Lens | Canon 50mm f/1.4
For this shot, I felt the 50mm would give a more "lifestyle" feel to her images. At the beginning of her session, I used a 135mm because it's great for getting classic, compressed shots with clean backgrounds. However, images shot with a 50mm tend to make me feel like I'm right there in the moment, and in reality, I am! With a 50mm, I have to get closer to my subject, naturally creating a stronger sense of intimacy.
Settings | 1/320, f/2.0, ISO 400, AF Mode at AI Servo
Mainly I want to focus on my aperture here. F/2.0 served as an ideal f/stop for multiple reasons. First of all, I wanted most of her body to be in focus, and at the distance I was at, f/2.0 allowed this without having too much blur or being so wide open that the background was in focus as well. Secondly, I really wanted to pull her off of the background and again, this was possible with the f/2.0. While longer lenses allow you to have a sharp subject with a blurry background (say at f/4 or so), wider lenses compress the background less. By nature they yield a less blurry, more detailed backdrop, so that lower f/stop really pops her off the picture. Lastly, because she was walking towards me, I set my AF Mode to AI Servo. This allowed the focus to track with miss Caroline as she moving and gave me more frames that were in focus to work with after her session.
Like I mentioned, Caroline was moving towards me in the shot. I had her start about 8 feet away from where I wanted her to stop walking, taking things nice and slowly, being sure to have her cross her feet as she walked (it's just prettier!). While she was walking towards me, I was slowly walking backwards so that she was the desired distance away from me while I was shooting. Something I love about walking shots is that they allow the subject to relax and enjoy a moment, rather than standing statically while waiting for a shutter to click. They always yield the best expressions!
Here's the fun part! Typically, I do a basic edit (temp, exposure, tone curve) on my images, but for various reasons I added more to this shot. Since it was December and things were very brown in Kansas, I brought warmth to the image by having my WB set to Cloudy. In post, I used a brush to minutely warm up and lighten her skin. To make colors pop and give the image more depth, I added some contrast over her hair and clothing. Then, to finish up, I used my brush to "burn" the edges and add a subtle vignette. In my opinion, it really brought life to the image!
While I certainly don't claim to know everything, I am happy to share what I do know. Photography is art, so settings, post-processing, and equipment choices are all quite subjective. While I certainly could have adjusted things in every category I covered, I'm generally happy with the outcome of this image. :)