Field Review: Canon T3i (Day 4)

So in Day 3, readers thought that the image quality of the Canon T3i was stellar. However, I thought it could have been better. In Day 1, we gave some first impressions of the Canon T3i and we also did a quick video test. The other day, I did a quick impromptu portrait session with my friend Mike. The results are some serious fun that don’t use the camera’s creative filters, but those in Lightroom 3.

Gear Used

Canon T3i

Canon 35mm F/1.4 L

Canon 580 EX II

The Portrait Session

Mike has been wanting me to take portraits of him for a while and I had just happened to have the T3i on me. It was a gorgeous day when this was shot in the back of an Irish Pub in Midtown. 70 degrees! The sun was to my right but mostly diffused by a tarp that was above us.

I set the lens to F/1.8 and focused on Mike’s left eye. Additionally, I aimed the 580 EX II towards a fence directly behind me (which you can see a bit of in his glasses.) Then I set the focusing to AI Focus and asked Mike a funny question.

Knowing Mike’s personality, I knew that I’d be able to get some very funny facial expressions out of him that would make for some very funny photos. I told him to just act like the camera isn’t even there and to just talk. As he talked, I focused quickly and snapped the photos.

This is how I usually work with my models: we have a conversation of some sort.

Now why F/1.8? Because I really didn’t want much to be in focus when shooting. I wanted to emphasize Mike’s facial expressions and blow everything else out.

Granted, Mike is also wearing sunglasses so we can’t see his eyes. Because we can’t read his expressions through his eyes, there is a further emphasis on his body language. But at an equivalent of 55mm and at F/1.8, it really won’t matter how sharp the entire body is in order to capture his body language. By that, I mean that I didn’t really need to stop down to F/4 or F/5.6.

Once again, the emphasis has been placed on Mike’s body language. It’s important to keep all of this in mind when creating portraits.

After a while though, I finally stopped down to F/5.6 and captured this portrait. It isn’t the final image that I sent Mike, but it is fairly close.

The Final Edits

With so many images shot in a quick 5 minute portrait session, what is one to do with them all?

A photo booth of course!

Oh and of course a final edit for Mike. All editing of this image was purposely done: some skin cleanup, over exposed a bit because it’s a personal preference of mine, a bit of desaturation, adjusting of tonality and color balance levels, sharpening and eye retouching, and muting the color levels.

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