Portraits at f1.4

I do like to try and push the envelope every now and again when the opportunity arises and today’s offering is a case in point. Doing this type of portrait shot has limited potential to please the sitter and a large potential failure factor.


It’s true that I’ve punched up the colour contrast to get the effect I was after, but the extreme shallow depth of field, which gives the image its visual impact can only be achieved with something like an f1.4 lens or a large field camera.

It was uncomfortable for the model because I needed to get very close and as focusing is critical, it needed to be done manually, so I was in her face so to speak for a long time. I’ve tried this type of portrait a few times with limited success, so in this instance I decided to overexpose the skin and lift the contrast of the hair and lips.

I am very happy with the results in both colour and B&W because there’s almost no facial distortion and it pushes the edges of the traditional ideas of a good photographic portrait.


50mm, f1.4, 1/50sec, ISO200


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