Xpert Advice: Slightly Stop a Lens Down When Focusing on The Eyes in Portraiture

Chris Gampat the Phoblographer Fujifilm Xpert Advice Portrait Lens Photo (1 of 1)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.4

Lots of folks will tell you that you should always focus on the eyes when shooting a portrait. Why? Because eyes are the metaphorical windows to the soul. It’s very easy for those photographers to also get caught up in shooting portraits with their lenses wide open all the time.

Don’t do that–especially when working with portraits.

If you’re shooting a portrait and the eyes are all that’s in focus, you’re not giving your portrait subject more depth. Instead, try stopping down just a little bit to ensure that the eyes are not only tack sharp but that you also have a bit more in focus–like their face. Sure, the eyes can tell you a lot but so too can the face.

With Fujifilm’s X series interchangeable lens cameras, you don’t need to stop down a lot. Because of the 1.5x crop factor of the APS-C X Trans sensor, you’ll have more in focus at a given aperture than you will with a full frame camera. That means that at f1.2 on the 56mm f1.2 lens, you’ll have the equivalent depth of field of 1.2 x 1.5 which = f1.8’s equivalent depth of field with a full frame camera. So try getting more of your subject in focus rather than just concentrating on just their iris.

For even better results, use Fujifilm’s Astia film rendering. This film was developed for portraiture due to the soft colors and the way that it handles skin tones. We’d also be doing you lots of injustice if we told you to not worry about lighting. Backlighting your subject is often a great method, but try to go for softer light like that from a window.

Xpert Advice is a monthly collaboration between the Phoblographer and Fujifilm designed to teach you photography tips and tricks in a bite-sized package.