Malika: Portraits

Malika is the daughter of our dear friends Becky and Andrew. I love their daughter very much! Since they decided to relocate somewhere special, they asked me if I could take pictures of Malika before they left. She is growing fast, alright! Last year at this very moment I was taking her picture, talking her into being a princess of a yellow castle. This year she outsmarted me almost in everything!

Malika #1

NIKON D700 @ 50mm, ISO 200, 1/8000, f/1.4

Malika, I will miss you dearly and I can’t wait to take your pictures when you come back to Colorado!

Time for the technical stuff. All of the images below were shot in natural light. Luckily, the weather cooperated and we had some nice clouds diffusing the sunlight for me. Where the sun was too bright I looked for shaded areas – mostly under trees and near buildings. Having a fast prime lens also helps a lot when you have to shoot in the shade without artificial light. So, for this shoot, I mostly used the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G mounted on the D700. ISO was pretty much kept at 200. Shutter speed varied according to availability of the light. The EXIF Data is preserved in all images, so feel free to explore the settings and let me know if you have any questions!

Malika #2

NIKON D700 @ 50mm, ISO 200, 1/6400, f/1.4

Malika #3

NIKON D700 @ 50mm, ISO 200, 1/800, f/1.4

Malika #4

NIKON D700 @ 50mm, ISO 200, 1/1250, f/1.4

Malika #5

NIKON D700 @ 50mm, ISO 200, 1/6400, f/1.4

Malika #6

NIKON D700 @ 50mm, ISO 200, 1/1250, f/2.8

Malika #7

NIKON D700 @ 50mm, ISO 200, 1/400, f/1.8

Post-processing is minimal, imported with standard settings and made very quick changes in Lightroom for some of the above images.


  1. 1) Gyula
    July 31, 2010 at 4:41 am

    Great shots…congrats!

    • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov 1.1) Nasim Mansurov
      August 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm

      Thank you Gyula!

  2. 2) Nuran Afrasiyabov
    July 31, 2010 at 7:08 am

    awesome!!! compositions made photos more and more interesting. thank you very much for sharing.

    • Profile photo of Nasim Mansurov 2.1) Nasim Mansurov
      August 3, 2010 at 10:47 pm

      You are welcome, Nuran! Thank you for your feedback :)

  3. 3) Rodrigo
    August 1, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Hello Lola,

    Nice photos, I especially like the first two and the last one.

    Regarding the 5th photo (where she’s seated on the grass), when I look it on the larger size (1024x…) my vision gets too distracted by the unfocused background. Especially with that brighter spot between the edge of the house and the fence. When you look at it do your eyes relax on the image or are they a bit unrested?

    Might sound a weird question, and is not a critic to the photo is more about if others, sometimes, also have a harder time looking at photos where the unfocused objects seem to steal color/attention or don’t look enough “dull”. Some pictures I’ve taken (don’t have any now) also give me this “visual” problem, so wondering if it’s normal, if it’s something I’m doing wrong.


    • August 18, 2010 at 12:55 pm

      Rodrigo, I personally do not find the image background distracting…I guess I look at images differently than you do ;-)

      In terms of unfocused objects stealing attention, it all depends on how blurry and bright the objects are. Sometimes bokeh will certainly grab a person’s attention, especially if there is something interesting in it…

      • 3.1.1) goozbee
        February 13, 2011 at 1:59 am

        hi nasim

        i wonder if shots like these are also possible with my setup d90 and 35mm 1.8g.

        are these shots straight from your camera?

  4. 4) Bekhzod
    August 6, 2010 at 1:17 am

    She is so CUTE! Awesome pictures! Thx for sharing!

  5. 5) Shahnoza
    August 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Malika is sooooo adorable!!! Pictures are amazing!!!

  6. 6) Darren
    August 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Love these shots!! I was wondering if you could tell me what aperture you used for these shots? More specifically, the 3rd to last. I love the bokeh on the background and I’m looking for a lens that does this!

    • August 18, 2010 at 12:59 pm

      Darren, the third image was shot wide open at f/1.4. By the way, you can easily see all exposure information on the images we post on our website via EXIF. Just grab an EXIF viewer or simply download the EXIF Viewer Plugin for Firefox and you can view that data yourself :)

      We always try to leave EXIF data on our images for our readers to understand how an image was shot and learn in the process! :)

  7. 7) Abid
    August 29, 2010 at 3:30 am

    amazing pics Lola…

    i especially love the last one…

  8. February 16, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I am new to this site, but I am scrolling your sight from last 4hours and I am just looked into the portraits and lifestyle sections along with reviews of gear.
    I must say that you have done an excellent job !!
    I really appreciate your effort to teach us all !!
    It would be great if you could also teach some reverse engineering tricks for lighting, I find it very intimidating to understand complex lighting displayed in magazine commercials, If I could understand how to reverse engineer the lighting setup, it would be really great.
    Once again thanks for whatever you are doing for people to learn, I like all of your shots and especially your use of 50mm 1.4G lens, I am really struggling between 50mm & 35mm(dx) I like to shoot lifestyle and fashion kind of images with a mixture of natural light and off-camera flash. I currently have Nikon D40 + 18-55 + 55-200VR + SB 80dx + radio triggers.
    I have a budget of $500 should I upgrade my camera or go for lens (35 or 50) I am a beginner in my off camera flash skills but I have full knowledge of basic photography skills. I am little weak at compositions and don’t know what is needed to capture a soulful lifestyle or fashion shot ?
    I am sorry for such a long comment but your help will be appreciated.

    • February 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      Puneet, reverse engineering shots just requires some experience – once you start using flash heavily, you will be able to easily tell how the subject was lit.

      As for your question on upgrading the camera or lens, I would go for a better portrait lens like the 35mm or 50mm instead.

  9. 9) yusrie
    August 6, 2011 at 3:17 am

    hey great photos! thanx for the EXIF data too.. im newbie, so i helps a lot!

  10. 10) Dee
    November 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I too have stumbled upon your website and I’m so grateful for your information, I have already learned so much ~ thank you!

    If you have time to answer my question: I have a Canon EOS 7D I would like to buy a portrait lens, my camera is not a full frame so I get confused as to what to buy. I photograph children and families and love to be outdoors using natural light when ever possible. Sometimes the families are too large to fit in the frame so I’m thinking I need to buy a wide angle lens too, is that correct?
    In my bag I have the lens that came with the body which is not real sharp, 28-135mm IS, a macro lens EF 100mm 2.8, and the EF 70-200 F4 L IS.
    Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!!!

    • November 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm

      Dee, why don’t you get the great Canon 15-85mm lens for wide angles? It is a great lens for those situations. For portraits, you can continue using your 100mm and 70-200mm lenses…

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