Location Portrait: Wide Angle or Telephoto Lens?

When you’re out on location for a portrait shoot, you’ve mainly got two options as far as lens choice is concerned. You can either go wide to cover the model and the location, or go tight with a telephoto lens and emphasize just the model. However, each of these choices has advantages and disadvantages. In today’s video, we have photographer Gavin Hoey from Adorama who demonstrates the results from these two lenses and discusses the pros and cons of each of them:

A close-up portrait is all about the model, their style, or their expression. The location is the last thing that you want to emphasize when taking a close-up portrait. If that’s the motto of your shoot, go for a telephoto lens. As an added advantage, the shallower depth of field of longer focal lengths also helps to emphasize the subject. However, keep in mind that when you shoot tight, you can’t crop much later in post. So be very careful about your composition.

On the other hand, shooting wide should be your obvious choice when your shoot is more about the location and less about the subject. But in the process, you need to ensure that the subject and the location gel together to form an aesthetically pleasing image. You also need to be very careful with things that might creep into your frame when shooting with a wide-angle lens. And since wide lenses have a greater depth of field, going for a shallow depth of field isn’t an option.

“Ultimately, it boils down to what do you want to emphasize in your pictures.”

What kind of portraits do you usually shoot? Let us know in the comments.

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