This evening, I am doing a photo session with a young local singer for her debut CD. She wants some local flavour for the cover of her CD and has a local landmark in mind for me to work with. The session will take place close to sunset, but I know the area will be pretty dimly lit since there are large shady trees overhead. There is some possibility the sun will backlight the scene, and so I’ll be planning for that. Indeed, I hope to make it part of the photo. With all this in mind, I’m now planning settngs and equipment. What about my lens selection? What camera shall I use? Will I need extra light and a reflector?

I find it vital to start mentally planning well ahead of time in order to be prepared for possible obstacles.

With all this in mind, I have decided to use the Nikon D7100 as my main workhorse. It will perform admirably at high ISO, should I need it to, and will provide shallow enough depth of field to cut out any possible background distractions in this public area of our town. In terms of lens selection, I will use the 50mm 1.8d since I like the rendering, and it will give me a nice 75mm focal length on the APS-C D7100. It also helps tremendously that I can open it up to f1.8 for possible dark conditions.

I will also bring along my Olympus EM-5 as a secondary camera, but I haven’t yet decided on lens selection for it. Given that I can use a wide variety of old manual focus lenses on it via adapters, there’s a range of lenses I can draw upon for their versatility and character. Shall I take the trusty old Helios lens for its unique out of focus rendering? Should I bring along the old Bell & Howell Lumax 1.9 for its swirly bokeh? Or even my DIY Pentacon AV for its soap bubbles? I might even take all of them !

Along with my Nikkor 50mm, I will bring along the Sima SF lens. However, I’ve had to make some aperture disks for it because using it into the sun creates so much veiling flare that it almost obscures the subject. You can see my attempts below:

Sima lens aperture dissks
Sima lens aperture disks

They look a bit rough, I know! This doesn’t matter too much in practice though. Their function is to cut out stray light rays from hitting the sensor, thus eliminating some of the flare, sharpening up the image, and offering greater depth of field. I’ve made two disks: one around f4-4.5, and another around f5.6. Here’s a before and after photo showing the flare without a disk and one with a disk of around f4.5 (click and drag the centre slider to see before and after images):

You can see how the subject sharpens up considerably, and how contrast improves noticeably. So, we’ll see how I go tonight, and I’ll be posting the results soon !

Planning for a photo session : light – camera – lens selection
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2 thoughts on “Planning for a photo session : light – camera – lens selection

  • October 29, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    your commentary and illustrations are endlessly fascinating, thanks

    • October 30, 2015 at 5:12 am

      Thank you 🙂


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