When doing outdoor portraits with a telephoto lens, like this picture of my wife and my great Pyrenees when he was eight weeks old, pay special attention to the position of the subjects relative to each other. In other words, make sure they are equidistant to the camera.
If one of them is slightly forward - even three or four inches closer to the shooting position - you will have depth of field issues. One of the subjects will be sharp while the other one will be almost sharp. Obviously, this is not what you want. Either direct your subjects to be positioned on the same plane, or use aperture priority and choose a small lens aperture for increased depth of field.
In this portrait, I wanted the background to be completely soft, and therefore I used f/6.3 with a 70-200mm lens set to 125mm. I told my wife to hold Rexie right next to her cheek such that their noses were on the same plane. That is how I made sure the depth of field covered both faces.
Notes from the Editor:
- Jim Zuckerman is a top stock photographer who teaches many terrific online photo courses at BetterPhoto.com, including Perfect Digital Exposure, Techniques of Natural Light Photography, and Low Light Photography.
- In addition, Jim Z is a contributor to these books co-authored by Jim Miotke and Kerry Drager: The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography and the just-published The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light.