Project 1: The distorting lens – Ex. 2.4

Ex 2.4

Having really enjoyed using the zooms for exercise 2.2 and been pleasantly surprised by the portraits, I felt confident about this task and threw myself into it. I think that the results are pretty decent, although nothing too spectacular. I used the Olympus M.40-150mm F4.0-5.6 R here for these.
All these shots have been reduced in size (-50% in Lightroom, which works out to about 700KB from 7MB) but are otherwise unedited.


Bee? 1/200 sec at F/5,6, ISO 200, 300mm

His neutral expression turned to one of concern as he saw a bee or a wasp zoom by him; so from a posed shot to a candid “natural” shot in the blink of an eye. My longest focal length of 150mm (300mm Eq.) compresses his features here, possibly too much?


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Fern. 1/500 sec at F/4.8, ISO 200, 85mm

The more moderate 85mm length (170mm Eq. on a 35mm full-frame) gives us a nice portrait which is not too squished up; the autofocus locked onto the right eye, and I think it would have been better on the nearer eye? Is this because I have the centre spot for focusing? Probably. Besides that, I think there is an unobtrusive and pleasant background to this shot.


Yellow. 1/800 sec at F/5,4, ISO 200, 128mm

Even more of a flattening effect here, but overall, a reasonable portrait; possibly the eyes could have a bit more light to them? I didn’t use any deflectors or lights, just the available sunlight. I was lucky to avoid the harsh direct sunlight here as there was some cloud cover. The skin tones and detail all look quite natural, I think.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFlat. 1/500 sec at F/5,6, ISO 200, 150mm (300mm Eq.)

Full zoom once again; fixed ISO at 200 to hopefully increase the chance of clarity with these attempts. The autofocus looked on nicely to the eyes for this one, and the background takes on a nice ‘form’ and doesn’t distract from her face (although the snippet of her top does, in my view). I tried to gain a new perspective for this shot by getting low to the ground while she was on a wall. I prefer portraits when there is some light reflected in the eyes of the subject and here there is just enough (I think I would have brought that light out a touch in post production).

Some thoughts and things to consider for next time perhaps


  • How about trying different lighting? What about some lamps, torches, direct sunlight, neons and so on?
  • Why not be more adventurous with backgrounds? Make some up!
  • Possibly use different ‘models’ to see how different skin, faces (and personalities?) react differently to similar lighting and settings?
  • Experiment with BW more with these tasks (although I have dabbled in the past and much prefer BW portraits to colour.)
  • Remember that portraiture shouldn’t only be faces… Do we just use our bodies to transport our heads around? Isn’t environment important? How many different types of portraiture are there?
  • (Don’t be afraid to) Use a range of lenses
  • Think about what Hill (1982, p77) meant by saying: “But the way in which a photograph is taken may say more about the photographer’s style than it does about the person being photographed.” Bellissima.
  • Think also about the implications of what Bate (2016, p92) means by saying “Pose, poise, and posture connote all kinds of aspects of the perceived character (mental, physical, social etc.) of the person depicted.” and how powerful each of these PPPs are.
  • Read up on portraiture and take a closer look at some of the masters (past and present)!


Hill, P., Approaching Photography, Focal Press, 1982, p77

Bate, D., Photography: The Key Concepts, Bloomsbury Academic, 2016, (p92)

Flickr – Photo Sharing!. (2016). People. [online] Available at:
[Accessed 5 Apr. 2016].


Contact sheet

Ex 2.4 CS 1

PS Probably need to shoot a few more shots than this? But why? Just becuse we can or because we might get a better shot? Both reasons?








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