Fashion Flair 1950 Engagement Shoot: 4 Lens Solution by Lindsay Adler

Categories: Lenses Feature Tips Op Ed

Another great, helpful blog post from Lindsay Adler who will be a guest speaker at our Unique Photo Expo.  Don't forget to register if you haven't already!

I carry a variety of lenses in my kit. These lenses give me versatility and flexibility, and provide me a tool set that allows me to address a variety of visual challenges. When I shoot, I enjoy testing different unusual focal length for an assignment and trying to push myself to find creative solutions. Yet frequently I find myself going back to the same favorite lenses for my portrait solutions.

On location I most often shoot the Sigma 50mm 1.4 and the Sigma 85mm 1.4. The combination of these two lenses allow me to isolate my subject from the background using narrow depth of field and have the versatility to achieve closer head shots and further environmental shots. These lenses are tack-sharp and have a beautiful bokeh. Other lenses I utilize include the Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 for head shots, Sigma 24-70mm 2.8 for mid-shots, and Sigma 12-24mm for unusual and dramatic shots.

When shooting portrait sessions I try to tell stories with my images by varying my angles, composition, and lens choice. Recently I photographed a ‘fashion flair’ engagement session. In my fashion flair sessions I like to incorporate elements of story-telling and styling to create powerful imagery. For this shoot I selected a 1950’s engagement theme using beautiful styling, simple location, and a stunning vintage car.

I want to take a moment to share how I utilized 4 different lenses to tell the story of this beautiful couple! All images were created 100% with natural light using not outside modifiers or light sources. If you’d like to see the behind the scenes of this entire shoot, check out my class on

Sigma 85mm f1.4 EX DG HSM

I started this shoot by capturing one of my go-to engagement images. I create this shot for every engagement client. Utilizing the 85mm 1.4 I use my focus points to focus in on the engagement ring, while allowing the rest of the image to fall out of focus. I compose my frame to have the bride’s smiling face in the background. By shooting at a narrow depth of field, her face/smile is a beautiful background while the ring is being showcased. You can see more of my go-to engagement/wedding poses at my PopPhoto Posing with Lindsay Adler iPhone/iPad App.

I frequently will also utilize the Sigma 85mm 1.4 or Sigma 24-70mm 2.8 as a way to capture close-up head shots of the bride and groom-to-be. Lens: 85mm 1.4 | Camera: Canon 5D Mark II | Focal Length: 85mm | ISO: 100 | Aperture: 2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/640 sec

Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

For engagement shoots, the 50mm 1.4 it typically one of the lenses I utilize more frequently. It allows me to capture mid-length and full-length shots of the couple while using a narrow depth of field to isolate the subjects from the background. Here I am able to incorporate more story-telling by utilize the environment and vintage car as compositional elements. In fact, for this fashion flair engagement shoots, a MAJORITY of my images were captured using this highly versatile lens.

I captured environmental portraits, detail shots, and more full-length shots.

First I started with portraits of both the bride and groom alone. In each portrait I put the subject in focus in the foreground and utilized a narrow depth of field to put their significant other in the background out of focus. When shooting an engagement session I always capture individual portraits as well as images of the couple together.

Lens: 50mm 1.4 | Camera: Canon 5D Mark II | Focal Length: 50mm | ISO: 800 | Aperture: 2.2 | Shutter speed: 1/400 sec
Lens: 50mm 1.4 | Camera: Canon 5D Mark II | Focal Length: 50mm | ISO: 800 | Aperture: 2.2 | Shutter speed: 1/2000 sec

Next, I utilized the 50mm 1.4 to capture some beautiful detail shots. This image of the reflection of the couple in the steering wheel was my favorite detail. I could have used a long lens to isolate the reflection, but I felt that the arm and other elements of the car helped to give context to the image.

Lens: 50mm 1.4 | Camera: Canon 5D Mark II | Focal Length: 50mm | ISO: 800 | Aperture: 2.2 | Shutter speed: 1/250 sec

Finally, I used the 50mm 1.4 to create a variety of romantic portraits of the couple. I varied my angle and composition drastically to tell a story and create visual impact. Some shots I was kneeling to the ground from dramatic angles, others I was close to the subjects to make them dominant in the foreground.

Lens: 50mm 1.4 | Camera: Canon 5D Mark II | Focal Length: 50mm | ISO: 100 | Aperture: 2.2 | Shutter speed: 1/40 sec
Lens: 50mm 1.4 | Camera: Canon 5D Mark II | Focal Length: 50mm | ISO: 100 | Aperture: 2.0 | Shutter speed: 1/640 sec
Lens: 50mm 1.4 | Camera: Canon 5D Mark II | Focal Length: 50mm | ISO: 800 | Aperture: 2.0 | Shutter speed: 1/8000 sec
Lens: 50mm 1.4 | Camera: Canon 5D Mark II | Focal Length: 50mm | ISO: 800 | Aperture: 2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/4000 sec

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 EX DG HSM

When I want to capture more environment shots, I often thrown on my 24-70mm 2.8 lens. Because the alley way I was shooting in was too cluttered from most angles, I avoided shooting very wide during this shoot. For this image, however, I wanted at least one shot that captured the entirety of this beautiful vintage car and so I carefully compose to eliminate any visual distractions.

Lens: 24-70mm 2.8 | Camera: Canon 5D Mark II | Focal Length: 37mm | ISO: 800 | Aperture: 2.8 | Shutter speed: 1/2500 sec

Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 DG HSM

You don’t often think of a super wide angle lens being used a portrait session. I do, however, frequently challenge myself to try unusual lens choice to create striking images. Here I utilize the Sigma 12-24mm lens to capture an unusual interior shot of the couple in the car. By using such a wide lens I was able to emphasize the compositional lines of the roof of the car and make for a dynamic image.

Lens: 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 | Camera: Canon 5D Mark II | Focal Length: 12mm | ISO: ISO 800 | Aperture: 4.5 | Shutter speed: 1/50 sec

In a matter of just 15 minutes I was able to capture a wide-range of images that tell a beautiful visual story of this couple, ranging from close-ups to dramatic wide angle shots all within the immediate vicinity of the vintage car in the alleyway.

To see more of Lindsay’s work, check out her website at