Dear friends, I’m Alexander Vinogradov and I’m a Russian portrait photographer. I bought my first camera 8 years ago. It was the cheapest Sony camera with a crop-factor of 1.5. I love Russian nature. Therefore, I decided to take photos of the environment and to explore macro photography.
However, a couple of years later I realized my photos of people are better than my nature photos, so I decided to become a portrait photographer. I enjoy watching people in all kinds of places: buses, markets etc.
I’m fascinated by catching interesting faces and types of people with my eyes; trying to guess what are the people like from their looks and possibly their character. My first models were my relatives. With practice, I gained knowledge and experience in portrait photography. I then focused on searching for interesting and rare people to make my work stand out. I spent my time looking through the internet for models. I try to avoid popular people and find new ordinary faces, which appeal to me.
I believe a camera plays some role in a photo, but isn’t the main factor. However, I was lucky enough to have Sony camera at the start of my photography career because Sony cameras produce photos with perfect color rendition, especially skin colors, which is quite important for a portrait photographer. I don’t spend much time on color correction. I find the combination of a Sony camera and Capture One (raw-converter) looks pleasing even on a regular mode. I had been using Sony a850 for many years, but then I bought a Sony a99 with a tilt-screen display, so that it’s easier and more comfortable to work with, from my friend.
So my current equipment list for portrait photography is:
Sony a99 – it used to be one of the best full-screen cameras from Sony. It has fine color and dynamic range.
Moreover, instantaneous live view and the tilt screen makes the shoot less challenging.
Sony 85mm f/2.8 SAM – the cheapest 85 mm from Sony, but nevertheless gives an excellent picture. I use it for studio shooting. It has a slow autofocus speed, but for production photography this is not critical. This is my favorite lens.
Sony 135mm f/1.8 – one of the best lenses from Sony, produced in conjunction with Zeiss. Moreover, light speed and bokeh are out-standing. It’s a good choice for height (vertical) portraits and if you want to have a very blurry background.
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 – my most-used lens with a good relation of price and quality. It’s sharp even wide open and also produces nice blurry background.
I became “Open Photographer of the Year” in international Sony World Photography Awards competition this year. Because of this I now have another wonderful Sony camera, a Sony a7R II – it has a fantastic mirrorless camera with a powerful matrix. Also, worth mentioning, its megapixels and working ISO up to 16000(!). I’m currently getting used to this camera, but I already think it’s great. I bought a Sony FE 50mm f/1.8, which surprised me by its low cost and nice quality with blurring and sharpness in the same time.
My main lens criteria is sharpness with a wide open aperture and soft blurring of the background. All the equipment listed above contains these qualities.
I wish beautiful models and fantastic photos to all my readers!