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Oh no Camera purchase advice again!

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by owen1978, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. owen1978

    owen1978 Member


    Just going to do a quick summary...

    We have no photography experience of yet, but will be taking some courses

    Me and my partner are going to start an event photography business which specialises in chroma key photography.
    We are going to be working in small spaces, we be taking pictures at events such as weddings, parties, proms.

    Groups shots for example we would hope to get in up to 8-10 people if possible from a distance of maybe 1-2m away.

    Was thinking of this one...


    But should I be looking at a wide angle lens?

    Your help and advice will be appreciated

    Thank you
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Wow. You know NOTHING AT ALL about photography, yet you're planning on starting a photography business. Does it not occur to you that you may be aiming a little high?

    Also, a full-length shot ONE person at 1 metre would call for an extreme wide angle: about 17mm on full frame.Just imagine standing 1 metre from someone and trying to get them all in.

    Please tell us this is just trolling.


  3. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    What Roger says. The post is just plain silly.
  4. owen1978

    owen1978 Member

    Thank you for your reply, definitely not trolling...

    Maybe not full length pictures, but want to understand whats achievable in such cramped spaces
  5. owen1978

    owen1978 Member

    How far from the subjects would I need to be to achieve a group photo
  6. owen1978

    owen1978 Member

    So first of all you would recommend a full frame and not an APS-C
  7. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    You cannot point a camera in someone's face and expect them to relax enough for a portrait. You have to give people space and you have to use a moderately long lens to avoid perspective distortion - exaggerated change in size with distance, e.g with a very wide angle lens used close up the nose will look too big and the ears too small. A traditional portrait lens is about 80 mm focal length - this is what decades of portrait photographers used on 120 film which also gives a wider field of view suitable for groups. You may get away with 50 mm on full frame digital but you will need a large working space for groups. Medium format digital is the portrait/studio photographer favourite but you need a significant income to justify it.

    It isn't just click and go. I've been taking photpgraphs seriously for nearly 40 years and I wouldn't be confident to bang out group portraits, or single ones for that matter.
  8. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    Forget about APS-C v FF for a moment.

    In the sort of business you're talking about everything succeeds or fails based on whether your customers like your images or not. Whilst it technically is possible to take group shots from the distances you're talking about, to do so would involve the use of a wide angle lens.

    The problem with a wide angle lens is that, by its nature, it give a distorted view of reality. A head and shoulders picture of a person taken with a wide angle lens from a metre or so away will give a result with an unnaturally-enlarged nose and chin and the head will look out of proportion with the body. Professional portrait photographers tend to use longer lenses (from 85mm upwards) for their work because it lessens the amount of distortion in the final image.

    That takes me back to what your customers are going to think. How would you feel if you had your photograph taken at an event and you came out looking like Dobby the house elf out of the Harry Potter movies? That's the sort of effect that attempting portraiture using a wide angle lens in close quarters is going to give you.

    I'd seriously recommend that if you wish to pursue this, you reconsider the amount of space you're going to need!

    Cheers, Jeff

    Edit to add - poor timing, Pete has just said much the same thing although, in my defence, he didn't manage to include Dobby in his reply!
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2017
  9. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Do the courses first, learn the basics, then you'll be able to make the right choices.

    It's much like someone who declares they want to get into house building, asking what kind of trowel they need to spread mortar. The camera is only one small tool in the overall process, and it's far less important than photographic knowledge and skill.
    RogerMac likes this.
  10. owen1978

    owen1978 Member

    Thank you all for great advice...

    The 1m away from subject an extreme example
  11. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    About the widest outfit I can come up with. Focus down to about 12 inches.
    If you need to ask the price you can’t afford it ;)

    Camera .... Sony α7R II
    Lens ..........Voigtlander 10mm f/5.6 Hyper Wide Heliar Aspherical lens

  12. owen1978

    owen1978 Member

    I understand your concerns, but its something my and my wife want to do, the first thing we do need is a suitable camera, lens to do the job.
    This will enable us to practice with the camera and get an understanding of whats achievable.

    Like I mentioned we will take courses, which will help us get a better understanding...We got to start somewhere, these is are our first steps, coming to a forum for advice and knowledge
    is a good way to begin..
  13. owen1978

    owen1978 Member

    Thanks for the reply roger... the 1m mark was an extreme measurement, if we say 3-4 metres away?
  14. owen1978

    owen1978 Member

    I think it would be better to discuss the type of camera and type of lens need for the job than a particular camera/lens
  15. Roger_Provins

    Roger_Provins Well-Known Member

    A Full Frame camera and a very wide-angle lens - such as a 10mm.
  16. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

  17. owen1978

    owen1978 Member

    10mm wide angle even from 4m away? or is that for 1m?
  18. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    This (and the specific example of the Sony and Voigtlander) is a factual answer to your question of what you need to cover a group from a distance of 1-2 m. Certainly keeping your feet out of the picture gets to be a problem once you go significantly below 17mm on full frame.

    As a conventional portrait it would look very horrible - as per Jeff and his likening the results to Dobby portraits.
  19. owen1978

    owen1978 Member

  20. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    When you are operating a business your customers have certain expectations, one of which is that you are competent at what you are doing. I'm not optimistic that courses will necessarily achieve that, it's not just a matter of the mechanics or even art of taking a picture, it's much about people skills.

    The extreme wide angle does bring other matters into play, such as distortion, both in such lenses themselvers and in their characteristics. Most social pictures that I see have not been shot with such items, there is also the difficulty of lighting them satisfactorily with such a wide angle, as you will often be in very badly lit locations.

    As a matter of curiosity, what has led you to consider this venture?

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