Select the Right Lens
Next thing, is selecting the right lens. Now, there is not technically a right beauty lens. I know a lot of different beauty photographers that choose different focal length, but, you have to know that it does make a difference, and I'll tell you the ones that I typically use, and what I recommend, but take a look at this diagram here, so, or this slide here. So, each of these shots are roughly the same crop on the same girl: 24, 50, 85, 200. Notice, how on the left two, her features are slightly distorted. Her face looks wider, her nose looks bigger, 'cause whatever's closest to camera looks biggest, and in wide angle it's exaggerated. So the nose will look even bigger in closer to camera, and then when I get to the 85 to 200 range is when it really starts to be a little bit more correctly compressed. I can tell you that I don't usually shoot beauty at 50, but I also don't usually shoot it at 200, 'cause 200 sometimes I feel like I lose depth to the photo, and having a little bit of t...
hat depth can be interesting. So, I am usually in this like, 85 to I'd say 70 to 150. It's like, this is not something I'm actually checking on the back of my lens as I'm shooting, but that's where I find myself most often. So, I'm gonna tell you the lenses that I choose. The two lenses I use most often are the lens that most wedding and portrait photographers have which is a 70-200 or not most but it's a recommended go to lens. You use a 70-200 because I can get kinda mid-length beauty shots or a tight beauty headshot, but there are times when I want to go closer, and you've might of seen this in my work. Closeups on just the eye or just the lips, and if you've shot with a 70-200 before, you might have realized that even at in focus as close to the subject as you can get, you're still only cropped like here I think that's as much as you can crop, what happens if I want here? That is when you switch over to a macro lens, and so I used to use macro lenses all the time when I first started photography, two-fold, I photographed flowers 'cause flowers are pretty, flowers and mushrooms and all that stuff for fun, but also as a wedding photographer because I would shoot the rings, and I would shoot the details with a macro lens, and then I became a beauty photographer, fashion photographer, and I forgot about 'em. I was like why would I use a macro lens? And now I realize it's for those tight crops or for emphasis on parts of the face, or parts of the body, and on the skin, and so there's two common, I'm gonna tell you the Canon ones, but again, there's Nikon equivalent. There's two common focal lengths that exist in the realm of macro. There's usually, people have like the 150 or the depending on your brand, and then there's something around 100, 100, 105, it's usually kind of one of those two ends. If you are looking to get a macro lens, I'm gonna tell you which one I recommend and why, but neither are wrong. For example, in Canon, the Canon 100mm macro lens is technically sharper. It is like, it is a ridiculously sharp lens, but that's not the one that I bought. I bought the one that is technically not as sharp but I see no difference. I shoot with the 180, and here's why. Let's, John can I have you be my stand in? I'm gonna get real close to you. (audience laughing)
Yeah, okay. Okay, so he's my model, okay and I'm using a macro lens. So when I, let's say I wanted just to fill the frame with that part of his eye, and I have a 100mm macro, okay. To fill that frame, since it is, it's not as long as the 180, my lens is here, I'm right there. Problem is A--
Where's your light?
...super, yeah exactly, the problem is A I'm super in his face and the other one is well, how bout my light's right here, and I'm here? You can't actually light your subject. So using the 180 gives me a little bit of working distance, and so that's usually why I choose the 150 or the 180. There are instances when the 100 is nice, but that's my recommendation to you, working distance, okay. Thanks for letting me get real close to your face.
See, anytime, that's a good answer, he's a smart man, that was good. Okay, so let's talk about the cameras that I usually choose. So the cameras that I choose are either the Canon 5DS, or the Canon 5D Mark III. So the point of this is like, oh I don't shoot Canon, but that's fine, I generally choose higher megapixels, okay, I want to give myself more detail to work with 'cause when I shoot the closeups of the eyes, I can blow up so that the eyelashes look like tree trunks. Like it is crazy cool. The 5DS is a 50 megapixel camera for example, but that is not actually the more important reason of having a lot of megapixels to work with. So for the kiss campaign, the eyelash campaign, they wanted a few shots that are closeup on the eyes, okay great, so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna take my 180, I'm gonna fill the frame with the eye. If you try this, I guarantee you, even at F11, F14, you cannot get the pupil, the eye, and the eyelashes all in focus, it is not possible, and the reason that it's not possible is A, you're so close, so the closer you are to things, the narrower your depth of field. Also, I'm shooting with a macro lens, the way macro lenses work, it's a narrower depth of field, and so, crap, I'm shooting an eyelash campaign and I need the eyelashes, and the eye, and the whole thing in focus, what do you do? If you back, if you back up a little bit, but then it's not filling the frame, it's here, but even if I back up to here, if I've got my 30 plus megapixels or my 50 megapixels, than I crop in, no problem, and I'll still have filled the frame and have a macro shot but have it all in focus. So if you've ever tried a macro shot, and you're like I can't get enough focus, it's not just you, I mean even at F16, you're not gonna be able to get, if you fill the frame with the lips to the eyes, you can't get the lips and the eyes in (mumbles) focus. So, part of the reason I like to have high megapixel cameras available to me. So just to show you some focal lengths; picture on the left is at 75, picture on the right is at 125. The picture on the left, there is some distortion, like at, shooting at 75. See how her arms are closer to camera and they look big and they look long, but I wanted it to create this nice triangle like you've got this, this nice triangle here, so I wanted that shape, and I wanted it to distort a little bit wider. See how her face and her eyes look a little bit bigger, but I'm not gonna use 75 and fill it here, 'cause then it's gonna distort a bit. So, when I'm shooting tighter up, I tend to be more in that 100 to 120 to 150 max range, is usually the shot. Let's see, so I just want to show you what macro lens, what I'm talking about, they let you show more detail, let you do extreme closeups and tighter crops. So, this is not something that you can necessarily do without a macro lens, like getting that close and that sharp, but I could, I could actually technically frame even closer than that with my 180. When I actually completely fill the frame, like as close as it can get, it crops out part of the eyebrow. So I mean, you can get super close. Usually not necessary, but if you do choose to do macro, ask yourself why you're doing it. A closeup of someone's eye has been done 50 million times so what are you adding to the conversation? Or the closeups of the lips, is it texture or is it like the liquidness, or is the glitter of it or is the drip of it? Like say something more than, hey I stood my model there and moved in close for the lips. Like pick a reason why you chose to do macro.