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18-55mm lenses: how to shoot stunning portraits using just your standard lens

On Zalman Silber

You don’t need to use a fast prime lens to capture great portrait photography. In this tutorial we’ll show you how to take amazing people pictures using simple 18-55mm lenses and a reflector.

In addition to our 18-55mm lens, we’re using a reflector to bounce light into the shadows of our model’s face. We dressed our model in winter clothing and accessories to suit the seasonal theme – bright hats and gloves, and fur hoods or coats all work well. The ‘classic’ focal length for portraits is usually said to be around 85mm, so you’ll want to zoom your 18-55mm lens to its longest focal length of 55mm, or close to it (55mm multiplied by the 1.6x crop factor gives you an effective focal length of 88mm). However at this focal length you won’t be able to use your lens’s maximum aperture of f/3.5 – you’ll be at f/5.6 or close to it – so you’ll need to up your ISO to give you a fast-enough shutter speed to shoot handheld. Narrow apertures also capture more depth of field, so you’ll need to put plenty of space between your subject and their backdrop to ensure that you can blur the background effectively. At the editing stage we’ll show you how to cool your image’s colours to enhance the wintry feel, and even add some fake snow!

How to shoot portraits with 18-55mm lenses

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