Powerful Portraits using Mirrorless Cameras


Lesson Info

Mirrorless Compatibility

The other thing with mirrorless cameras that's a big advantage is compatibility. So when I used to shoot with a DSLR, I had amassed a lot of stuff over the years. I watched CreativeLive, I see all these great instructors using different things and I'm like I like that photo, I'm going to buy whatever they're using and so I had a lot of stuff in my house, a lot of triggers. And so for example as you can see here these are the triggers that I've used over the last like five years. Some of them were, actually a majority of them, with the exception of the one on the top, was actually made for Canon. So the Yongnuo triggers that are on the bottom, they're actually Canon triggers that basically I had my Sony camera I took the trigger, put it on my camera and it worked there was no witchcraft, no voodoo it just works. The ProPhoto trigger, same thing, it was made for use for my Canon camera. I put that on my Sony camera, the ProPhoto light went off. PocketWizards, you basically could use that...

on any camera. You just take it off from your Canon, put it on Sony, which I'm gonna demo for you in a bit, and it works. These days I use the Odin II trigger, which is not photographed here, but I'll demo it for you momentarily. And that's specifically made for Sony and it gives me a lot of extra functionality, but it's very compatible. So if you already own a set of triggers for your DSLR, the good news is, chances are, you will not have to get rid of it, you can still use it with your mirrorless camera body. The next thing, which I kind of alluded to, is the fact that you can use lens adapters for these camera bodies that allow you to keep your current lenses and use them on your brand new mirrorless camera body. So when I came from a DSLR, I was quite fortunate, I saved up my pennies over the years, and I bought like every single Canon lens that you would possibly want to own. So I had the 85 1.2, 50 1.2, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8, 135 f2, like every portrait lens, 'cause you never know. There was gonna be a scenario one day where I'm like, I need one of these lenses, so I collected them all like Pokemon right? And so when I bought the camera body, I said to myself, geez I really don't wanna have to go and, say if you go from Canon to Nikon, you have to sell everything. You have to sell your camera body, your lenses, all that stuff. I bought just the A7II camera body, I bought an adapter, which at the time was $100, they have some that are even more affordable, they have some that are more expensive, depending on where you're coming with your lenses. And basically you take the lens, pop it on there with an adapter, and it works. Either with manual focus, with focus peaking, and focus magnification, works amazingly, or, in the case of the A7RII, A7II, you actually can get auto focus if you have an auto focus adapter, and oftentimes it works either just as good, or slightly a little less than perfect as it would be on a Canon camera. So it's pretty awesome. Like I've had many of the lenses that I've used, all the ones that I own, I used them with an adapter, shot auto focus, and it worked great. There's certain lenses, some of the longer lenses, where you might get better performance if you were using the actual, native camera body, but for the most part, most of the lenses that people would wanna use for portraiture, you could use it with an adapter, you get auto focus, and it works tremendously well. So let's talk about this shot. And I wanna kind of give you another one of the advantages to mirrorless, because this is what I call the shot that almost didn't happen. And so, I had the opportunity, and maybe, again, you guys can tell me if this has ever happened to you for those of you that have been photographers for a little bit, you'll have an event that comes up, and your friends will tell you, hey, we're gonna do this really fun thing, you should bring your camera right? And if you were like me, I would say, I really didn't wanna bring my camera, 'cause it's heavy and I gotta walk around with that all night or all day, especially if it's an outdoor event. You know, my shoulder's gonna be hurting, it's gonna be sweating, I really don't wanna carry extra stuff. And let's be honest, I'm not just gonna bring my one camera and my one lens, 'cause you never know. There might be something where I wanna use my zoom lens, so now I have to bring my 70-200, or you know, I bring my wide angle, and then I have to bring my portrait lens, 'cause what happens if I see somebody and I wanna take their portrait? So now I have all of this super-heavy gear, a super-heavy camera that I'm carrying all day long and it's exhausting, so what would normally end up happening when they would say, Miguel you should bring your camera, I'd say, it's okay, I'll just bring my cell phone, if anything cool, I'll just take a picture with my cell phone right? And think about how people do that these days? That's why DSLRs and cameras in general, digital cameras, they're kind of going away. Like most everybody is using their cell phones to take pictures just because it's just too heavy, too cumbersome to bring with you. Fast forward to this situation, so I had the opportunity to go to this balloon festival in New Jersey, and basically the situation came up and my wife was like hey, you should bring your camera, 'cause there's gonna be balloons and colors, and it's gonna be a lot of fun. And for the first time, I'm shooting with a mirrorless camera, so I'm like, you know what, I think I will, 'cause it doesn't seem like it's gonna be so bad for me to walk around with a small camera with a wide angle lens for several hours. So I did that. So this, I'm gonna have you guys play pretend with me here, we'll put ourselves in this particular scene. So I'm actually standing in this field, and my back is turned to this shot right now. I'm actually looking in the opposite direction, there's a bunch of balloons, like countless balloons that are basically being filled up and that are going up into the sky, and I'm just happy as a cucumber in the middle of a field with my wide angle lens and mirrorless camera and just snapping photos as these balloons are going up. Meanwhile, behind me, I start to hear people kind of like, oh that's beautiful, ooh that's awesome, and I'm kind of hearing this as I'm taking the shot, and I'm like what's going on? So I turn around, and I see this balloon is starting to fill up, and I see the sun is going behind the mountains. I see this truck, which basically was the truck that brought these balloons out to the field was starting to leave, and it's kicking up all this dust, and it just was an epic scene that was unfolding, and I was not in the right spot. I was not in the right position to frame up this shot. So I turn around and I start running, and I'm running in this field, I'm like, I gotta get in the right spot before this balloon flies up and I miss the opportunity. And so I'm just running with my camera, I stop, I think I took maybe four or five shots of this little sequence, and this was one of the shots that I was able to get. Now if I was shooting with a DSLR, I would've run to that scene, and the metering would've been completely different than the opposite direction that I was shooting. So I would've had to put the camera up to my face, take a photo, look down, evaluate, make my settings real quick, change it, go back up, take another photograph. At that point, these balloons are going, they're not like hey Miguel, we'll wait for you to figure out what your settings are gonna be. These balloons are going. With a mirrorless camera, I was able to run up there, take the photograph. As soon as I put the camera up to my face, I changed the settings really quick, take the shot. This was exactly the shot that I was seeing in my electronic viewfinder, and I was ready to go. I snapped my shots, it was done, I evaluated afterwards, and I said, holy cow this was really cool. So naturally, again, with a DSLR and you take a great shot and you're at an event, what do you do? Maybe take a picture of the back of your camera? It's so cool, I was at the balloon festival, here's the picture, it's so fun. And people are like, why are you taking pictures of the back of your camera, you know? But I was able to do at this point was, I used my cell phone, I wirelessly, all I do is I just touch the camera to my phone, it actually transfers the image wirelessly to my cell phone, I go and run it through some Instagram filters, upload it to the web, havin' a great time at the balloon festival, you guys should be here, and social media's goin' off. Oh my gosh, that's so awesome, oh I wish I could be there, lots and lots of social media interaction happening off of a photograph, and I'm still in the middle of this field, like I'm still there. I didn't have to go home, didn't need my laptop, didn't need my desktop, upload the photos, doctor it up. This was all from my phone while I'm still in the middle of a field. I'm walking around, my phone is just buzzing the whole time from people on social media interacting with the photograph. It's an amazing thing that honestly, while I was shooting with a DSLR, it never happened. This shot would not have happened with a DSLR because I simply would not have brought it with me. It just would've been a bear with me to carry. And so, I was happy that I was able to bring it with me, because if you go into any Best Buy retailer in the U.S., if you go to any Sony retailers, there's certain ones throughout the country, you can actually see that photograph on the televisions all throughout the country. So this would not have happened, and I'm not saying this to brag about it at all, I'm just trying to explain to you that this would simply not have happened if I had a DSLR. That may have been a cell phone picture, and I could guarantee you, it would not have been 42 megapixels, it wouldn't have had the dynamic range, it wouldn't have had the image quality of a ZEISS lens, it just simply would not have looked like that if I would've done it under normal circumstances of just bringing my camera. So this is the power of shooting with a mirrorless camera is the ability to basically take the technical guesswork out of taking a photograph. It's literally just that easy to take a great shot. So that's talking about mirrorless in general, but I always get the question, why Sony? And I'm a Sony Artisan of Imagery, I actually was shooting with Sony way before I was ever approached by Sony, so I wanna say that up front. It's not like they came to me and they said, hey, you want some Sony cameras and you know, you could shoot with our stuff? It wasn't like that. I basically shot with their stuff for about I wanna say eight or nine months before they ever approached me. And so I had the opportunity at that point, 'cause I could've gone with other mirrorless brands, I could've gone with Fuji, I could've gone with Panasonic, I could've gone with Olympus, and I sat down and I started to look at these brands, and I said, well I kind of want the lighter camera, but I'm shooting with a 5D Mark III and a 7D at the time, so I'm used to a certain level of performance, a certain level of image quality, and I didn't wanna compromise those things just to have a smaller camera body. So basically the reason why I ended up going with Sony was because of the fact that they have the sensor sizes that I was used to when I was shooting with my DSLRs. So with Sony you have a full frame 35 millimeter sensor in the A7 series, which is mainly what I'm gonna be shooting with for the course of this workshop. And you also have APS-C, which is what they use in the crop sensor DSLRs. So I didn't have to make any compromises when I switched over to Sony, because they had those options. If you go with Fuji, Fuji has crop sensor in that camera, and then also for the mirrorless cameras from Panasonic, they have micro four thirds, so the sensor is even smaller. So I wanted to have that large sensor to be able to take the shots. So with that being said, these are the Sony cameras that I'm gonna use for this workshop. We have the A6300, which is a crop sensor 24.2 megapixel camera that I'll be demoing for you guys. We have the A7II, which is the full frame option, 24.3 megapixels, and then the A7RII, which is a huge, big resolution camera, shoots 4K video, so I'm gonna show you guys kind of a collection of different cameras throughout this particular workshop. So we're gonna do something really fun. We are going to actually, 'cause I talk about DSLR versus mirrorless, and it's one thing to talk about it, totally different thing for you to actually see what it looks like and what the differences are. So we're doing something that I've never done before in any of my workshops. I'm going to take a DSLR camera, which is gonna be the 5D Mark III, my old workhorse DSLR, and I'm gonna take my Sony A7II, and the main reason why I'm pairing these two cameras up, 'cause you might be asking, well Miguel, why not the A7RII versus a 5DSR or something, or the the 5D Mark IV. The main reason is that these two cameras are both full frame, and they're both 24 megapixels, so I wanted it to be comparable. I'm gonna take a Tamron lens, which is a fantastic 85 millimeter 1.8 lens, it's actually made for Canon, so it's a Canon mount, it's gonna go right on the 5D III, we're gonna take pictures of my model on a backdrop. Once I feel good with the shot that we have, I'll switch over to my A7II, use the adapter, put that exact same lens, 'cause I don't want anybody here or at home saying, well Miguel, you used a different lens, so of course it looks different. I wanna make it super even Steven, right? So that when we can look at the images later on in the course, and we'll see what it ends up looking like.

"Miguel's class was exactly what I needed! He lets you in on his practical and streamlined approach to creating dramatic portraits that deliver every time, and I can't wait to use his 'Jedi' posing techniques." - April, CreativeLive Student

Allowing your subjects to feel relaxed and natural when taking their portrait can be a challenge, especially when you’re worried about the technical side of your camera while interacting with clients. Join Sony Artisan Miguel Quiles as he discusses the pros of choosing mirrorless cameras to focus on the creative side of your images. Most mirrorless cameras are built around the same size sensors and have similar lens options as DSLRs. Become more portable while staying professional with your lightweight camera.

Miguel will share:
  • How to use the correct lighting when shooting with a mirrorless camera   
  • Tethering techniques using Capture One   
  • Why it’s important to develop the connection with your subject for a stronger image 
  • Techniques to help you focus more on the creative parts of an image and less on the technical aspects   
By the end of this class, you will feel more confident connecting with your portrait subjects, and less concerned with how you use your camera to take the image.  



  • I want to commend you for hosting Miguel Quiles. He is beyond competent and knowledgeable. Light is Light, but It is encouraging to see incredible minority photographers on your platform and to see diversity in the presenters. It is inspirational for minorities to see themselves on the center stage. I sincerely thank you for that. I am buying this course although I am not a mirrorless shooter because of my support of Miguel and the quality of his instruction of which benefits all photographers. He is a great addition to the Creative Live Family of Presenters that I have supported as well. Kudos Creative Live!
  • Wow! As a Newb and someone looking to get into portrait/studio photography, this course was perfect and comprehensive. SO MUCH GOOD CONTENT. Miguel is so approachable about questions, positive, and thorough in his explanations. This course broke down the gear and technical side very well. I recommend going to a class live. It was a great experience with food and beautiful facilities. The facility has a positive vibe and really encouraged me to be creative. Thank you for the experience and knowledge!
  • WOW!!! I LOVED THIS CLASS!!! I learned so much. He made lighting soooo simple, I finally understood. I liked the way he explained the why of his camera settings and how to overcome ambient light. he explained and made everything simple!!! I liked the way he talked about connecting with your clients. I am so happy I purchased this class. I finally understood lighting What a great teacher!! Thank you!!