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Cliff Mautner Photography

Philadelphia Bridal Portraits

This image was taken shortly before a wedding at the Please Touch Museum. This is a spectacular venue run by terrific people, and the cuisine is provided by Brûlée Catering, one of the best caterers in Philadelphia.

A few years ago, my friend Scott Kelby and I had dinner while he was doing his Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it tour in Philadelphia. During our conversation, in passing, I said something to the effect of, "oh man, never shoot a woman close up with a 50mm lens." He said, "hmmm, that's a great quote, can I use that?" Scott took that quote and used it on his Google+ page, and it caused quite a stir. So much so that he then dedicated nearly an entire episode of his terrific webcast "The Grid" where he and Matt Kloskowski spoke about how most photographers make sure they never improve their skills. Basically, Scott's Google+ page was littered with comments criticizing him and I trying to prove that you CAN take great close up portraits of a woman with a 50mm.

Well, I stand by my original statement. NEVER try and make a woman look beautiful with a tight portrait taken with a 50mm. I see nothing wrong with the 50mm in and of itself. it's a great, fast lens for certain applications. Environmental portraiture for one. I use it, but I MUCH prefer an 85 1.4 when I can use it.

The Nikkor 85mm 1.4G is one of my go-to lenses to make a bride look beautiful. Its compression, bokeh, shallow depth of field and overall contrast and sharpness help me bring out the beauty in any woman. It won't distort noses or facial features, and I can isolate my subject in a way that I just can't with something wider. If you're a photographer, try it. If you're a bride, insist upon it!

In any case, this is a simple image shot with my Nikkor 85mm 1.4G and Nikon D3S.

1/320; f/1.4; ISO 500; 85.0 mm.