Impromptu Portrait Session

Sarah at Precision Camera - Austin, Texas

Sarah at Precision Camera – Austin, Texas

A couple of months ago, I headed to Precision Camera to by a small shoulder bag for the Fujifilm X-A2. I certainly have larger bags that fit the camera, but I wanted one as small as possible to fit the X-A2 and the usually attached Fuji 15-45mm lens. After all, I wanted to minimize the bulk of carrying this camera for my daily outings. I found the perfect bag, the Think Tank Mirrorless Mover 5, which fit my setup perfectly when I removed the divider.

With the purchase in hand, I noticed Sarah sitting quietly near the front. You might recognize her from a recent Drink and Click portrait. She works at Precision and was acting as a model for an in-store event. One that I didn’t know about beforehand.

I had the Fuji X-A2 with me with the 15-45mm f3.5-5.6 lens. A nice setup for general purpose photography, but far from ideal for portraits. If I would’ve known, I would have brought the Fuji X-T10 with the 56mm f.2 or at least the 35mm f1.4. I used the opportunity anyway for an impromptu portrait session.

In this first photo, you may notice that it looks a bit off. I purposely shot it at 15mm which gives a 22.5mm full frame equivalent. A rather wide focal length for being so close, especially for a portrait. Typically, wide-angles are not used in portraiture, especially up close, since it tends to distort facial features.

Sarah at Precision Camera - Austin, Texas

Here’s another one with a more reasonable 56mm equivalent. It should give a more normal appearance to the portrait.

Another downside to this lens is the lack of a big aperture, which prevents me from blurring the background to any large degree. The big softbox nicely lights Sarah, but I find the wrinkles in the backdrop distracting. A large aperture lens would give me less depth of field and better soften the background.

Sarah at Precision Camera - Austin, Texas

Here’s the setup for reference. You can see the large softbox to the right and the backdrop was placed at the front of the store.

Sarah at Precision Camera - Austin, Texas

Finally, here’s my favorite portrait, even though it was shot wide, again, at a 22.5mm equivalent. You can really see the effect of the wide-angle in this pose. Notice how large her hand looks in comparison to her face. Sarah’s pose, her hand, and the hat all work together with the wide-angle to make an interesting effect. It’s not textbook portraiture, but it makes for an interesting photograph.

Notice also how nice the photos look with great lighting and a little post-processing. Even this four-year-old consumer camera with a consumer kit lens can do a great job.

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