Elja Trum

Zooming in for a powerful portrait

saturday 8 july 2017, 14:41 by | 464 views | 0 comments

When people take portraits they often keep their distance from the subject. That's a shame. A portrait is often more powerful when shot from up close. Instead of coming closer, zooming in a bit can help too.


1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 100 @ 23mm

This portrait of Floor was made with a Nikon D3300 and the kit lens. It is an okay photo, but it is pretty easy to make it more powerful. It is after all a portrait of the girl, not of the surroundings.

That is why I took a second photo. The only difference with the photo above is that I zoomed in a bit. I went from 23mm to 42mm (with the 1.5 crop factor of the camera it's comparable with 63mm on full-frame).


1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 100 @ 43mm

Personally I think this second photo is more powerful. The background is less of a distraction. The attention of the viewer is directed towards Floor's face.

This has two reasons: you're seeing a lot less of the background because of the tighter crop but also because zooming in causes the background to be more blurred.

With only one simple change this portrait became a lot better.

Elja Trum

About the author

Elja has a passion for portrait photography. He is the author of a book on black and white photography and owner of Photofacts.nl, the largest Dutch blog about photography. You can follow him and his work on Instagram.


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Elja Trum

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