Alternative title: Portraits of teenagers.
Spring time in Denmark equals confirmation for seventh grade youngsters. Confirmation is a Christian ritual introduced in 16th century by the Pietists. Today, it is a celebration of the young people. Many teenagers omits the ceremoni in the church, and goes for the celebration only. When the young person omits the religious cermony, its often called nonfirmation or funfirmation.
Anyway, the parents often wants a picture of the young boy or girl dressed up. And here is where I come in to the picture, so to say (pun intended). Many of my friends and colleagues know I am a hobby photographer, so I got my calendar booked very fast after new year.
The XF56mmf1.2 is glued to my X-T2
When it comes to paid jobs, my 56mm lens is my lens to go! The lens delivers pixel sharp images. And is the portrait blurry, it’s the photographer to blame (aka me)! Only when I have to take pictures of larger groups, I use 35mmf2 lens. Here the greater aperture is unproblematic; I need great depth of field to get every one sharp (f8 or similar).
After a session, I import the raw-files to Lightroom and select the candidates. After a simple editing (crop, film simulation and exposure), I upload the candidates to Dropbox and let the customer select (and pay), before I go for the time consuming post processing. And for teenagers, the retouching is very time consuming! I don’t like manipulating images, but no teenager (nor parent) wants to look at pimples two years from now, when the pimples are long gone.
In the following sections, I show a few samples from the sessions. The colors may be a bit off due to annoying color management issues on my pc.
Isabella had her confirmation early in the spring time, so a shoot outdoor was a no-go. All photos were shot with flash in manuale mode in a studio.
At the end I tried to set up a ‘Beauty lighting’ with a flash above her head and a reflector below. At this point in the session, I thin Isabella was out of smiles, so I got a very natural and personal shot of her. I like the intensity in her eyes.
Andreas is the kind, shy boy. My only problem was a harsh natural lighting from the sun. But we managed to find shadow behind an old tree and a neutral wall.
The twins Maja and Katrine
Again we had to find a setup to avoid harsh lighting from a very bright sun. We found an open tea house in the garden, and I could shoot out in the green garden. I had to set the exposure for the background and lift the girls in post to avoid ‘burn out’. With the X-T2 raw-files, it was no problem. They have a very good dynamic range.
Lukas is a big fan of the local premier league football (soccer) team; Silkeborg IF. As a surprise, his parents had arranged admittance to the home stadium for the photo session. Unfortunately, the goals were not on the field, but I think we got some nice photos on the grass. I like the bokeh in the above picture. The way the sharpness falls off in the distance is very pleasant.
In the end, I let Lukas’ father point a flash towards Lukas, and I used my X100F to power down the ambient light. Next time, I will need to figure out a better setting to push down the ambient light even more , but the X100F and its leaf shutter is truly amazing and introduces new possibilities.
Julie is a shy, young girl with warm, melancholic eyes. She really has star potential. I was lucky to bring a reflector, so we could compensate for the sun, and neutralize some of the harsh shadows at noon.
In the garden, there was a huge tree. I was able to get a family portrait using the 56mm lens and I really like the background blur (bokeh), this lens produces. There is some kind of ’tilt/shift’-look to the background, the white flowers in the grass pops out as small bubbles while the persons in the front are sharp and nicely separated from the background.
The last celebration was for three cousins, one of them being my youngest son. Only Karoline wanted the confirmation ceremoni. The boys attended the church service as churchgoers. Afterwards I had half an hour to shoot pictures of the young people and their family. After that I packed my camera away and joined the celebration.
In the last shot below, the eyes are not fully in focus, but I like her smile and the way the wind plays with her hair, so I include it in this post
Here are some of my learnings from the sessions:
- The 1.2 aparture gives a very small DOF, so the focus mode AF-S can be problematic; the focus point may select the wrong part to focus on (the eye lashes and not the eye retina) or the subject or photographer may move slightly. So center focus and reframe is really not an option. I like the focus stick on the X-T2, but when the eyes are outside the mid-part of the sensor, the focus starts to get slow.
- When total blur of the background is not a must, I gets a much higher keepers rate with a aperture at f8 :-)
- Electronic shutter can compensate for a missing ND-filter in sunny weather. The MS+ES setting makes the shooting experience flawless. When it comes to portraits, rolling shutter issues are non-existing. Some of the portraits were shot at 1/14000s.
- Full body portraits on grass is particular pleasant with a low aperture.
- The dynamic range in the RAW-files are amazing, and let me set exposure for the highlights (in the background).
Build-in tool to handle mixed lighting
By the way. I just recently discovered that the ‘PLAYBACK’-mode can show highlight warnings, when you toggles the modes with the DISP-button. In this (lousy) shot of a light bulb, the overexposed parts of the image blinks white/black when I go to this view mode. This feature is very useful, when there is mixed light conditions to push the highlight as far as possible without burnout-artifacts.