We all know that we should photograph portraits using an 85mm or 105mm lens. A 70-200mm will also work. But Tony and Chelsea Northrup are telling us to shake it up and go wide. However, how wide should you go?
It appears, according to the Northrups, what's old is new again. In the video, they recommend trying to go wide with your portraits to give your images a new look. Should we give up on the telephoto portrait look? I don't think so, especially for those portraits that call for a more classic or professional look. I couldn't imagine doing a set of headshots of the local bank's executives. Alternatively, the regional hospital board of trustees. However, If I'm photographing the local microbrewer down the road from me and I want to get a natural look that is different, I could see pulling out my 24mm and shooting away. Alternatively, if I was to do a family portrait session, I could see using the wide-angle approach with at least some of the shots. With the world now accustom to the wide-angle views that most cell phones use, I think people are more accepting of this look in portraits by professional photographers.
Are there limits to using wide angle for portraits? I think so. As I mentioned earlier, I think for professional types of headshots the wide-angle look is not appropriate. However, I also believe there are several types of subjects where this look may not be the best choice. For example, a person with a large nose or forehead may not benefit from the wide-angle look. Of course, a wide-angle portrait also requires additional care with the background.
What do you think? A good idea or just a fad?