Pick the Right Lens for a Portrait—Your Camera Phone Sucks

by dav.d

I’m guilty of creating plenty of selfie photos. However, we are doing a disservice because we are using the wrong camera and the wrong lens to put a quick photo on Facebook. I was photographing portraits at a recent convention and I had some time to photograph myself with a wide angle lens and then I had a friend photograph me with a telephoto lens. You can judge by yourself which photograph is better—heck, I’ll confess the photo on the right is better. I look normal! My nose is way too big on the left, my hair is looking like it is going to recede, and my face is bloated and distorted. On the right side, I look great!

The simple explanation is the choice of the lens. On the left is the same view you get with your cellphone’s camera. You have a wide angle lens and it is too close and distorts your face. On the right side we have a longer lens that helps slenderize the face and the features, it is more flattering and more realistic.

A wide angle lens vs a telephoto

The choice of lens makes me look like 2 different people!

So, the next time you want a great photo to share on Facebook or Snapchat or whatever, hand the camera to someone else. Better yet, find someone (like me) who has a great lens that will make you look great!

P. S. Fashion photographers live with a long lens on their camera, it is flattering to the model. Of course they have makeup artists, stylists, and great lighting to help.

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Rich at Emerald Bay Pictures November 24, 2013 - 5:21 pm

Selfies. This is on of my biggest pet peeves. Why do people purposely take pictures of themselves so they look ugly? Can’t they see how bad it looks?

ArielLIma January 28, 2017 - 3:46 pm

Of course, many people defend cell phone pictures by saying that “it is not the picture, it is your brain”. By which they mean that selfies show “how you really look”‘. Which is mostly bullshit.


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dav.d photo
dav.d is a portrait photographer based in Utah.