Mirrorless Studio Portraits

From the Best of Barry Staver

Staver-MirrorlessBlog-1Photography of people is about the connection that we make with our subjects. In order to make successful photographs, we need to build trust and gain their confidence. This works best, in my opinion, with relaxed one-on-one interaction during the photo shoot.

Eye contact and verbal rapport are so important and yet it’s been the most difficult to achieve for all the years I’ve shot with DSLRs (that’s been a very long time.) The top photo shows how I’m stuck behind the single lens reflex in order to compose and focus the shot. The connection to my subject is lost. Yes, it’s possible to lock focus, raise my head from behind the camera and work with my subject for the best expression but it’s also possible that slight head or body movements will render the person out of focus. Besides, I have to keep bending down to repeat the process, never knowing if the subject hears my comments with the camera/lens combo between us.


Staver-MirrorlessBlog-4Enter the world of mirrorless shooting. The other photos show the way I’m able to use the live view image on the LCD screen to keep my subject properly framed without the need to have my eye at the viewfinder. I’m able to have a running chat with the subject and still shoot at the instant their expression suits me.

Another feature of the Panasonic Lumix GH-3 and GH-4 cameras is the ability to move and set the focus point via the LCD screen. (Update: My new Lumix GH5 features the wonderful joystick that lets me place focus exactly where I want._ I keep the right finger on the shutter release, my left finger on the focus box on the LCD. Tap the screen to focus, push the shutter to record. Perfect image!


Barry Staver and Joe Farace are co-authors of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s currently out-of-print but while new copies are available at collector (high) prices but you can purchase used softback copies for less than seven bucks from Amazon.