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Why telephotos rule for portraits

If you’re keen on shooting portraits, then for the very best results you need to invest in lenses with pulling power.

WHILE THERE ARE countless focal lengths on offer to digital SLR photographers, ask any specialising in portraiture the type of lens they prefer and the answer is almost always, without exception, either a prime like a 50mm or 85mm, or a telezoom like the 70-200mm f/2.8. The reason for this is simple — these types of lenses have characteristics that are perfect for shooting stunning portraits.

One of the main reasons for using lenses with a telephoto coverage is

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Time for some fisheye fun

Every now and then, it’s good to put the serious side of photography to one side and enjoy some light-hearted moments. Meet the Digital SLR Photography team asyou’veneverseen them before

WHILE PRETTYMUCH every portrait technique we’ve produced in the past has had the aim of producing flattering images of the subject, this one is geared towards doing exactly the opposite.

The circular fisheye lens is an unusual optic that produces a very unique view of the world. Its 180° field-of-view captures quite literally everything in front of it and condenses it into a wildly distorted image that bears very little

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Still life.

Master the skitts needed for setting up a fantastic stitt life shot.

The best thing about still life photography is that you can really take your time to get it perfect. When shooting moving subjects, it can be tempting to stick your camera in Auto mode for fear of missing a shot, but if your subject is stationary then you can experiment until you get it right. That’s why it is a fantastic genre for practising with manual modes.

What’s more, there are subjects wherever you look. You don’t have to stick to a bowl of fruit or vase of

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Sport and action.

Whether it’s the thrills and spills of motor sport, your kids racing around the park on their bike or the dog jumping for sticks, action photography is both challenging and exciting. It’s also one of the trickiest photographic disciplines that will test you and your equipment to the limit, but if you stick with it and master the basic skills required, great images will result. timing is the key to success. Often opportunities only last for a fraction of a second before the moment is lost, but in that time you have to make numerous decisions-about focusing, exposure and composition,

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Shoot movement in the landscape

Don’t let a blustery day put you off from heading into the great outdoors with your DSLR. Grab your tripod and master capturing movement in your landscape shots

Ross Hoddinott

When photographing landscapes, motion can prove a powerful aesthetic tool -giving your shots added interest, life and depth. By intentionally blurring subject motion, your images will appear less static and more atmospheric. Naturally, to work the technique relies on there being some degree of movement within your scene — for example, running water. By employing a relatively long exposure, any subject motion within the time the shutter is open will

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Portrait Professional 11

Jon Stapley tests the latest version of Portrait Professional photo-retouching software

FACIAL retouching is big business in portraiture, and aspiring portrait photographers will need to learn the basics and how to use the software to make it happen. Portrait Professional aims to provide both, with powerful skin-smoothing and facial-alteration technology combined with a preset and slider-focused approach that makes it easy even for the novice to get rid of blemishes, whiten teeth and even alter a subject’s facial structure.

HOW IT WORKS

Once you’ve input the gender and rough age of the subject, Portrait Pro detects the face and places

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LENSES

DO YOU WANT TO TAKE YOUR BEST EVER PORTRAITS? WE’VE TEAMED UP WITH THE UK’SLEADING EXPERTS TO HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS. THIS MONTH, WEEN LIST THE EXPERTISE OF BRETT HARKNESS TO REVEAL THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR CHOICE OF LENS

TAKING GREAT PORTRAITS requires a multitude of skills to be mastered and our monthly guide aims to cover them all so that you’re well prepared for every possible challenge. Over the coming months, we’ll be looking in depth at different forms of lighting and more advanced techniques, but in this fourth part, we examine a key consideration you must make

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How lens choice affects perspective

WHEN TAKING PORTRAITS that include the location as well as the subject within the frame, it’s important to understand how the scene looks completely different depending on the focal length of the lens in use. While many beginners are concerned only with ensuring the subject fills a particular area of the frame, experienced photographers look to use a focal length that gives the perspective they desire in the image.

By using a wide-angle and moving closer to the subject, they are set against a wider view of the general scene that boasts far more depth. By using a telephoto setting.a

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Focusing techniques

SPOT-ON FOCUSING IS A MUST TO ENSURE SHARP RESULTS WHEN SHOOTING ACTION

FOCUSING IS MADE all the more difficult with action photography because as well as dealing with a subject in motion — moving targets are always harder to hit — you’ll often be using a telephotolens at its widest aperture, which means there will be limited depth-of-field and hardly any room for error. Depending upon the type of subject you’re photographing, there are two commonly used focusing techniques that can be used to put the odds of successful focusing in your favour — prefocusing and follow-focusing.

PREFOCUSING

Prefocusing involves

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Flower close-up Charlotte Williams

Samsung PL150, 27mm equivalent focal length, 1/60sec at f/3.5, ISO 80 there are times when we’re all inclined to blame our equipment for our photographic failings, rather than accept that we could have done things slightly differently to get a better result. Yet sometimes the camera we are using is at least partly to blame for things not coming out as well as they could.

Charlotte’s macro shot, taken using a ‘point-and-shoot’ camera, is an example of this. It’s obvious that the central flower isn’t sharp, and because the petals in the lower right corner are noticeably sharper, this suggests

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