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Thread: What is recommended equipment for portrait photos?

  1. #1
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    Default What is recommended equipment for portrait photos?

    Mom's bugging me to give her a nice 8x10 to hang next to my siblings wedding photos. Got me thinking it could be fun to rent some gear and take the photos myself, so I'd probably rent everything from the Camera Store or whatever (tbd). I already have a tripod, but what else would I need? Are there particular body's and lenses that are recommended for outdoor single subject portrait photos? Would I need any lighting stuff or is natural light good enough when outside?

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    A 5 in 1 large reflector, Nikon 105/1.4, and D750. Maybe a remote if you're trying with just yourself.

    That 105 is...ugh...amazing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by birdman86 View Post
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    Mom's bugging me to give her a nice 8x10 to hang next to my siblings wedding photos. Got me thinking it could be fun to rent some gear and take the photos myself, so I'd probably rent everything from the Camera Store or whatever (tbd). I already have a tripod, but what else would I need? Are there particular body's and lenses that are recommended for outdoor single subject portrait photos? Would I need any lighting stuff or is natural light good enough when outside?
    Do you have a decent camera already or a friend with one? If so you could probably get away with just renting a lens or just borrowing for a case of beer. I would try go down that path first, if possible.

    Camera won't matter too much for an 8X10, but just looking at the TCS rental list there isn't much cost difference between all their FF bodies - the best possible thing you could grab right now would be a Nikon D850 but you can save some money by just getting a D750, provided you don't want/need any really high MP files it will be more than enough.

    Lens wise, the classic and most flattering portrait lengths are 85mm, 105mm, 135mm, and also 150mm, 180mm, 200mm can be really nice. Those are guidelines not rules. You could rent one 70-200/2.8 VRII (or the FL if you can find it) and cover off every single focal length which would be nice and easy. If you want something a little more specialized with a wider aperture, grab the Nikon 85/1.8 or Sigma 85/1.4 ART. They don't have the Nikon 105/1.4G which is one of the best portrait lenses in existence, otherwise I would suggest that - another place might have it though.

    Up to you if you want lighting or not - your rentals are going to start getting really expensive if you do and you would be better off just paying someone to take a photo at that point (you may want to regardless if all you want is one 8X10). Outdoors there is generally a lot less of a need, and you can even just get a cheap reflector or something to add some light manipulation.

    If you want to use your tripod you will need a compatible lens plate if you go with something like a 70-200/2.8 and you will need a compatible camera plate if you go with a smaller lens like an 85mm.

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    any specific style and shots you are trying to accomplish?

    you dont need top of the line gears for 8x10 prints

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    Quote Originally Posted by taemo View Post
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    any specific style and shots you are trying to accomplish?

    you dont need top of the line gears for 8x10 prints
    Nothing crazy, just a head and shoulders shot with some blurry nature background - maybe a canola field if I can wait that long or something farm-related. Outdoors for sure. Is golden hour the ideal time to shoot? Believe I heard that somewhere once..

    Thanks for the pointers so far, I have a buddy with a camera that I can start with. He might even have a light too, but not sure beyond that.

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    If you just need a shot let me know, I'll do it for you for free. If you want to learn how to do it listen to the advice posted here but know the gear is only half the battle, you'll need to really invest some time learning how to use it all, especially if you add lighting, that's when things get tricky.

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    Those newer phones can do amazing portraits too :p

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