Process 061 ☼ Portraits on Wide Lenses with the Hasselblad SWC/m
GIVEAWAY: Long Weekend bag + film + online Moment course
This week’s letter takes us behind the scenes at a recent shoot with my good friend and fellow photographer Carl Fehres. We photographed three wonderful models with wide lenses not traditionally used for portraits, and captured it all on video.
This week’s PROCESS GIVEAWAY is a great prize back including 5 rolls of film, a Long Weekend bag, and an online course from my friends at Moment.
Traditional Portrait Lenses
Traditionally portrait photographers prefer lenses with a focal length between 35mm and 100mm, with 50mm and 85mm being a particularly sweet spot. Below are two examples where these lenses shine with their intimate feeling and bokeh.
I photographed Isabella (left) on a 50mm lens and Larissa (right) on a 85mm lens, both on 135 format cameras (Pentax LX and Canon EOS 1v).
The benefit of going a bit wider by using a 35mm lens is that we can include more of the person and their environment to add additional context and atmosphere.
Below are some recent 35mm equivalent wide shots shot with my Mamiya 645 Pro on a 55mm lens, featuring models Tinotenda and Shanisa at Studio 13.
Knowing the traditional way of composing a portrait is important. After you do, a great way to keep our work fresh is to use lenses not typically used for portraits.
Going extra wide creates a different look from shooting portraits tight. It’s creates a more detached environment in which we can tell a different type of story. It lends itself especially well to emphasize the regal and powerful side of our model.
There are not that many commonly used lenses for medium format cameras that go wider than a 35mm equivalent, but back in the 1970’s Hasselblad created their specialty SWC/m camera that comes with a 38mm lens which is equivalent to 22mm on a full frame camera, which is exceptionally wide for portraits. Here’s an example.
It’s super wide but what makes the SWC/m so special is that we don’t see the type of distortion we might expect. It stays human and expansive. Here’s another shot.
Many more photos in the behind-the-scenes video below, including some gorgeous work by my good friend Carl Fehres who joined me at Studio 13. The video was shot and edited by Tycjan Trzpiola and features models Shanisa, Devon, and Tinotenda.
Experiment with focals lengths. Look outside of what is typically “prescribed” for a particular genre of photography. Play!
Don’t be afraid to get close to your subject, you’re probably too far away at all times, especially when shooting wide. Try to fill the frame for some of the shots.
Wider lenses are wonderful for capturing movement, like this dance sequence made up of 78 different photos I took of Tinotenda and posted to my IG.
All film was developed and scanned by my friends at Carmencita Film Lab. Use code “PROCESS” at check out to get a free size upgrade for your scans. Shout out to Fotohandel Delfshaven who rents out amazing camera like the Hasselblad SWC/m I used.
That’s it for this week! Next week will be all about flash photography on film when I’ll share a big set of never before seen photos I took hanging out with the casts of Ted Lasso and Boom Chicago before and after their improv comedy performance.
Keep shooting and take good care of yourselves and others.
My pals over at Moment are back for a wonderful giveaway! One winner will receive a five rolls of film of your choice, one Long Weekend bag, and one online course from the Moment store. What? Yes! That’s a lot of goodies, all from Moment’s wonderful online shop where you can find all things photography from film to cameras and more.
To enter email me at firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line PROCESS GIVEAWAY 061 before 11pm EST on May 18th and answer the following question:
With the summer coming up soon, what is something new you’d like to try with yout photography?
(My answer: Underwater photography on film!)
The winner will be randomly drawn and notified. This giveaway is for Process subscribers only. Subscribe by clicking the button below:
Next week’s will be the biggest giveaway yet with a stunning Hasselblad 500c in partnership with Fotohandel Deltshaven and Alan at Amsterdam Camera Repair.
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