Photography studio, gallery and training complex

Right Studio, Wrong Photographer

I came back to the studio one day to find that the coloured paper background had been taken down from its usual position on the wall next to the white and black vinyl rolls and had been stashed away in the storeroom. Puzzled, I asked my assistant Simon why it had been taken down. It seems a photographer using the studio had insisted it be removed because “it kept appearing in the photos”. The photographer had complained to Simon that the studio was too narrow and too low to successfully shoot the ONE MODEL he was attempting to photograph. After trying to explain that perhaps the problem wasn’t the studio dimensions, Simon reluctantly removed the background roll. The customer is always right, right?

I’ll freely admit that Fotofilia isn’t a huge aircraft hangar of a studio and that we have previously had to turn down bookings where a trapeze-type swing was involved due to limited ceiling height. However, I have successfully managed to shoot whole bands (with instruments) and even large families on our 3m wide background without the need to remove backgrounds from the ceiling hooks.

The problem, and it has happened MANY times over the years, is that photographers show up with the wrong lens for the job, often their hopeless 18-55mm kit lens, stand too close to their subject and wonder why they’re getting the doors and ceiling in the shot. After a while, I began to wonder if I should put a sign on the ceiling which reads, “YOU’RE USING THE WRONG LENS, MUPPET!

This is very very basic photographic theory, which I’m sure most people reading this will already know, but I’m putting it here so that I can send the link to anyone who moans about backgrounds/stands/doors/their own shoes showing up in their images.

Here goes. The image on the left was taken with an 18mm focal length – notice how the wider field of vision includes peripheral clutter, stretches perspective, not to mention how the wide angle shortens Emilie’s legs and distorts her body and even face shape. The middle shot was taken with a 50mm focal length – what some of my students mistakenly refer to as a “portrait lens”. Finally, the image on the right is taken with a 105mm focal length – note NO clutter and flatteringly undistorted body shape.

Copyright David Rann 2013

Copyright David Rann 2013

Please note that these shots were taken on a crop-frame camera (you’ll need to do the mental arithmetic to work out the full frame equivalent).

And if this doesn’t convince you, take a look at the head shots below…

Copyright David Rann 2013

Copyright David Rann 2013

You don’t need to be an expert to work out that most people won’t thank you for being photographed with the wide-angle 18mm lens like the one on the left here.

So in future, leave my furniture and backgrounds alone and use the right lens. Fanx.

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2 responses

  1. Love it, they want to try shooting a gaggle of drag queens all wearing wigs and stripper heels that make them well over 7 ft tall, that would make them scratch their heads a bit

    July 2, 2013 at 9:21 am

  2. nice one dave, i use all types of lens’s and have never had that issue ever!!! its the old thing us lot are used to hear from these would be photographers…”any one can take a photograph, well obviously not. As many people who have been around your place its great and i agree. If he made simon move the backgrounds, did he mention the back ground supports were also in shot?
    You and simon must have infinite patience, still the customers always right, but perhaps was to embarrassed to ask for advice.
    I have done a shoot in my back room,the ceiling fan hanging a few inches above heir heads, don’t appear in any shots!!

    July 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm

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