lady in a yellow dress by the beach

Lens Profile | FE 50mm f/1.2 GM

Morten Rygaard

For Danish portrait and music photographer Morten Rygaard, photography is all about making a connection, “it is a wonderful way to meet people and get to know and understand them. I learn about their stories, and their perspective on the world” he reflects. Using the FE 50mm f/1.2 G Master Lens, Morten is able “to express his creativity and to tell the different stories of his subjects in a magical way”.

lady in a red dress standing on a sand dune

© Morten Rygaard | Sony α1 + FE 50mm f/1.2 GM | 1/10000s @ f/1.2, ISO 50 / Melissa Rosdali (designer, stylist and model), Eva Marie Reng-Andersen (make-up artist)

Morten’s goal is to tell a story in a single frame. “Every time I take a photo, I have a special opportunity. There is so much diversity of individuality to uncover. Every portrait tells a unique story. I try to look at the strength in whoever I am photographing.”

lady in a yellow dress walking along the beach

© Morten Rygaard | Sony α1 + FE 50mm f/1.2 GM | 1/2500s @ f/2.8, ISO 50 / Melissa Rosdali (designer, stylist and model), Eva Marie Reng-Andersen (make-up artist)

Morten captures his portraits with a 50-megapixel Sony Alpha 1 to maximise every detail and expression. He also often uses the FE 50mm f/1.2 G Master Lens. “I fell in love straight away with the 50mm f/1.2 lens. It has a wide aperture and creates such a shallow depth of field with the beautiful bokeh. It is unbelievably sharp and adds a dreamy-eyed quality to portraits.”

Whilst the 85mm, 105mm, or even 135mm focal lengths are more common for shooting portraits, Morten explains why the 50mm offers him something extra.

lady in a black dress with silver studs

© Morten Rygaard | Sony α1 + FE 50mm f/1.2 GM | 1/400s @ f/1.2, ISO 50 / Melissa Rosdali (designer, stylist and model)

“I love being closer to my subjects” says Morten. “I want to learn more about their story, and shooting with a 50mm lens helps me communicate with them better. There are also practical reasons of course. I was shooting a model in stormy conditions, and if I were shooting from further away with a longer focal length, she wouldn’t have been able to hear my direction against the noise of the crashing waves and wind.”

There is also the flexibility of using a 50mm focal length for portraits. There are many different requirements for shots on a commercial shoot and Morten must make sure that he has covered all of them. He will shoot at multiple angles to include varying amounts of background. Shooting this way is vital when working in editorial and commercial photography, as space for text on an image must be accounted for. Again, the 50mm focal length helps him to get these shots.

I shoot very close to the subject, and I also capture wider shots with the whole environment. I think the background helps add to the storytelling in my photography.”
man leaning against his guitar case in a dark room

© Morten Rygaard | Sony α1 + FE 50mm f/1.2 GM | 1/400s @ f/1.2, ISO 400 / Bastian da Crus (musician)

The maximum f/1.2 aperture of the 50mm lens also helps Morten capture images of his portrait subjects in low-light conditions, such as his shot of Bastian De Crus. “You can go into the dark and capture what little light there is in a scene. I love the shot of Bastian. We went down to some old, abandoned factories and walked around exploring and taking photos of him against these beautiful surroundings. He’s a great artist and will be using these images for promoting his tour of the United States”.

Many of Morten’s portraits are used for advertising. “Whether it’s for the music industry or film industry, my work helps promote the individual’s artistry. I just want to capture a moment with them and celebrate their individuality. I try and express how they are unique as human beings”.

man holding up a large artificial red flower

© Morten Rygaard | Sony α1 + FE 50mm f/1.2 GM | 1/200s @ f/1.2, ISO 640 / Magnus Münster (musician) and Poppykalas (set design)

The combination of the 50mm f/1.2 and Sony Alpha 1 prepares Morten for whatever situation a location throws at him. He describes the pairing as “a match made in heaven”, particularly thanks to the autofocus speed when the two are paired together.

The autofocus is so fast, particularly when it is paired with Eye AF, even when shooting at f/1.2. The eye focus is unbelievable. And if I want to capture a magic moment, I know I can shoot at 30fps. This is how I can capture the moments I want, such as the subject’s dress flying in the air as a gust of wind picks up”.
lady in a yellow dress by the beach

© Morten Rygaard | Sony α1 + FE 50mm f/1.2 GM | 1/12800s @ f/1.2, ISO 50 / Melissa Rosdali (designer, stylist and model), Eva Marie Reng-Andersen (make-up artist)

For Morten, his photography offers something timeless, “portraits are like a time capsule of a moment. I love looking back on the photos I have taken of people ten, fifteen, or even twenty years ago, and capturing a moment in time in a person's life. I love that. I am giving that person something from their life that they can look back on”.

“I think it’s wonderful to be a human being with a beautiful voice to share. That is what I love about portraits - the human connection”.

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Morten Rygaard

Morten Rygaard | Denmark

"An extraordinary photo challenges the imagination."

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