worthy wide angle portraits out of several thousand attempts.:( Someday though...:)
  8. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    Practice practice practice. What I love about digital is that you an keep practicing till you get what you want. Pick a setting and go up/down on the shutter speed (bracketing).

    So like shoot at f/8 ISO 400-800 then set Shutter speed at 1/125 or 1/250.
  9. The Bad Guy macrumors 65816

    The Bad Guy

    Oct 2, 2007
  10. convergent macrumors 68030


    May 6, 2008
    When you say you want to be close, you can accomplish that by actually getting really close to the subject with a wide lens (shorter focal length) or by "zooming" in with a long lens (longer focal length). There are some considerations to keep in mind...

    - With a shorter focal length getting very close you will start to pick up distortion and a "fattening" of the subject. This is a creative effect that you may or may not want in your picture. With a longer focal length, you will get a "slimming" of the subject.
    - All lenses have a minimum distance that it can focus at all. You can't get any closer than that distance. So if your desire is to be very, very close, you may need a "macro" lens. A macro lens is designed to focus with a very short minimum focal distance. Also, with some lenses there is a switch to alter the range of focus distance and could shorten the minimum focal length when switched.
    - Someone mentioned using the "pop up" flash if you need more light. This may not work well if you are very, very close because the lens or lens hood will cast a shadow on the subject that is exasperated by the position of the pop up flash. What you may be better doing is putting lights around and above the subject (making sure to adjust white balance) or using a large white poster board above the subject to "bounce" the pop up flash light back down and diffuse it.
    - A couple of mentions of a "zoom" lens and its ability to create blur (called bokeh). This is not actually true. A "zoom" lens simply means that it can change its focal length. What creates the blur is a long focal length and large aperture (small f/stop number of 2.8 or smaller). So for example, an 85mm 1.8 lens is not a zoom lens but can create a gorgeous portrait and is relatively inexpensive.
    - One other thing to consider is the depth of focus. If you are getting very close and/or going with a large aperture to create that blur, you are also going to create a very narrow depth of focus. So the tip of the nose of the subject could be in sharp focus but the surface of the face be completely out of focus.

    Sorry for the long post, but these are all things a photography needs to keep in mind when designing the shot and look you are after. Focal length, aperture, lighting, and distance to the subject all play a part. Shutter speed is important also, but in this scenario it is a byproduct since you are working with a still subject.

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