How to photograph people?

Many novice photographers are wondering how to properly photograph people? Below we will look at the main points to which you should pay attention: what technique to shoot, what techniques to use, how to work with lighting, and so on.

How to choose a lens for photographing people?

In this case, the financial side of the issue is very relevant. First, you need to get used to the idea that a good lens can cost as much as a camera, or even more. Then you need to think about why you need it. If you shoot once a month and photography doesn't make you money, is it worth the expense of an expensive lens?

So, you have made up your mind. In this case, for photo sessions with people, you need to choose a long-focus lens with a high photopower. Canon is considered a classic portrait lens Canon EF 135mm f2L... Also a good choice would be Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM. If you have a camera with a matrix crop format, fit Canon 50mm f1.4.

Note that these lenses are very specific. They are ideal for portraits, portfolios and outdoor photo shoots. But use them for architectural and interior photography almost impossible. Shooting with these models indoors, due to their focal length, will also be difficult. If you want a versatile lens for photography, travel and everyday use, it is best to get a zoom lens with a focal length range of approximately 20 to 100mm.

As for the choice of lenses, here several reviews professional models from the Canon lens line.

How to choose a background?

In photo shoots with people, the background plays an important role. The background should preferably be discreet. Its background in the photo should not distract attention from the model. Ideally, of course, the vastness of the ocean or an alpine meadow. It is clear that such a background is not always available. If you are shooting in the city, choose a background of tree leaves in the park. As a general recommendation, the background should have the smallest color palette and not be contrasting. For example, a backdrop of brightly lit buildings overlooking the roadway is not a good choice for portrait photography.

What kind of lighting to choose for outdoor photo shoots?

Classic recommendation: the sun should be behind and slightly to the side of the photographer. Alas, the model will have to tolerate a little blinding light, because if we are talking about a photo shoot on the street without the use of additional pulsed lighting, then we need to make the most of the main light source on Earth - the sun. Better yet, always carry a reflector with you and  a flash with an umbrella. Any results can be achieved with this kit.

Sometimes it is worth using a backlit lighting scheme.

Contour (fr. contrejour - against light) photography, during which the light source is located behind the subject.

In simple words, this is a photo against the sun. Many have heard that you cannot shoot against the sun. And this is partly true. Firstly, you cannot shoot against the sun with amateur cameras and amateur optics. No matter how hard you try, the photo will be blown out. Secondly, the backing technique requires high skills and experience in photography. But with proper use, it allows you to create a very beautiful silhouette for the model and get an excellent highlight of the hair. Examples of pictures in this technique:


The sun provides backlighting, while the flash provides key light. This is about the photo on the street.

Indoor photos

Indoor sunlight is rarely used. Therefore, when photographing somewhere indoors, you should always use a flash and a reflector. Since a flash aimed at a person from the front always makes him visually flat, you need to think about more complex lighting schemes. To do this, you need to acquire the necessary equipment - for a start, radio synchronizers for igniting flashes. This way you can direct your artificial light sources in any direction. As for specific lighting schemes, this is material for a separate article.

How to choose an angle in photos?

The advice here can only be general. You have to experiment. Try to shoot full-length, waist-high, or chest-high. Close-up shots with an emphasis on the model's eyes will be interesting. In general, it is best to choose the height angles at the model's eye level. This will make the face in the photos more natural and interesting.

Dynamics in photos

Capturing movement and dynamics in a photo is not easy. Often, such frames are simply blurry. When the model is in motion, there are 2 ways to capture it. The first is to create the effect of frozen time using a fast shutter speed. The second way, often resulting in blurry photos, is to capture motion with a slow shutter speed. In this case, set the shutter speed to about 1/10 and, at the moment you press the shutter button, move the lens in the direction of the model's movement. It is better to use a flash in this case, then the background will turn out to be blurred, and the person being photographed will remain clear.

The above tips should help you achieve better results when shooting with people. Photography is not just an opportunity to leave a memory of a person, it is also an art. Therefore, experiment and fantasize. This is only welcome here.

Information about professional photo shoots on the street.

Canon EF 70-200mm f / 4.0 L USM lens review

I don't remember how many years I have been using this lens. I must say that I am very pleased with it. For relatively little money, this is an ideal solution for a professional concert, reportage, sports, portrait and sometimes landscape photography.

Canon EF 70-200mm F / 4 L USM belongs to the professional "L" series, has a proprietary white metal case.

Comes with it lens hood Canon ET-74, which really saves from glare in sunny weather and from snow in winter. Although it should not be overused with snow. this model is not dust and moisture resistant.

Speaking of white hulls, a quote from questions to camera sellers:

“Are there white lenses for Nikon? And then they told me that normal guys only shoot white "

So, you can be calm - normal guys use such lenses.


Despite the sturdy metal body, it is quite light at 705 grams. Canon 24-70 2.8L at its weight of 950 grams, it feels much heavier. This is an important factor for a lens used when shooting dynamic events. I'm not talking about the older brother of the Canon EF 70-200mm f / 2.8 L IS II USM with its 1,5kg. Model 70-200 4L can be carried with you for a long time.

In terms of size, it is much more compact compared to the faster models, which also adds convenience.


As for the image quality, the sharpness of the picture is immediately evident. The same 24-70 is significantly inferior to him in this. The picture is sharp at any aperture value. I am very pleased with the accurate rendering of geometry - no distorted lines. Provides pleasant bokeh and high contrast photos.

Focusing passes quickly, quietly and accurately. USM motor makes itself felt. When zooming, the front part does not protrude, the lens size remains the same.

Sample photos on Canon 70-200 f4


More advanced analogues of this lens are: Canon EF 70-200mm f / 4 L IS USM, Canon EF 70-200mm f / 2.8 L, Canon EF 70-200mm f / 2.8 L IS II USM.

My opinion - I would not take the 70-200 2.8 because of its weight and dimensions. Aperture f4 is sufficient in most situations. If the lighting is completely bad, then 2.8 will not save, you need to think about fixe... If you need to blur the background, 200mm at 4 aperture, it already comes out very soft and pleasant. The stabilizer is another matter. Handheld shooting at long focal lengths (especially in concerts) requires skill. Of course, the stabilizer and high aperture combined will make photography much more comfortable. The price and weight of the 70-200mm f / 2.8 L IS becomes extremely uncomfortable in this case. Is it worth it - the question.


The Canon EF 70-200mm f / 4 L (without stub) produces excellent quality images, is light and relatively cheap. If you are looking for a high-quality light reportage zoom, I definitely recommend it.

Examples of photos taken with this lens: concert, close.

Video review of Canon EF 70-200 f4L IS USM vs Canon EF 135mm f2L USM:

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What's the best way to film rock concerts?

Yesterday I made a photo report from the concert Kreator in Kiev. The idea came to my mind to write an article with recommendations for concert photography. On the Internet you can find a lot of materials on this topic, but this text has been achieved by me personally.


The audience was also actively preparing for the concert

Before filming any concert, you need to take care of accreditation. Since I was shooting for an online webzine Dark Side, I had accreditation. But the organization of such events, of course, made us happy. First, the guards looked at my backpack and said that professional photographic equipment should be left in the closet. After 10 minutes of clarification from the administration, I was still allowed inside with a camera.

When I tried to get into the camera, the guards refused me, saying that I did not have any additional permits. Conversation with the administration also led nowhere. Filming from under the stage was canceled.


The photo was taken before the start of the concert. When it all began, no one remained indifferent.

Lens Canon 70-200mm was a faithful support throughout the concert. Almost all pictures were taken on it. He really saved. I originally hoped to shoot on 24-70... But considering that we had to be at a considerable distance from the stage, this lens was in the bag for the whole concert.

Flash needed for fan shots. There is no point in photographing a scene with a flash, due to the bright stage lighting, which in itself gives interesting effects. Besides, again - the distance to the stage ...

Shooting progress

The jagged rhythm of the Ukrainian team did not spare the listeners' eardrums

Before a concert, you need to stock up on two things: patience and earplugs.

The concert was scheduled to start at 19.00. First, at about 19.15, a Ukrainian band started playing as an opening act. This was the moment when I really regretted the lack of earplugs.

The Creator himself began his performance at about 20.30. Thus, there was enough time to photograph the bored faces of the fans and find the best angles in the hall for filming the concert.

Because I was not allowed under the stage, I had to shoot from afar. Getting to the stage was almost impossible. The tightness was such that even standing still, all the time I had to feel the jolts of numerous fans. By the way, the backpack on the back is not very convenient for this kind of events. Better to have a photo bag on your stomach.

The Creator group in all its glory. Video

Kreator itself, of course, did not disappoint either with lighting or with music. The light on the stage changed every second, so the burst mode was used. The photo on the right was taken from the middle of the room: 154mm ISO 4000 f / 8, exposure 1/80 s.

All photos were taken with shutter priority and auto white balance. The light on the stage is constantly changing - it just doesn't make sense to set the white balance. The constant movement of artists + handheld shooting at a long focal length simply does not allow you to set the shutter speed below 1/80.

I can't see your legs!

The conditions for photography at concerts of this kind are difficult in every sense. This applies to both the crowd of excited fans in which you have to be, and the general meager coverage.

As for patience ... to get unexpected and bright pictures you have to be at the concert until the end. Indeed, by the end of the event, the audience reaches complete ecstasy and you can catch interesting moments. For example, as in this photo on the right.

towards the end, the sharpness began to fall :)

A couple more important requirements for a photographer for such concerts are high growth and good physical shape. Yes, this has nothing to do with photography. But growth will be needed to take photos over the heads of the fans, because all the elevations are already occupied by them. And the physical form - to squeeze through the crowd and hold back the pressure of the fans. Of course, if you are admitted to the photopit, these requirements are not so relevant. Although carrying a professional camera and a bag with everything you need by default requires some physical training.

All photos from the Kreator concert on March 8.03.13, XNUMX in Kiev

Photos from other concerts