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Tamron Blog: Head & Shoulders

Head and shoulder shots of people not only have practical properties but they're a good way to perfect your portrait taking skills.

| Tamron SP AF 60mm F/2.0 Di II LD (IF) in Portraits and People

Tamron Blog: Head & Shoulders: 1/160 sec | f/8.0 | 60.0 mm | ISO 200

We've previously taken the Tamron SP AF 60mm f/2 DiII Macro 1:1 lens on a portrait shoot and overall, we were very pleased with the results. The lens is more than capable of producing sharp portraits with pleasing bokeh when out on location but this time, we're taking the lens indoors for a portrait shoot with the lovely Lucy.

A standard to short-telephoto with a bright maximum aperture is perfect for portrait work and the 60mm from Tamron fits perfectly into this range. The lens also offers a much brighter maximum aperture than most other macro lenses and for a reasonable price, too, which means it's more than capable of capturing pleasing people shots in the classic portrait length category. 

The reason for shooting a head and shoulders shot is that it’s right up close and personal. You are concentrating the viewer on the person’s face, expression and character, making the background and the rest of their body less relevant or even excluded which makes this shot easier to set up. This is really easy to do indoors as you can use a simple white wall as your background. In fact, a white wall and a head & shoulder shot is the perfect set-up for shooting your own passport photos at home, something you can learn more about in our detailed tutorial: How To Take Your Own Passport Photos At Home

If you're not capturing head & shoulder shots for a practical reason such as passport or casting photos, you can use them as a way to simply master the basics. The classic shot is of a subject straight on to the camera but to carry this off, the lighting needs to be off to one side to create shadows. If you're working with busy backgrounds, you'll want to use a shallow depth of field and always ensure the eyes are sharp. 

To learn more about how focal lengths can change a portrait, have a look at this: Focal Lengths & Portraits

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