The Future of Portraits

~ by Shreyans Dungarwal

PUBLISH DATE: July 14, 2019

Portrait Photography Shot by Sony SEL85F14GM Lens
Sony SEL85F14GM Lens
Shot by SEL85F14GM lens

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What is your portrait conveying?

A portrait evokes emotions based on either three attributes ‒ it asks, or answers, or states something to you. As a photographer, with what and how you portray your subject, you clearly invite the viewers to a part personal narrative, and a part existential inquiry.

Characterization: Motives and results

This image ‒ composed using the Sony A7RIII and SEL85F14GM, the ultimate portrait prime lens ‒ reflects a character inspired by Laurens Bancroft, the protagonist of the dystopian Netflix Series, Altered Carbon. It brings along with it all the idiosyncratic inner monologues about human consciousness in the distant future.

Unlike impressionism, a futuristic portrait relies on a lens that brings out a new dimension of portrait performance, design and precision standards. Throughout the frame, right up to its widest F1.4 aperture setting, the FE 85mm F1.4 GM lens accurately backed my vision.

From idea, to execution

Asurreal composition such as this is a challenge that also requires you to play with the angle, strength, and tone of light hitting, highlighting and underplaying the features of the subject, selectively. For instance, my agenda for this shoot was to accentuate the model’s jawline and cheekbones, as seen, perfectly spilling a cold tone light across his jawline.

Set and clicked at my studio, this shot was completely a game of lights, which is why it’s equally important for the lens to capture the shadows and highlights, whilst portraying the surrealism in a refined manner. This is where SEL85F14GM lens ups your game, producing natural images without spurious colours.

Applying the power of tools

For most of the photographs, I put Weegee’s famous “f8 and be there” into practice. In other words, for the quality that futuristic photography demands, I prefer the sublime two-sensor autofocus accuracy of an f8, as in the FE 85mm F1.4 GM lens. One, because its two position sensors enhance the accuracy of an SSM drive system for autofocus performance, and two, because these sensors fully support the lens’ high-resolution capability.

Rendering form, colour, space, and action

Now, your lenses often have their USPs, and you need to know when to apply which feature for your composition. As a case in point, this lens configuration blends extremely high-resolution with softly dissolving background bokeh.

Yet, I have hardly used the bokeh feature because my idea required suppressed chromatic aberration and minimal artificial colouration, which this G Master lens outstandingly resolves throughout its aperture range with the support of three ED glass elements. By artificial colouration, I mean nothing should interfere with my lighting setup and vision. In fact, it only gets better with autofocus leading to superior resolution, and sharpness.

For the light sensitive composition, flaring and ghosting could completely produce a result that’s simply off the direction, but the Sony Nano AR Coating eliminates it, making the photographer’s job one bit less tedious.

Developing your signature

While situations from the series sparked the idea, it was important for me to distil just the gist in curating something that narrates my interpretation. It takes time and patience to realize your imagination. Experimenting with your picture-making faculty certainly gets you out of the rut to be able to make your subjective nature objective. So, experiment.

Shreyans Dungarwal - Fashion and Commercial Photographer

About Shreyans Dungarwal

Always on the lookout for new challenges, Fashion and Commercial Photographer Sheryans Dungarwal routes inspiration from people, cultures, and traditions. With a career span of eight years, beginning in Hyderabad, and steered towards Mumbai, he ha... Read more

Story Stats & Gear Used:

Main image stats:

Model ILCE-7RM3
Lens FE 85 mm F1.4 GM

Sony Alpha 7R III Full-frame Mirrorless camera- Made for professionals.


Premium G Master series Mid-range telephoto prime.

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