Ok. You need to excuse me here but I’m going to be preaching in this post. Fare warning. No, I’m not the religious type, and no, this is not a religious type of preaching either.
I think provably as many people out there, I like to check here and there what people is doing with the same equipment I have. So sometimes I go online and do searches for Ricoh GR cameras. You know, you might find something really cool that people is doing, and that might lead me to get inspired, discover new styles, or just discover amazing photographers that are worth to keep an eye on them.
The Ricoh GR is fantastic. Best camera I’ve ever owned. It is what some people will call “my desert island camera”. It is that good.
So doing some research on the GR, I found along the years a lot of people online advising to people that wanted to buy one of the GR models, that the camera not only is awesome for street photography, which it is, actually is the best camera for that, period; but also saying that is a camera that allows you to even take portraits … Well, let me set the record straight. Here is where the preaching start.
The Ricoh GR is fantastic. Best camera I’ve ever owned. It is what some people will call “my desert island camera”. It is that good. Now, the camera has a 28mm equivalent lens which is probably one of the “worst” focal lengths out there to take a portrait … if we are talking about traditional portrait. For a traditional portrait look I would never go under 70mm. Never. And I’m a person that has been taking portraits for the last year with a 35mm and a 50mm. I guess I am preaching to the quire.
Another thing is taking what is called “an environmental portrait”. If we are talking about this, then the Ricoh can be used. But even then you gotta know what you doing, the distortions in a 28mm lens are very pronounced, especially when we move out of the center of the image, so be aware of how that affect to the image. Traditionally, in documentary photography, these type of environmental portraits have been taking with 35mm, 28mm and even 24mm lenses; these are some of the favorite focal lengths for documentary/reportage photographers when trying to capture environment.
But since people was all the time talking about just taking portraits, without specifying if they were talking about environmental portrait or just a regular portrait, I decided that I wanted to try taking a more traditional portrait with it and see if I could get away with it. So this is what I did. I kept the head of my subject in the center of the photo in order to avoid as much distortion as possible in the face.
Then I corrected the distortion using some software I don’t remember (I took these photos some time ago).
And then I put the photo through VSCOcam for a bit of colors tweaking on my iPad. Also i did some cropping to get a “proper” framing for a portrait.
At the same time I was trying to take a more classic portrait with the GR also was trying to find some sort of “workflow” to edit on the go. I think the final result (besides the VSCOcam color setting) is not so bad. Still have a bit of distortion, but so far so good.
So there you go. It is possible to take a more traditional portrait looking with the Ricoh GR … if you are in a pinch. Now, I wouldn’t do use this camera for taking portraits. I know that ricoh offer the 35mm and the 47mm cropp, but shooting like that you will only have a cropped image that still have the distortion of the 28mm lens, so you still have to correct that later anyway. I rather have the full image and crop in post whatever I don’t need.
Give it a try if you want and let me know how that worked out for you.
Vaya con Dios!