Here’s what it looks like to shoot portraits with a 500mm f/4 lens

Jun 13, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Here’s what it looks like to shoot portraits with a 500mm f/4 lens

Jun 13, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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When you think of a 500mm lens, shooting portraits probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Still, Keydrin Franklin used it for this unordinary purpose. He tested out how Sigma 500mm f/4 performs in portrait photography, and in this video, you can see some examples and hear his impressions.

YouTube video

Keydrin shot with a Sony A9 and a Sigma 500mm f/4 DG OS HSM for Nikon. He used a Sigma MC-11 lens adapter so he can attach the lens to his Sony camera. When it comes to lighting, he used a Godox AD600Pro and a Flashpoint eVOLV 200 with softboxes. Here are a couple of shots:

This lens is generally used for sports and wildlife photography. But as you can see, it does a great job for portraits as well. The level of background separation is unreal and the subject really pops in the images.

On the minus side, with a lens like this, you need to stand pretty far away from the subject. This can be impractical for portraits because it can be difficult to direct the model when you’re far away. Manny Ortiz often mentions this problem, even though the portraits can really look good when taken with telephoto lenses.

Keep in mind that Sigma 500mm f/4 is kinda heavy and it’s expensive, so there’s probably no point in buying it if you’re not shooting wildlife or sports. But if you own it or want to rent it for some wildlife or sports photography, I suggest you also try shooting portraits with it.

[OMG… HE USED A SIGMA 500MM F/4 FOR PORTRAITS WITH THE SONY A9 |Keydrin Franklin]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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15 responses to “Here’s what it looks like to shoot portraits with a 500mm f/4 lens”

  1. Corey Bell Avatar
    Corey Bell

    Manny Ortiz got a shout out!

  2. Mindy Delmez Avatar
    Mindy Delmez

    I would shoot that

  3. Daniel Shortt Avatar
    Daniel Shortt

    I don’t like them. There is a limit to background blur and compression before it stops looking good.

  4. Gary Bailey Avatar
    Gary Bailey

    OMG,.. it has OMG… in the title so must be amazing. Not really

    1. Martin S Avatar
      Martin S

      used a 400mm once to get a portrait. Only way he would act naturally was when he did not know I got his picture. My brother in law: https://www.flickr.com/photos/yannz/2520259619/

    2. Gary Bailey Avatar
      Gary Bailey

      I use 400 all the time

    3. Gary Bailey Avatar
      Gary Bailey

      Feel better now?

    4. Gary Bailey Avatar
      Gary Bailey

      :-) grill time!

  5. D Yo Avatar
    D Yo

    LOL. I bet he couldn’t wait to just rub up on her. Damn gwc

  6. Dave Goldman Avatar
    Dave Goldman

    Nothing special here. Just another GWC from the Craig Lamere club

  7. Tim Brakemeier Avatar
    Tim Brakemeier

    He´d do better with a 200 2.0 – makes the contact to the model much easier and the blured background is the same.

  8. Jeffrey Dull Avatar
    Jeffrey Dull

    Saw it on petapixel over 10k in lens and camera, one question , why?

  9. Charlie Muller Avatar
    Charlie Muller

    I heard of photographers using 500mm maybe 1000mm to get good shots – and they get arrested eventually once they connected them with all the missing people and dead bodies

  10. david marchant Avatar
    david marchant

    so much butt hurt on here. chill and enjoy his artistic expression. everyone sees through different eyes. what’s good to me, him, her them may be crap to you.

  11. David Novak Avatar
    David Novak

    I feel the last photo of the young woman on the tracks is the best out of the batch. Seeing the ground in the shot gives the perspective of the gradual blur into the background, I like this because with such a dramatic blur the ground gives you a perspective point for the subject.