Hello friends, this is something I've been meaning to do for a while. Unfortunately I came down with a nasty case of the flu over the holidays and that set me back a bit. I'm back in action and sitting around being sick did give me time to think this subject over. lol. I started with Micro Four Thirds three years ago; got it as a fun, do everything camera. My photography has really grown over the years and the system itself has grown quite rapidly as well. In this past year I have gotten more serious with my work and most of that is portrait work. I love sharing my photography on this forum and seeing other people's stuff as well. However I have such a huge volume of photos I feel doing an individual thread might be more ideal. I will also use this opportunity to share some of my thoughts on portraiture and the Micro Four Thirds system. A few things first though. Although I will be showcasing what m4/3 can do, I don't want this to come off as some sort of m4/3 defense thread. It is not the perfect system by any means but it's strengths and capabilities suits my needs and I feel there is a lot of misconception out there that hopefully I can address. One thing is certain, I am never insecure about my equipment. Clients chose me over competitors that shoot Full Frame because of my work, and I think that speak volumes. Now I'm not saying m4/3 is better than FF, facts are facts. Full frame has many advantages over m4/3, but the fact that m4/3 is even being compared to FF at all (and so often!) really shows how capable m4/3 can be! Imagine four cylinder Hondas being compared to V8 Ferraris on a regular basis! I want to start things off with this portrait of a young actress. Sparkle in her eyes by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr That was taken with the Olympus 75mm f1.8 on my Panasonic G2 body. Lit by an assistant with reflector. I chose this because I feel this image really epitomizes my ideal portrait style and all the elements of a good portrait in general. Lighting, composition, subject matter, depth of field, processing. All these elements are essential for a good portrait, or a good photograph in general. Often times I find people focus on just one single element and ignore the rest. Depth of field is often the subject of this obsession. Depth of Field Whenever I read anything about Micro Four Thirds online, it is without fail, someone will mention DoF equivalent. Every. Single. Time. Often this is mentioned in a way to suggest the depth of field of m4/3 is somehow inadequate. I always wonder why this occurs. Because really, the only reason why someone would want more shallow DoF is for portrait work. I can't think of any other instance in photography where that one single element would be so important to prompt someone to bring it up incessantly. Are all these guys portrait photographers? They don't really sound like it, yet it seems like everyone is obsessed with it. Well I will share my opinions on depth of field. Fact: Full frame cameras have a shallower depth of field than Micro Four Thirds. Let's just get that out of the way. Everyone should know this by now. Why argue about it? If you value ultra thin depth of field, get full frame, problem solved. I myself love bokeh and depth of field just like everyone else. And DoF IS important in portraiture, which allows a proper separation of your subject from the background. So why am I using m4/3 then? Because in practical use, with the right lenses, I find the DoF perfectly suitable for my style. I do primarily head shots to half body shots. And at those distances most m4/3 lenses will give you plenty of background blur. Ashley - Museum by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Surrounded by bokeh by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Samantha: Model, Actress by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Laura pink sweater by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Now once you get to full body portraits, that's when you'll notice the big difference in DoF. There are some who really like that ultra separation look in full body portraits, I find this look popular with wedding photography. I'm not a wedding shooter and personally I find this look very unnatural. However if you are really into that look, FF is probably the better choice. My philosophy is, most full body shots become environmental portraits. And seeing some of the surroundings help put the portrait into context. This is a creative choice and honestly, with lenses like the Oly 75 and the upcoming Nocticron, I find they give my full body shots just the right amount of separation without looking unnatural. Of course choosing your backgrounds carefully and composing your frame properly is probably more important. But that applies no matter what camera you are shooting. Here's a couple of environmental portraits done with the Pana Leica 25mm f1.4. Can the background be blurred more? Of course. Would it make it a better picture? That's up to each individual artist and what they are trying to convey don't you think? Cobblestone Fashion by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Future by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr More cool chairs! by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Some more full body/ 3/4 body stuff: Heel clickin good time by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Alicia - Secret Garden by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr 36/365 House Hunter by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Lena in the field by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr The sound of music by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Seeing the Light Now all this talk about depth of field brings me to something I find much more important in portraiture. Lighting. To distill "good portraiture" into a single element of depth of field is completely absurd. Yet like I mentioned earlier, I encounter this attitude constantly online. I see plenty of poorly lit, poorly composed portraits online (on this forum as well), but hey, there is plenty of bokeh right? I enjoy shooting on location in natural light, but I will employ reflectors or flash when needed. Even then I will try to make it look as natural as possible. I have developed a back lit portrait style over the years, it's difficult to pull off but I love the results I get. Being creative with lighting is definitely something that will set your portrait apart from your standard studio look. 52/365 Contre-jour by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Bubbles! by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Catching fire by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr 138/365 Here comes the sun by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Paige - Contre-jour by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr The Olympus 75mm f1.8 I want to bring this lens up for a moment. Olympus did an amazing job with this lens and it really elevated m4/3 to a much more serious level in my opinion. This is a top notch high grade professional level lens and the results speak for itself. With the upcoming release of the Panasonic Leica Nocticron, m4/3 is really becoming a super capable portrait system. Exciting times ahead. Some Oly 75 shots: LG by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Amber by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr JDB by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Laura in woods by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Pillar by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Now the Oly 75 is not the only portrait option of course. The Oly 45 is an amazing little lens for a seriously good price. Everyone should have one in their bags really. Then there are adapted lenses. There is a whole world of possibilities with adapted lenses. I love shooting my Minolta primes and the 2x crop factor make them ideal portrait lenses. Even with my modern native glass I still find myself shooting the Minolta MD 50mm f1.4 all the time. There is something special about the rendering and shooting experience that I just love. Yes they are soft wide open, but in some ideal lighting conditions they will render beautiful portraits. Stopped down to f2 they sharpen up nicely. Here are some with my Minolta MD 50mm f1.4. 2nd Edit Amber by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Bokeh Girl by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr Well guys thanks for staying and allowing me to share my work and thoughts. I don't think I've ever been so wordy! Please feel free to comment if you agree or disagree. Critique on my photos welcome as well! I am still developing my style and any feedback is definitely helpful!