With its highly precise autofocus, the Nikon D500 is ideal for portraiture. Here are some tips from professionals on how you can make the most of the camera for portrait photography. (Report by Hideki Kono)
The traditional style of shooting did not allow photographers to take their eyes away from the viewfinder. This made it very difficult to make major changes to shooting angles. However, the D500 is equipped with a high definition Live View shooting feature on a tilting LCD monitor, which liberates photographers from being bound solely to the viewfinder. With greater freedom of composition, it is now possible to create unique, impactful pictures from bold, daring angles.
Of course, this also applies to portrait photography. Many basic portrait shots are taken with the camera angle slightly below eye level, which results in lovely shots. However, holding the camera at a higher level and having the subject look up towards it could result in amazing shots too. Do give it a try.
Final shot: Nikon D500/ AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G/ FL: 35mm (equivalent to 52mm in film/35mm format)/ Manual exposure (f/2､1/1,250 sec)/ ISO 200/ WB:4,760K
In portrait photography, backlight does not have to be your only type of lighting. Where natural lighting is concerned, there is a huge variety of possible angles and variations, such as front lighting and side lighting.
Here are the key elements of the main image.
A) The model’s face was shot from an oblique view, and from a high angle. I made use of skylight for illumination, creating an ethereal feel. I layered this directly on top of the green in the background. The front lighting was strong and led to large brightness contrasts.
B) To ensure that the background did not turn out too dark, I incorporated as much of the bright green trees into the background as possible.
I composed the scene using a high camera level, making good use of the tilting LCD monitor and the live view feature. Once I had decided on my framing, I took a test shot and finalized my composition. I decided on the position of the model’s left eye and moved the focus point to that position. One of the benefits of having a tilting monitor is that it makes it convenient to compose and photograph even from a shooting position like the one pictured on the left.
I used the AF-S autofocus mode and the Normal-area AF area mode to establish pinpoint focus on the eye nearer to me, and fine-tuned the focus point with the sub-selector where necessary. Watching the degree of bokeh on the eye that was further from me, I eventually settled on an aperture value of f/2, which was just a bit narrower than the maximum aperture.
When you have to carry out fine adjustment of the focus point while holding the camera at high (or low) level, it is more convenient to use the sub-selector rather than Touch AF. Familiarize yourself with its operations!
You could also create a fresh, unique angle by shooting from a lower position (low level) such that the person appears to be peering down at you. This is yet another shooting angle where the tilting monitor will come in very handy. Avoid camera shake by making sure that you have a firm and stable hold on the camera when you shoot.
Kono became interested in photography in junior high school, before regularly entering contests run by specialist photography magazines in high school. At the age of 23, he became a professional photographer, mainly for advertising and fashion magazines. He has since published more than 150 photo collections and books of actors and actresses, and various artists from around the world. Member of the Japan Photographers Association (JPS)