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Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 AI-S Does Promotional Head Shots Beautifully (image included)

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by TMR Design, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. I recently posted about how much I was loving the 105mm f/2.5 AI-S and this is an image from one of my recent shoots.

    This very lovely lady needed a head shot that she could use as a promo shot for a local radio program and also for her web site.

    For this type of shot I go right to the 105mm because of the color rendition and the quality of the images. I find it to be distinctly different from my 35-70mm f/2.8, which I love, but for the tighter shots I'm drawn to the 105mm.

    I do little to no cropping when I do shots like this or tighter and get a 'pop' that I just love to death.

    Lighting for this shot is fairly straight forward. I have my main light at camera left with a 36" x 48" softbox and a white reflector as the fill source. The fill reflector was just out of frame which gave me very soft light to fill shadows and open up the shadow side of the face. If this were more of a classic portrait I would have changed the ratio and used a little less fill but based on how the image is going to be used I didn't want that much 'drama' and contrast.

    When I light a shot like this I always pay careful attention to shadows and how the far (shadow side) eye appears. The eyes must pop or I'm just not happy. :biggrin:

    I also have a background light hidden just behind her and angled up slightly. She is sitting about 4 feet from the background and at this distance I like to use the background light creatively to act as a hair light. Not a hair light in the traditional sense but instead I let the light that reflects just 'kiss' the subject to give me some separation without the appearance of a dedicated hair light, which again, I find more appropriate for a classic portrait than a head shot of this type. The fact that she has fiery red hair made that easy because as soon as light hit the hair it took on the exact quality I wanted without being obvious or overdone.

    Simple and effective lighting and I let her personality and smile carry the image. I really love this capture and hope you do too.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2008
  2. Found one yesterday in my local stoore, EX condition, but for a slightly damaged [camera] end cap. Glass seems perfect. Cannot wait to get some shots today.

    Robert - too sharp (you can see her contact lens edges:cool: ). Beautiful!
  3. Ok Robert what a nice shot!
  4. Hi Nick,

    I saw the edges as well but don't really have a problem with it. I may go back in and clean them up but at the size the image will be used it will never be seen. When that is the case I don't feel the need to tweak that much.

    Thanks for the input though. :smile:
  5. Nice one Robert.

    I'm liking mine even more on the D3, than with DX.

  6. Thank you Tony.

    Hey Steve,

    Thanks. I am itching for full frame but it's just not the right timing for me yet.
    I would love to see how AI-S glass is on an FX body.
  7. I made a slight tweak. Nothing dramatic but just enough, in my opinion.
  8. Nikkor AIS

    Nikkor AIS

    Jun 5, 2008
    Robert: Fantastic Capture. From the model looks, expression, make up/hair clothing, jewerly, to the lighting, Image sharpness, cropping and choice of lens:biggrin:, this picture just works 100%. Thanks for sharing the lighting Info. My Nikkor 105 1.8 AIS is on it's way to my door from a cafe member. Images like this inspire me to start shooting in the studio again. Thanks for sharing lighting info, its greatly appreciated. What many people dont understand is how much time and effort is required to get this level of quality in the studio. And than to give your secret away is very generous. :cool: 

  9. Thank you Gregory for those very kind words. It's my pleasure to share what I know and have learned. I've never felt the need to be secretive about techniques and we all benefit from sharing this way.

    I hope to see some images from the 105mm f/1.8 AI-S. I haven't found an AI-S lens that I didn't love. :Love:
  10. Nuteshack

    Nuteshack Guest

    WOW! she's gotta like this (A LOT) ...good job, Robert. thanks for sharing ...;-)
  11. Thanks Mark. She absolutely loves the shot and the work we did together. :smile:
  12. Very nice portrait... it is really charming.
  13. Thank you Maji. I'll pass that on to Rosemary. :smile:
  14. Very well done portrait Robert!
    I'll say it again: the Ai-S 105mm f/2.5 is Nikon's very best portrait lens - bar none.
    (Shameless plug: FWIW, mine is still for sale in the FS forum :smile:) 
  15. Hey Frits,

    Thank you very much.

    The obvious question comes to mind. Why are you selling?

    Not doing portraiture? or do you prefer AF to manual?

    I'm always so curious about lens selections and preferences. It's such an individual and completely subjective thing.
  16. atoronto


    Jun 16, 2008
    Robert, this lens became an excellent portrait lens if you are the man behind the camera, gorgeous photo she must be happy with the result, I can't compete with you for sure, I think I need more practice :-(
  17. Thanks Alex. That's very kind of you. I actually feel like I'm finally developing a style and a sense of who I am as a portrait photographer.

    I appreciate all the wonderful input I've gotten here.
  18. Well Robert, for one I would never let go of this lens. The reason it is up is that I got myself the f/1.8 version. After some serious testing, I concluded that the f/1.8 version is everything as good as the f/2.5. The added advantage is the faster speed, which - although minimal - can be practical.

    So, after being my favorite portrait lens for some time, the f/2.5 goes (see here).
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  19. Ahhh, makes sense. I've actually heard that before about the f/1.8. At the time I got the f/2.5 I wasn't even aware of the f/1.8 but because it's strictly a portrait lens for me I'm not concerned with the speed of the lens and my only requirement in terms of aperture in a portrait lens is that it be darn sharp between f/4 and f/11, and this is quite sharp at f/4, getting only slightly softer at f/2.5. I love shooting ambient wide open with it.

    The really cool thing I didn't mention was that I literally do not have to or want to do any sharpening with this lens. I actually have to soften the skin a bit to rake the razor's edge off.

    I've been trying to train my eye to get soft focus images but it's very hard. The natural tendency is to want to get it tight and pull it in to focus. I'm getting better.

    I have shots from another shoot I did last week that Ill be posting shortly and those were done with a slight defocus (human defocus, not DC) and the same lens.
  20. What a beautiful smile. For its intended purpose, it's nigh perfect.

    If you don't mind a novice, though, commenting on what I personally feel could either be improved or changed a bit, here goes:

    While her forehead on her right is certainly not blown out, it is just a tad too bright for my liking, especially when compared to the lower half of her face and attracts too much attention there.

    I know what you mean by perhaps too sharp, but the eyes could be a tad sharper; not the skin on the face, but the eyes.

    The catchlights, and this is strictly my opinion and carries very little if any weight, are too pronounced, too kind of shaped if you get my drift, and also a bit oddly placed where they are.

    Her cleavage is lovely, yet it could use some smoothing as there are some wrinkles showing.

    Please take the above critique from whence it comes: Someone who has almost no studio experience at all. Just my personal likes and dislikes on the result you've obtained.

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