Yesterday morning I was recruited by my sister and bro-in-law to take some family shots. Their two sons are growing up quickly, so they wanted to make sure they had some documentation of this stage in their lives. It was a gorgeous winter day (around 5 degrees celsius) so we made the most of it by taking the boys out for a walk/toboggan ride in the snow. Despite a couple of spills and some cold extremities, I was able to get some really great shots.
Turns out what I wanted to say about shooting portraits was mostly already said this morning by my friend James Brandon over on his blog. He posted a great shot of his nephew from last Easter, and just like me, shot it with a fast 50mm…my go-to lens for any portraiture. The great thing about shooting with such a wide aperture is the ability to let the background just melt away into delicious bokeh. The drawback is that you need to make sure your focus is spot-on. If you miss focus by even just a few millimetres, you can end up with an out of focus subject and a ruined shot. My strategy is to use a single autofocus point on my Canon 50D. I almost exclusively use the centre point, partly out of habit and partly because it’s the most accurate AF point on the camera. I typically grab focus on my subject (almost always the eyes) and then recompose the shot to taste. I’m sure there are things I could do differently, but for now, this technique is what works best for me.
Oh, and in case you missed it yesterday, I had the honour of writing a post for Brian Matiash’s ‘Alt Perspective’ series. You can check it out here.